# Difference between revisions of "Field:Fractals"

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===Self-Similarity=== | ===Self-Similarity=== | ||

[[Image:Sierp-zoom.gif|200px|thumb|right|Self-Similiarity of Sierpinkisi's Triangle]] | [[Image:Sierp-zoom.gif|200px|thumb|right|Self-Similiarity of Sierpinkisi's Triangle]] | ||

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− | Although all fractals exhibit self-similarity, they do not necessarily have to possess exact self-similarity, which would mean that the parts look exactly like the whole. The coastline fractal explained above does not have exact self-similarity, but its parts are very similar to the whole, while fractals made by iterated function systems (such as [[Sierpinski's Triangle]], shown at the right) have exact-similarity | + | Although all fractals exhibit self-similarity, they do not necessarily have to possess exact self-similarity, which would mean that the parts look exactly like the whole. The coastline fractal explained above does not have exact self-similarity, but its parts are very similar to the whole, while fractals made by iterated function systems (such as [[Sierpinski's Triangle]], shown at the right) have exact-similarity |

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## Revision as of 14:09, 25 July 2011

# Fractals

A fractal is often defined as a geometric shape that is **self-similar**, that is, whose magnified parts look like a smaller copy of the whole. The term "fractal" was coined by Benoit Mandelbolt in 1975 from the latin term *fractus* meaning "fragmented" or "irregular".

## Contents

This concept can be explained in a commonly used analogy involving the coastline of an island:

*Suppose you wanted to measure the total perimeter of an island. You could begin by roughly estimating the perimeter of the island by measuring the border of the island from a high vantage point like an airplane and using miles as units. Next, to be more accurate, you could walk along the island's borders and measure around its various coves and bays using a measuring tape and foot as units. Then, if you wanted to be really accurate, you could carefully measure around every single protruding rock and detail of the island with foot-long ruler and use inches as a measuring unit.*

The perimeter of the island would grow as you decrease the size of your measuring device and increase the accuracy of your measurements. Also, the island would more or less self-similar (in terms of becoming more and more jagged and complex) as you continued to shorten your measuring device.

[[Image:|300px|thumb|right|]] |

## References

Wikipedia, Fractals Page

Cynthia Lanius, Cynthia Lanius' Lessons: A Fractal Lesson

CoolMath.com, Math of Fractals