Monday, April 17, 2006

What is a fractal?

Send in examples of fractals from Earth or from Fractalia.

What is a fractal?

Almost all things in Fractalia are fractal. Many things on Earth are also.

A fractal is a pattern that repeats itself as you go smaller and smaller. Let's make a simple fractal. Start with a straight line (as in the top of the picture). To make the second line from the first one, just put a pointy bump in the middle of the line. Now let's make the third line from the second line. Everywhere there is a straight line replace it with one that has a pointy bump in the middle.

The line keeps getting bumpier and bumpier. This is an example of a fractal because the same pattern repeats itself as you go smaller and smaller.

Trees are fractals because they start out as a trunk that splits off into many branches. Each branch splits off into smaller branches again and again until you reach the twigs. The same pattern repeats itself as you go smaller, so it is a fractal.

Send in other things from Earth or from Fractalia that are fractals.


At Monday, April 17, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the bumpiest line in the picture looks like a snowflake

At Monday, April 17, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

blood vessels split smaller and smaller just like tree branches do

At Saturday, April 22, 2006, Blogger A.J. McCaffrey said...

a river delta

The river splits up into smaller streams which splits up into even smaller streams, and so on.

(I cannot remember the name of the young person who came up with this great answer a couple of days ago. So, I am posting it for him. A.J.)

At Sunday, April 23, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The root system of a tree is also a fractal.


At Monday, July 10, 2006, Blogger chumly said...

Sometimes I repeat myself when under stress.

At Thursday, August 24, 2006, Blogger Steve Sherlock said...

Fantastic animation of a Mandelbrot fractal zoom, via WServer Newsletter

At Wednesday, November 22, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nerve cells split off of each other's little hair things


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