Most everyone has heard about fractals, right? You’ve seen pretty pictures like the one above, you know it’s some weird complicated math thing, and maybe you’ve heard about how they’re infinitely complex and you can zoom in on them forever and keep finding new patterns. Perhaps you’ve even heard that lots of things in nature, like mountain ranges and rivers, exhibit fractal patterns.
But if you’re like most people, you have no idea about the math behind these things. Maybe you thought it must be really complicated and you could never understand it – or maybe you’ve just never had time to try. I knew almost nothing about it, myself, until yesterday.
I did a little research. I learned exactly what equations are responsible for the picture above.
And you know what? It’s not that bad.
No calculus. No trigonometry. Just basic algebra and some very basic geometry. I picked it up in less than an hour. If you understand high school math, you can understand fractals.
And with the true zeal of a convert, I’d love to show you. I think it’s incredibly cool that the electric-looking beast in that picture (known as the Mandelbrot Set) was spawned by a single, very simple equation. I want you to experience that coolness too.
So, here’s what I’m proposing: next week is Fractal Week. Over the course of four days, I’ll carefully explain, step by step, how to build the Mandelbrot Set mathematically. I’ll answer any questions you may have. (I’m a volunteer math tutor once a week, so I actually have some practice with this sort of thing.) And then on Friday, we’ll all congratulate ourselves on being Fractal Badasses.
But what about the rest of you? Are you willing to take the plunge? Who’s willing to try Fractal Week with me?
Let me know in the comments!