On fractals

Though they are complex to describe, you have seen them many times in snow flakes, branching river deltas, the branches of pine trees, ancient ferns, and the florettes of a cauliflower. Fractals, though difficult to define, seem to be repeating self-similar patterns that repeat until they are infinitesimly small, but always the same. Fractals, if you were to analyse them from a mathematical standpoint, are non-linear functions that form all sorts of beautiful loops, and swirls that go on and on into a vanishing point somewhere off of the graph paper. We see fractals that occur in nature all the time. They are so common that we would miss if they weren’t there, but we ignore them because they are ubiquitous. Fractals are imprinted in our subconscious to the point that a nautilous shell can only have one design–a spiral of ever increasing size. If the fractal weren’t there, it wouldn’t be a nautilous shell, or pine tree branch, frost on a window, branching lightening, or the Mississippi River delta. Ever look at the way medieval architects imprint a fractal design on the front of Gothic cathedrals? Fractals are pleasing to the eye and soothing for the soul. Part of the universes harmony is wrapped up in fractals, including the designs of galaxies. Now, in the Oscar winning song of the year, “Let it Go,” the word fractal is included in the lyrics, and the main character creates an ice palace out of macro-fractal snow flake. Fascinating.