The Fractal Geometry of Nature
ISBN 10: 0716711869 / 0-7167-1186-9
ISBN 13: 9780716711865
Publisher: W. H. Freeman and Company
Publication Date: 1982
Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, and lightening does not travel in a straight line. The complexity of nature's shapes differs in kind, not merely degree, from that of the shapes of ordinary geometry, the geometry of fractal shapes.
Now that the field has expanded greatly with many active researchers, Mandelbrot presents the definitive overview of the origins of his ideas and their new applications. The Fractal Geometry of Nature is based on his highly acclaimed earlier work, but has much broader and deeper coverage and more extensive illustrations.
Imagine an equilateral triangle. Now, imagine smaller equilateral triangles perched in the center of each side of the original triangle--you have a Star of David. Now, place still smaller equilateral triangles in the center of each of the star's 12 sides. Repeat this process infinitely and you have a Koch snowflake, a mind-bending geometric figure with an infinitely large perimeter, yet with a finite area. This is an example of the kind of mathematical puzzles that this book addresses.
The Fractal Geometry of Nature is a mathematics text. But buried in the deltas and lambdas and integrals, even a layperson can pick out and appreciate Mandelbrot's point: that somewhere in mathematics, there is an explanation for nature. It is not a coincidence that fractal math is so good at generating images of cliffs and shorelines and capillary beds.
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