fractal geometry

In mathematics, the study of complex shapes with the property of self-similarity, known as fractals.

Rather like holograms that store the entire image in each part of the image, any part of a fractal can be repeatedly magnified, with each magnification resembling all or part of the original fractal. This phenomenon can be seen in objects like snowflakes and tree bark. The term fractal was coined by Benoit B. Mandelbrot in 1975. This new system of geometry has had a significant impact on such diverse fields as physical chemistry, physiology, and fluid mechanics; fractals can describe irregularly shaped objects or spatially nonuniform phenomena that cannot be described by Euclidean geometry. Fractal simulations have been used to plot the distributions of galactic clusters and to generate lifelike images of complicated, irregular natural objects, including rugged terrains and foliage used in films. See also chaos theory.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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