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The spiral is a common organizational theme in nature, seen, for example, in the coiled shells of molluscs, the structure of DNA, the cochlea of the inner ear, the arms of hurricanes and spiral galaxies, and the arrangement of seeds on a flower head. Many hypotheses have been proposed for the ubiquity of such spiral arrangements, such as spiral leaf spacing around a plant stem being the arrangement that intersects sunlight most efficiently.

The rates of expansion of spirals in the natural world tend to exhibit harmonic proportion and progression. Successive spiral revolutions are noted as following the Golden Ratio (Phi) and the Fibonacci Series. In the Fibonacci Series, beginning with 0 and 1, each subsequent number is the sum of the 2 previous numbers. As the sequence progresses, the ratio of each number to its preceding number approaches Phi (1.6180...).

The NIMBioS logo is a logarithmic spiral similar in shape to a Nautilus shell, for which the distance between successive whorls increases in a geometric progression, maintaining an unchanging self-congruent whorl shape as the size of its spiral revolutions increases. The unique mathematical properties of logarithmic spirals and their significance in nature make this logo fitting for a science synthesis center that explores the interface between mathematics and biology.

Logo Usage

The NIMBioS logo consists of two elements, namely the spiral (image) and the wordmark (text). Without exception, the two elements must be used together. Do not deconstruct, alter, or change the logo. The spiral and the wordmark should never be used alone or paired with anything other than each other.

Click here for NIMBioS logo image files.

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From 2008 until early 2021, NIMBioS was supported by the National Science Foundation through NSF Award #DBI-1300426, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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