Difference between revisions of "Field:Fractals"

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===Fractal (Non Integer) Dimension===
 
===Fractal (Non Integer) Dimension===
Fractals are too irregular to be defined by tradition or Euclidean geometry language. Objects that can be described by Euclidean geometric dimensions include a line (1 dimension), a square (2 dimension), and a cube (3 dimension). Fractals are instead described by a specific term called Hausdorff or fractal dimension that measures how fully a fractal seems to fill space. For example, going back to the coastline example above, the coastline of Norway has an estimated fractal dimension of about 1.52.
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Fractals are too irregular to be defined by traditional or Euclidean geometry language. Objects that can be described by Euclidean geometric dimensions include a line (1 dimension), an square (2 dimension), and a cube (3 dimension). Fractals are instead described by what is called Hausdorff or fractal dimension that measures how fully a fractal seems to fill space. For example, going back to the coastline example above, the coastline of Norway has an estimated fractal dimension of about 1.52 so it is not quite a line, but not quite an area either.
  
 
Click here to learn more about [[Fractal Dimension]] and how it is calculated.
 
Click here to learn more about [[Fractal Dimension]] and how it is calculated.

Revision as of 10:11, 29 June 2009


Fractals

NorwayCoastline.png

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".

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. Then, if you wanted to be really accurate, you could carefully measure around every single protruding rock and detail of the island with a yardstick or even a foot-long ruler.

Clearly, 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 decrease your measuring device.


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



Additional Resources

Reference used - Wikipedia, Fractals Page
Reference used - Cynthia Lanius, Cynthia Lanius' Lessons: A Fractal Lesson
Reference used - CoolMath.com, Math of Fractals