Are We Smarter Than a Tree? / by Zachary Copfer

NPR: The Wisdom of Trees The above article from NPR highlights yet another example of how amazingly intricate the turning gears of the universe are. The branching forms of trees have long been observed as a symbol of elegance, an embodiment of a complexly simple beauty. In Eastern philosophy, the tree stands as a reminder to remain flexible, to sway with the winds of life instead of fighting them. Many cultures contain references, including Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, depicting trees as old and wise beings.  Well now, thanks to Leonardo da Vinci and Christophe Eloy, a modern day physicist, the world has new insight into the innate knowledge possessed by these ancient organisms. It turns out that the mathematical pattern all trees follow when they are forming their branches just happens to lead to the most aerodynamically stable configuration possible. The collective knowledge of humanity took hundreds of years studying the math and physics of aerodynamic engineering only to reach a solution that was "known" by trees long before the first human admired their beauty. Once again, a pursuit of science leads to the discovery of poetry.