In 1836, Talbot wrote to the secretary of the French Academy of Sciences, Franc-ois Arago, to call his attention to the remarkable, newly discovered crystals of borax "composed of an infinity of needles which radiate from a central point". This review aimed to answer the questions of how and why such an "infinity" of needles organized themselves as they do, questions that have lingered for the better part of two centuries. To the best of our knowledge, these questions have not been answered directly and with sufficient attention to all spherulite forming materials and media. Only in this way do we find that is possible to bring the totality of spherulite research within the focus of a small number of generative mechanisms, while at the same time disposing of prejudices relating to spherulitic growth that have arisen from attention to a limited number of spherulite forming substances.
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