Sunday, 17 October 2010

The Deviant Dozen: Fractals

The death has been announced of maverick mathematician Benoît B Mandelbrot (so maverick that the B doesn't actually stand for anything) in Massachusetts, aged 85.

Mandelbrot coined the phrase Fractal Geometry and inadvertently became one of the leading inspirations in the world of computer graphics.

The Mandelbrot set that takes his name is, VERY basically, the graphical visualisation of a mathematical set of points forming a complex quadratic polynomial.

Or, in English, maths that looks pretty.

The Mandelbrot set.

What Mandelbrot discovered is that the more you zoom in on the outline of something, the more complex it appears.  The outline pattern of the Mandelbrot set repeats itself perfectly to infinity.

Mandelbrot zoom

Mandelbrot fractals became a staple of 1990s computer graphics, especially surrounding the rave scene.  Now though, it's a much more sophisticated artform and, to commemorate Dr Mandelbrot, here are 12 of the best examples of fractal graphics as seen on DeviantArt.  Click to see them full sized.

Mandelbrot obituary,
Mandelbrot set on Wikipedia.

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