Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Inspired by Mandelbrot's Fractals


I was reading a Jim Holt review of the book:

The Fractalist: Memoir of a Scientific Maverick
by Benoit B. Mandelbrot 

in the New York Review of Books (here), and decided to look for examples
of self-similarity in the kitchen. And yes, there was a (wilting) cauliflower
in the fridge, and parsley in the garden...

(Note to self: cook the cauliflower tonight!)

Jim Holt: "To see what self-similarity means, consider a homely example:
the cauliflower. Take a head of this vegetable and observe its form—the way
it is composed of florets. Pull off one of those florets. What does it look like?
It looks like a little head of cauliflower, with its own subflorets. Now pull off
one of those subflorets. What does that look like? A still tinier cauliflower.
If you continue this process—and you may soon need a magnifying glass—
you’ll find that the smaller and smaller pieces all resemble the head you
started with. The cauliflower is thus said to be self-similar. Each of its parts
echoes the whole."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Books by Ridou Ridou