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11/19/2010
Pi = Visual Cortex

Kenneth D. Miller

Science 19 November 2010:
Vol. 330 no. 6007 pp. 1059-1060
DOI: 10.1126/science.1198857

Archimedes, the great scientist of ancient Greece, performed the first systematic calculation of the value of pi, the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. Twenty-three centuries later, scientists continue to be delighted by pi's appearance in new and unexpected areas of science. The latest is perhaps the most surprising: On page 1113 of this issue, Kaschube et al. (1) show that three distantly-related mammals share a common organizing scheme for neurons in the brain's visual cortex characterized by a density closely approaching 3.14 (pi). The result offers insight into the development and evolution of the visual cortex, and strongly suggests that key architectural features are self-organized rather than genetically hard-wired.

View the original abstract on the Science Magazine web site here:

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/330/6007/1059.summary

View the referenced article Universality in the Evolution of Orientation Columns in the Visual Cortex abstract and purchase access to the full article on the Science Magazine web site here:

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/330/6007/1113.abstract



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