Mandelbrot Fractal Set Mind Trip

It seems the world has just lost another good one. Benoir Mandelbrot, the mathematician who created fractal geometry, passed away on Thursday from pancreatic cancer.

Fractal geometry, if you don't know, is a mathematical development of theoretical and applied mathematics that can be used to understand the apparently rough and irregular patterns found in nature, from the branches of trees and broccoli to river networks, mountain ranges, crystals, the circulatory and respiratory systems, etc.

A great deal of the beauty of fractals has to do with the recursive nature of its shapes: it is driven by an iterative and self-referential process in which the output of any step in the algorithm becomes the input for the next step, creating patterns that can be explored literally to infinity. To give you an idea of what this simple equation looks like, let's try zooming in on it for just 10 minutes:



If you want to understand just how fractals explain many of the patterns found in nature, check out Jim Al-Khalili's excellent documentary The Secret Life of Chaos.
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