A fractal is "a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole," a property called self-similarity. Roots of mathematical interest on fractals can be traced back to the late 19th Century; however, the term "fractal" was coined by Benoît Mandelbrot in 1975 and was derived from the Latin fractusequation that undergoes iteration, a form of feedback based on recursion. meaning "broken" or "fractured." A mathematical fractal is based on an
A fractal often has the following features:
- It has a fine structure at arbitrarily small scales.
- It is too irregular to be easily described in traditional Euclidean geometric language.
- It is self-similar (at least approximately or stochastically).
- It has a Hausdorff dimension which is greater than its topological dimension (although this requirement is not met by space-filling curves such as the Hilbert curve).
- It has a simple and recursive definition.
Because they appear similar at all levels of magnification, fractals are often considered to be infinitely complex (in informal terms). Natural objects that approximate fractals to a degree include clouds, mountain ranges, lightning bolts, coastlines, snow flakes, various vegetables (cauliflower and broccoli), and animal coloration patterns. However, not all self-similar objects are fractals—for example, the real line (a straight Euclidean line) is formally self-similar but fails to have other fractal characteristics; for instance, it is regular enough to be described in Euclidean terms. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractal)
And this is what happens when you try and make some out of a CD...
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