ALFRED PASIEKA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ALFRED PASIEKA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Fractal moonrise over fractal mountain. A computer graphics image combining a three-dimensional fractal pattern with a fractal pattern mapped onto a sphere. Both are derived from the Mandelbrot Set, a group of complex numbers plotted using their real and imaginary parts as coordinates. Each point is mapped depending upon its behaviour under a series of simple, but repeated, mathematical operations. The patterns are infinitely complicated, but appear to be repeated on whatever scale they are viewed. The study of such "chaotic" behaviour is now used as a means of modelling real-world processes from stock market prices to population dynamics & fluid turbulence.
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