Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Fractal Geometry

[WARNING: I'm in way over my head on this one but I find it most fascinating.]

From time to time, I come across a word/phrase that intrigues me enough to Google/Wiki it. For instance, Fractal Geometry. What in the world is that, I asked. My limited math background (high-school geometry and algebra) rendered me clueless.

Now I know that the above fractal image of the Mandelbrot set "may well be the most familiar image produced by the mathematics of the last century." Whether in nature's symmetry or in the patterns within our visual arts and social sciences, mathematical formulas produce shapes of "great organic beauty and infinite subtle variation." Designs replicated within themselves are everywhere. Like this one:

That reminds me of my Origami Mathematics post from awhile back. Girls, stereotypically, aren't the ones who pursue math, as was certainly true in my case. Miss Pound was my only teacher in high school (Algebra II) who kept me from getting a 4.0! But I quite enjoy getting my come-uppance vicariously through the women I read about, like Vittoria in Angels & Demons (Dan Brown's prequel to The Da Vinci Code).

One of my favorite paintings is this Norman Rockwell self-portrait, which I wish were a fractal. Close, maybe, but no cigar. I include it only because it came out of the labyrinth of my brain when thinking about designs within designs.

But I digress! "Fractal geometry is a new way of looking at the world" and all its surrounding natural patterns. I guess you could say it's on the tip of my eyes right now. It's in the Native American mandalas I color; it's in the brick pattern of the chimney I see outside my window. It's everywhere!

Not that I would ever compare myself to my mom, whom we endearingly called a Professional Student, but I suddenly want to know something about everything, even if I don't fully understand it!


  1. Fractal art can be pretty fun to play around with; although, some people have questioned whether or not it's really an art since you can just write simple programs now to create things like the Mandelbrot set in seconds...

    Regardless of whether or not it's an art, it's still fascinating to find that these patterns occur in nature all the time.

  2. Hi! Interesting topic. Janet Parke is quite reknowned for her fractal art works. Taupensky is a favourite of mine and her main site can be reached here.

    I think it's grand to be curious and wanting to learn about new things!

  3. Omigod! Where was I when this stuff was happening??!!?? All I can say, Ezekiel, is "Art is Art!" regardless of how it's "made," don't you think?

    And Prairie Girl, your Janet Parke is a case in point! Oh my. I really did just die and go to heaven. Her work astounds me! One of those rare times I'm speechless....