Fractal Mathematics

September 7, 2006

Today at work someone gave me a small, blow-up beach ball. (Don’t ask me why.) It had a brightly colored, tie-dyed kind of design on it. When I looked closer, I saw the unmistakeable image of a Mandelbrot Set, the classic fractal image developed by Benoit Mandelbrot while working for IBM in the 1970’s.

The basics of fractal geometry had been around for awhile, but Mandelbrot happened to be working on the puzzle at a time when large computers first became available that were capable of handling the rapid multiplication required. Color monitors soon kicked it up a notch.

Here is a short video of a Mandelbrot Set in motion. And here is a sample video from The Amazing Mandelbrot Set DVD. Notice how the image dives into itself, yet never reaches an end. If you live in the Portland area, the Multnomah County Library has an excellent DVD called The Colours of Infinity. Mandelbrot’s website at Yale University has a bunch of interviews and articles by this unconventional mathematical genius.

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One Response to “Fractal Mathematics”


  1. […] are the secret to understanding the complex nature of space, time and life in our universe. Here is an earlier post on the subject from a couple of years […]


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