April 17, 2004

University of Toronto CS lecture slides describing various fractals. The very first image really grabbed my attention. Scroll down to the very bottom for "A tonne more examples".

I was searching the web, trying to decide whether or not to buy a book by Sir D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson called On Growth and Form, and I happened upon this web page. The very first image grabbed my attention, and I was quickly sucked in. Originally, I was reading a book called called Trilobites by Riccardo Levi-Setti, and in the section describing the morphology of the trilobites eyes, in particular the logarithmic spiral of their compound eyes, the author referenced the book On Growth and Form. Has anybody read this book? Impressions? Is it worth 8 bux?

  • kuatto, you might want to read The Computational Beauty of Nature.
  • Thanks Gyan. Looks like a good book.
  • I didn't know we had a fractal badger on our hands! Watch out people, those things are vicious when cornered :) hehe. Tho that free Mandelbrot fractal generator again reinforces the need to be running OSX, I suppose it wouldn't kill me to reboot into windows ;) The fractulus winners are very cool as well.
  • Dude, that was huge! For the sake of those using dial-up, give warning as to size next time.
  • kuatto, if you want links for (free) fractal generators for OS9, I got 'em. Peter Stone's fractal explorer and FractalGeneration.
  • Darshon, No harm no foul right? I remember the good old days of downloading for weeks at a time, ahh dialup. In fact one month I clocked slightly over 450 hours (<$100 bill). That was a learning experience for me, it taught me the value of data, As corney as that sounds. I guess if you run into this problem again, maybe close the web browser window or perhaps hit the back button. Browsing the web over dial-up sucks at time, believe me I know, but I do have to say this page might be worth a ten minute load time;) Until you get broadband all I can say is, "I feel your pain" .
  • Fractals are very cool and all but what I really find interesting are the naturally occuring fractals and other mathmatical shiznit. Stuff like this from the main link above. stuff that links and expresses the link between math(fractals etc) and the physical world. err yeah n'stuff
  • I'd like to recommend Chaos: Making a New Science. It has the best explanation of fractals I've ever read.
  • Well worth waiting for! [Phoenix Egg is marvelous.]
  • Connecting kuatto's and the_leviathan's comments to each other... James Gleick also has a book of photos called Nature's Chaos.
  • Gleick's Chaos book (here I am referring to the 1987 one) is very good for an understandable explanation of the science that has been come to be known as "Complex Systems", and I second it with the note that it actually came out before the field was mature, and it is very 1980's. Also, it is more historical than rigorous, but that is exactly what it is supposed to be. If you want to see the fractal nature of cellular automata (discrete arrays that evolve in a stepwise manner according to certain prescribed rules), especially with pretty pictures and eye candy, I recommend Wolfram's A New Kind of Science. It is available entirely online now, so examples of manifestations of automaton-like fractal structures in biology can be seen without requiring purchase (for example, this and this). However, if you should consider reading it, be warned that this book has stirred some controversy, and the opinion of the critics should not be ignored; it puts the book in its place, which is extremely overblown if you listen only to the author.
  • The more I read about D’Arcy Thompson, the more convinced I am to buy his book. “For the harmony of the world is made manifest in form and number, and the heart and soul and all the poetry of natural philosophy are embodied in the concept of mathematical beauty.” Plus I like the fact that he carries a parrot with him when he goes to buy ice-cream.
  • kuatto--Actually, I've DSL, I just noticed how long it still took and thought about those on dial-up who might not be expecting it. No problem. (P.S. If you want to see fractals in action, just drop some acid....kidding:>)
  • Gyan is right, "The Computational Beauty of Nature" is a great book- which also has a requisite website