Road Schooled

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Fractals in Nature – Discover the Beauty of Mathematics

Posted on | June 15, 2009 | Comments Off on Fractals in Nature – Discover the Beauty of Mathematics

Fractals in Nature - Lake Reflection of Autumn Trees

What do you see when you look at the photo above?

I see fractals.  Most people probably don’t see fractals.  And for those who don’t know what fractals are Webster’s definition is:

fractal: any of various extremely irregular curves or shapes for which any suitably chosen part is similar in shape to a given larger or smaller part when magnified or reduced to the same size

So basically it is how a tree grows.  Look at the tree trunk and how it branches off in two.  Then each of those pieces branch off in two and so on.

Fractals in Nature - Fractal Tree Growth Pattern

Go outside and you’ll see all kinds of cool fractal growth patterns in nature.

Fractals in Nature - Fern, Coastline, Flower, Califlower

Fractals in Nature - Snowflake

Fractals in Nature - Autumn Tree Canopy

This video of a slow zoom into the Mandelbrot set, the most famous computer generated fractal, demonstrates the self-similarity beautifully.  Watch in full screen mode to experience the full effect.

FractalNet HD – Slow deep Mandelbrot zoom from Michael Hogg on Vimeo.

Math is more than numbers.  Next time you are outside find some fractals to admire and discover the hidden beauty of mathmatics in nature’s growth patterns.

Image credits:  tree | mosaic | snowflake | tree canopy

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