Design and Nature 2016

8th International Conference on Comparing Design in Nature with Science and Engineering

pcr313 - 15 September 2016
New Forest, UK


200x250 DN16

The 8th International Conference on Comparing Design in Nature with Science and Engineering took place in the New Forest, UK, home of the Wessex Institute with the collaboration of the University of Bournemouth. The Conference was sponsored by the International Journal of Design & Nature and Ecodynamics.

The Conference attracted researchers working on a variety of studies involving nature and its significance for modern scientific thought and design.

The Meeting dealt with a wide variety of studies, some of them focusing on the fundamentals, while others dealt with particular applications. Although the topics are diverse, the common thread throughout is in searching for harmonisation of human activities with nature.

Learning from nature has given rise to many original insights into how to solve science and engineering problems.

Opening of the Conference

The Conference was opened by Prof Carlos A. Brebbia, Director of Wessex Institute, who announced that all papers presented at Wessex Institute conferences, as well as those published in the WIT Press journals, are now offered Open Access in the Institute’s eLibrary ( This important initiative has resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of downloads and will help to disseminate further the work presented at conferences like Design and Nature.

In addition, Carlos explained, the papers are now indexed in Google Scholar, a freely available independent database. This will result in an increased number of citations for the papers presented at WIT conferences.

Carlos also explained the Research and Development activities taking place in the New Forest Campus of the Wessex Institute. These focus mainly on further advances in boundary elements formulations and applications. The BEM Method and its further development is the trademark of WIT and has led to the optimum solution of many engineering problems.

The work at Ashurst Lodge, Carlos explained, provides solutions to a wide range of industries, including aerospace, petroleum and naval engineering, among others.

Another publishing initiative of WIT Press, resulting from the conference series, is the launching of two new journals, one dealing with Transport Development and Integration and the other with Heritage Architecture. Carlos thinks that it is important for the scientific community to launch this type of initiative in order to become less dependent on the goodwill of major publishers who have their own financial interests in mind.

Surrendering the decision of what can be published to commercial publishers will result in scientific work being driven always along the same lines.

Carlos concluded his opening remarks by thanking all participants for coming to the Conference and hoping that they will find the experience worthwhile.

Keynote Addresses

The Meeting included a series of outstanding keynote addresses, ie:

  • “From nature and primary numbers concepts to designs and patents – demonstrated by diffusers and engineered quadratic residue diffusors for 2-D and 3-D radiation” by Giora Rosenhouse, Technion and Swantech Ltd, Israel
  • “On adaptability in nature, business and engineering” by George Rzevski, The Open University and Multi-Agent Ltd, UK
  • “The Heraclitean nature of time in the platform for life and its relationship with Parmenidean reality” by Rock Boothroyd, University of Queensland, Consultant, Australia
  • “Bioinspired functional materials” by Corot Zollfrank, Technical University of Munich, Germany
  • “Bio-inspired design in mechanical engineering at the University of Bristol” by Stuart Burgess, University of Bristol, UK
  • “Fractals as a metaphor in dialectology” by Juid Rosenhouse, Swantech Ltd, Israel
  • “The de Mestral project: using macro photography journaling to stimulate bio-inspired inquiry and innovation” by Brook Kennedy, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA
  • “Sustainable actions for urban and territorial re-generation” by Donatella Cialdea, University of Molise, Italy
  • “Recent developments in the design of composites using natural materials” by Stavros Syngellakis, Wessex Institute, UK.

Special Session

A special session was organised by Professor Donatella Cialdea, Head of the Lacosta Laboratory (ie Laboratory for activities related to territory and environmental development) at the University of Molise, Italy.

The Session consisted of four papers from researchers at her Laboratory, starting with her own presentation entitled “Substantial actions for urban and territorial regeneration” discussing the regeneration of the landscape, aiming to improve its quality.

The other three papers in the Sessions were:

  • “The Landscape representation and some conditions on its origin” by Piero Barlozzini
  • “A methodology for the assessment of illegal settlements” by Nicola Quercio
  • “The River’s contract and opportunity for the new landscape planning activities” by Sara Cacucci.

The papers were very well received and generated lively discussion.

Social Occasions

There were many occasions during the Conference for delegates to get to know each other better and discuss topics of common interest outside the conference room. In addition to coffee breaks and lunches, two visits were organised as described below.

The Conference programme included a tour of Winchester at the end of the first day, followed by dinner at an excellent restaurant there.

The tour was conducted by a professional guide and started at the Cathedral which has fundamental architectural and historical importance in the history of England. It dates from the time of the Normans when Winchester was the capital of the country and has continued to be extended until reaching its present size – the Church was part of an enormous priory which was largely destroyed during the time of Henry VIII. The tour took the delegates along the remains of the walls of the priory and the city and included views of the renowned Winchester College, founded by one of the most important figures in educational history, ie Bishop William of Wykeham, whose grave is in a place of honour in the Cathedral. It ended at King Alfred’s statue in the Broadway after a walk along the beautiful River Itchen.

After the tour, the participants were to have dinner in a well-known restaurant, where the main course was fish. The friendly atmosphere encouraged communication among the delegates.

Technical Visit

A technical visit to the Department of Design Engineering at Bournemouth University was included in the Conference programme, hosted by Professor Mark Hadfield.

Carlos expressed his appreciation to Mark for organising the visit and explained the link between Wessex Institute and Bournemouth University. This includes the organisation of joint conferences as well as important research projects, such as one in the field of optimisation of analysis codes and another on experiments relating to metal corrosion.

Mark then explained some of the work at Bournemouth related to Design and Nature.

Dr Roya Hatian started by discussing her research on Body sensing and signal analysis for emotion regulation. She has a background in electrical engineering and psychology. It aims to recognise the human affective state through psychological signals.

The next presentation was by Dr Paul Hartley, trained at Edinburgh, who works on the fundamentals of cardiovascular problems. He was able to show some experiments on fruit flies, whose hearts are similar in many respects to those found in more advanced forms of life. The demonstration gave an insight into cardiovascular physiology showing the fruit fly’s heart and kidney functions.

The Laboratory run by Dr W.J. Liang is carrying out work on biosensors. They are doing research into genetic manipulation in order to better understand how to deal with human diseases. Another important application of the work is how to deal with different types of intolerance. This has relevance in different ways, such as in the allergic reaction of oriental people to milk or alcohol.

The visit was most interesting and led to a series of discussions and ideas for future collaboration. Bournemouth University is one of the most dynamic new institutions of higher education in England.

Close of the Conference

The Conference was closed by Carlos who expressed his gratitude to the delegates for their participation and hoped that they would consider attending other WIT Conferences in the future, as well as other ways of collaborating with the Institute.

Carlos reminded the delegates that the final version of the papers will be permanently archived in the eLibrary of the Institute ( where they are in open access format, freely available to the international community.

Related Meetings

Complex Systems 2017
Coastal Cities 2017
Sustainable Development and Planning 2017
Sustainable City 2017