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Fractal Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
Section - What is a fractal?

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Q2: What is a fractal? What are some examples of fractals?  
A2: A fractal is a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be  
subdivided in parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a 
reduced-size copy of the whole. Fractals are generally self-similar 
and independent of scale.  
  
There are many mathematical structures that are fractals; e.g. Sierpinski  
triangle, Koch snowflake, Peano curve, Mandelbrot set, and Lorenz  
attractor. Fractals also describe many real-world objects, such as clouds,  
mountains, turbulence, and coastlines, that do not correspond to simple  
geometric shapes.  
  
Benoit Mandelbrot gives a mathematical definition of a fractal as a set for  
which the Hausdorff Besicovich dimension strictly exceeds the topological  
dimension. However, he is not satisfied with this definition as it excludes  
sets one would consider fractals.  
  
According to Mandelbrot, who invented the word: "I coined _fractal_ from  
the Latin adjective _fractus_. The corresponding Latin verb _frangere_  
means "to break:" to create irregular fragents. It is therefore sensible -  
and how appropriate for our needs! - that, in addition to "fragmented" (as in  
_fraction_ or _refraction_), _fractus_ should also mean "irregular," both  
meanings being preserved in _fragment_." (_The Fractal Geometry of  
Nature_, page 4.)  
  

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Top Document: Fractal Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
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Next Document: Chaos

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM