Fractals - A Nonmathematician's Request

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Fractals - A Nonmathematician's Request

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1rebeccanyc
Aug 21, 2009, 5:26pm

My husband recently saw a show on PBS about fractals and would like to learn more about them. He has no mathematics background (except high school 40+ years ago), so is looking for something that would be understandable for an intelligent nonmathematician.

If any of you mathematics lovers have any recommendations, we would both be grateful.

3Vanye
Aug 21, 2009, 5:35pm

If you Google-Mandelbrot set-you will get lots of info! They are very intriguing & beautiful. I saw that show also but had researched them a while back & know that there is a lot about them on the internet. So try that. I think there is even a site where you can play around w/them interactively. 8^)

4rebeccanyc
Aug 22, 2009, 6:59am

Thanks for the swift reponses -- will check them out!

5guido47
Sep 28, 2009, 1:52am

I recommend the freeware program "Fractint" This was a DOS program which has been ported to windows. Many hours of FUN.

6modalursine
Nov 15, 2009, 12:47pm

If you want to understand Mandelbrot sets, Julia sets and all of that, it would help to teach yourself just a smidgen about complex numbers. What they are, how to add them and multiply them, what's meant by real and imaginary part, and what's meant by absolute value of same, maybe something about complex exponentials and Euler's theorem.

Maybe Asimov's "World of Numbers" ?

http://www.amazon.com/Realm-Numbers-Isaac-Asimov/dp/0395065666

Might also look for old issues of the Scientific Games and Puzzles section of Scientific American....probably collected in some book or other by Martin Gardner.
(Did I spell his name properly? Grump!)

After that, hmmm... how about Goedel Escher, Bach by Hofstadter

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_1_3?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&fieldkey...

7ejfertig
Nov 17, 2009, 10:42am

Though not strictly focused on fractals, the book Chaos: Making of a new science is a fantastic introduction to chaos theory and its history in general.

8ArtDecade
Dec 10, 2009, 2:57pm

I agree with 7. It's a great book to get your feet wet.

9rebeccanyc
Dec 10, 2009, 4:47pm

Thanks for the recommendation. I have had Chaos for years, but haven't read it yet. Perhaps this will inspire me to take it off the shelf!

10harryrickards
Edited: Apr 23, 2011, 2:27pm

If you like Chaos, I'd also recommend Does God Play Dice; it covers a lot of the same stuff as Chaos, but from a different angle.

Edit: Oops, apologies for bumping this topic - I didn't notice the date.