“Fractals and an Art for the Sake of Science” by Mandelbrot

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    Fractals and an Art for the Sake of Science

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Abstract:


    A new form of art redefines the boundary between ‘invention’ and ‘discovery’, as understood in the sciences, and ‘creativity’, as understood in the plastic arts. Can pure geometry be perceived by the ‘man in the street’ as beautiful? To be more specific, can a shape that is defined by a simple equation or a simple rule of construction be perceived by people other than geometers as having aesthetic value – namely, as being at least surprisingly decorative – or perhaps even as being a work of art? When the geometric shape is a fractal, the answer is yes. Even when fractals are taken ‘raw’, they are attractive. They lend themselves to ‘painting by numbers’ that is surprisngly effective, even in the hands of the rank amateur. And the true artist’s sensibility finds them a novel and attractive support.


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