Monday, September 10, 2012

Beautiful Numbers

      I will freely admit that math is not my favorite subject (I hate it) and that I'm a bit rusty at it (I can't multiply anymore). But recently I've discovered a new form of math, and I'm a bit obsessed. This discovery has caused me to realize that it's not math that I object to so much as the fact that it's taught in a completely abstract and simultaneously (and a bit paradoxically) practical way. It's boring. And Gross. And makes me want to curl up and die.

      But children there's hope! There is another way to learn mathy things that is infinitely more satisfying. It is abstract and concrete at the same time, but without the mundane attachment of the practical. Yes my friends, they're called Fractals. Fractals are a geometric pattern that is repeated (iterated) at ever smaller (or larger) scales to produce (self similar) irregular shapes and surfaces that cannot be represented by classical (Euclidian) geometry. Basically, they're irregular geometric patterns that repeat at varying scales into infinity. Alternately they're the graphical representations of non-linear functions. 

      Fractals take the abstract form of an equation and give it a visual representation. It's like looking at math. And the best part is that these complex equations can be turned into..... ART!!!!!!!!! They lend themselves very well to a sort of abstract expressionism that can be quite beautiful. Fractal artists use computer programs to insert equations and overlay color patterns to, in some cases, create quite masterful works of art.  

     This is especially neat in the ramifications it has for understanding, well everything. In modern society we've tended to separate all of the individual disciplines from one another and this has had a very curious (detrimental) effect on all of them. Basically each discipline has become specialized and narrowed to such a degree that it no longer has any concept of its purpose or place in the world (but that's a whole different subject). It's actually a pity that math has been separated from everything else. Math isn't just abstract equations and stuff. It turns out that all the numbers and equal signs actually mean something!(?) And it also turns out that, eventually, all of the technical disciplines devolve into pure mathematics at some point, and even the whole of the natural world. It was once said to me that Biology is Chemistry, Chemistry is actually Physics, and Physics is actually Mathematics, and this is pretty much true. Nature can be broken down into mathematics. Beauty too can be understood in this way. Music is math. Art - math. Poetry - Math. Boom. So, as it turns out, math is a perfectly wondrous medium for creating art (not even always abstract art. sea shells and plants can represented with relative ease in fractals). And now, for your viewing pleasure Fractal Art:

 Lucid-light's Fly Beautiful, one of my favorites

 by Jeddaka This one looks like the White Tree of Gondor

  by lindeloske Math in nature

 By rsidwell This is my favorite one!

 By rosshilbert This one had a super complicated description and all I can contribute is "This is pretty" :D

There you go. This is my new favorite art form that I only half-way want to do. It honestly represents the order and beauty of God's creation. Everything in creation can be represented by math (or at least that's what many mathematician's claim), and Fractal Art is one way to transform abstract concepts into a concrete visual representation that is filled with beauty and grace. #josephgordinloveitt

1 comment:

  1. I love reading your very entertaining!!


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