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Revision as of 14:02, 1 June 2009 by Ryang1 (talk | contribs) (Examples of fractals)
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A fractal is often defined as a geometry shape that is self-similarity>, or whose magnified parts look like a smaller copy of the whole. It 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 nature 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 measurement 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 like similar (in terms of becoming more and more jagged and complex) as you continued to decrease your measuring device.


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