Introduction[ edit ] The word "fractal" often has different connotations for laypeople than for mathematicians, where the layperson is more likely to be familiar with fractal art than a mathematical conception.
The mathematical concept is difficult to define formally, even for mathematicians, but key features can be understood with little mathematical background. The feature of "self-similarity", for instance, is easily understood by analogy to zooming in with a lens or other device that zooms in on digital images to uncover finer, previously invisible, new structure.
If this is done on fractals, however, no new detail appears; nothing changes and the same pattern repeats over and over, or for some fractals, nearly the same pattern reappears over and over. The difference for fractals is that the pattern reproduced must be detailed.
Having a fractional or fractal dimension greater than its topological dimension, for instance, refers to how a fractal scales compared to how geometric shapes are usually perceived.
In contrast, consider the Koch snowflake. It is also 1-dimensional for the same reason as the ordinary line, but it has, in addition, a fractal dimension greater than 1 because of how its detail can be measured.
This also leads to understanding a third feature, that fractals as mathematical equations are "nowhere differentiable ".
In a concrete sense, this means fractals cannot be measured in traditional ways. But in measuring a wavy fractal curve such as the Koch snowflake, one would never find a small enough straight segment to conform to the curve, because the wavy pattern would always re-appear, albeit at a smaller size, essentially pulling a little more of the tape measure into the total length measured each time one attempted to fit it tighter and tighter to the curve.
Bytwo French mathematicians, Pierre Fatou and Gaston Juliathough working independently, arrived essentially simultaneously at results describing what are now seen as fractal behaviour associated with mapping complex numbers and iterative functions and leading to further ideas about attractors and repellors i.
In  Mandelbrot solidified hundreds of years of thought and mathematical development in coining the word "fractal" and illustrated his mathematical definition with striking computer-constructed visualizations.
These images, such as of his canonical Mandelbrot setcaptured the popular imagination; many of them were based on recursion, leading to the popular meaning of the term "fractal". Authors disagree on the exact definition of fractal, but most usually elaborate on the basic ideas of self-similarity and an unusual relationship with the space a fractal is embedded in.
Koch snowflake Quasi self-similarity: A consequence of this structure is fractals may have emergent properties  related to the next criterion in this list. Irregularity locally and globally that is not easily described in traditional Euclidean geometric language. For images of fractal patterns, this has been expressed by phrases such as "smoothly piling up surfaces" and "swirls upon swirls".
A straight line, for instance, is self-similar but not fractal because it lacks detail, is easily described in Euclidean language, has the same Hausdorff dimension as topological dimensionand is fully defined without a need for recursion. Because of the butterfly effecta small change in a single variable can have an unpredictable outcome.
Iterated function systems IFS — use fixed geometric replacement rules; may be stochastic or deterministic;  e. The 2d vector fields that are generated by one or two iterations of escape-time formulae also give rise to a fractal form when points or pixel data are passed through this field repeatedly.
A fractal generated by a finite subdivision rule for an alternating link Finite subdivision rules — use a recursive topological algorithm for refining tilings  and they are similar to the process of cell division.Find this Pin and more on Geometric patterns in nature by Robin Crawford.
starfish - looks like fallen stars from the sky into the ocean. Mandelbrot Fractals In Nature See more. Photos of geometrical plants for symmetry lovers!
Above is Aloe Polyphylla via bored panda Who said math can’t be interesting? Fractals like these can seem. A Short Overview of Fractals, a Geometrical Discovery by Benoit Mandelbrot ( words, 3 pages) A fractal is a geometrical or physical structure having an irregular or fragmented shape at all scales of measurement between a greatest and smallest scale such that certain mathematical or physical properties of the structure, as the perimeter of a.
Exhibition - "The Islands of Benoit Mandelbrot: Fractals, Chaos, and the Materiality of Thinking" - Bard Graduate Center, Sep 21 - Jan 27 Selecta vol 1, 2, 3 overview, circa Box , Folder 9. Discovery of cosmic fractals by Yurij Baryshev and Pekka Teerikorpi.
Arthur C. Clarke presents this unusual documentary on the mathematical discovery of the Mandelbrot Set (M-Set) in the visually spectacular world of fractal geometry. This show relates the science of the M-Set to nature in a way that seems to identify the hand of God in the design of the universe itself/10().
Benoit Mandelbrot’s style is deliciously eccentric and idiosyncratic, and this finely produced volume, a lovingly reworked edition of “Fractals”, his masterpiece, is a fitting tribute to the fruits of a career of near-obsessive inquiry.
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