The Beauty of Fractals: Images of Complex Dynamical Systems

Springer Science & Business Media
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In 1953 I realized that the straight line leads to the downfall of mankind. But the straight line has become an absolute tyranny. The straight line is something cowardly drawn with a rule, without thought or feeling; it is the line which does not exist in nature. And that line is the rotten foundation of our doomed civilization. Even if there are places where it is recognized that this line is rapidly leading to perdition, its course continues to be plot ted . . . Any design undertaken with the straight line will be stillborn. Today we are witnessing the triumph of rationalist knowhow and yet, at the same time, we find ourselves confronted with emptiness. An esthetic void, des ert of uniformity, criminal sterility, loss of creative power. Even creativity is prefabricated. We have become impotent. We are no longer able to create. That is our real illiteracy. Friedensreich Hundertwasser Fractals are all around us, in the shape of a mountain range or in the windings of a coast line. Like cloud formations and flickering fires some fractals under go never-ending changes while others, like trees or our own vascular systems, retain the structure they acquired in their development. To non-scientists it may seem odd that such familiar things have recently become the focus of in tense research. But familiarity is not enough to ensure that scientists have the tools for an adequate understanding.
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Publisher
Springer Science & Business Media
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Published on
Dec 1, 2013
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Pages
202
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ISBN
9783642617171
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Language
English
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Genres
Mathematics / General
Mathematics / History & Philosophy
Mathematics / Logic
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This content is DRM protected.
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A fascinating memoir from the man who revitalized visual geometry, and whose ideas about fractals have changed how we look at both the natural world and the financial world.

Benoit Mandelbrot, the creator of fractal geometry, has significantly improved our understanding of, among other things, financial variability and erratic physical phenomena. In The Fractalist, Mandelbrot recounts the high points of his life with exuberance and an eloquent fluency, deepening our understanding of the evolution of his extraordinary mind. We begin with his early years: born in Warsaw in 1924 to a Lithuanian Jewish family, Mandelbrot moved with his family to Paris in the 1930s, where he was mentored by an eminent mathematician uncle. During World War II, as he stayed barely one step ahead of the Nazis until France was liberated, he studied geometry on his own and dreamed of using it to solve fresh, real-world problems. We observe his unusually broad education in Europe, and later at Caltech, Princeton, and MIT. We learn about his thirty-five-year affiliation with IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center and his association with Harvard and Yale. An outsider to mainstream scientific research, he managed to do what others had thought impossible: develop a new geometry that combines revelatory beauty with a radical way of unfolding formerly hidden laws governing utter roughness, turbulence, and chaos.

Here is a remarkable story of both the man’s life and his unparalleled contributions to science, mathematics, and the arts.
This book is based on notes for the course Fractals:lntroduction, Basics and Perspectives given by MichaelF. Barnsley, RobertL. Devaney, Heinz-Otto Peit gen, Dietmar Saupe and Richard F. Voss. The course was chaired by Heinz-Otto Peitgen and was part of the SIGGRAPH '87 (Anaheim, California) course pro gram. Though the five chapters of this book have emerged from those courses we have tried to make this book a coherent and uniformly styled presentation as much as possible. It is the first book which discusses fractals solely from the point of view of computer graphics. Though fundamental concepts and algo rithms are not introduced and discussed in mathematical rigor we have made a serious attempt to justify and motivate wherever it appeared to be desirable. Ba sic algorithms are typically presented in pseudo-code or a description so close to code that a reader who is familiar with elementary computer graphics should find no problem to get started. Mandelbrot's fractal geometry provides both a description and a mathemat ical model for many of the seemingly complex forms and patterns in nature and the sciences. Fractals have blossomed enormously in the past few years and have helped reconnect pure mathematics research with both natural sciences and computing. Computer graphics has played an essential role both in its de velopment and rapidly growing popularity. Conversely, fractal geometry now plays an important role in the rendering, modelling and animation of natural phenomena and fantastic shapes in computer graphics.
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