## Friday, October 21, 2005

Man·del·brot set (män'dəl-brŏt') n.
The set of complex numbers C for which the iteration zn+1 = zn2 + C produces finite zn for all n when started at z0 = 0. The boundary of the Mandelbrot set is a fractal.
[After Benoit B. Mandelbrot (born 1924), Polish-born American mathematician.]

http://www.math.utah.edu/~alfeld/math/mandelbrot/mandelbrot.html
Draw and learn about Mandelbrots online.

http://math.bu.edu/DYSYS/explorer/

I have wondered about infinity for a long time. How do you explain such a concept. Where do lines go? Where they start and end is as much an artistic puzzle as it is a mathematical one. At my school students learn to understand the concept of lines reaching to infinity by symbolically unrolling a string in both directions at once. No one ever explained math to me that way. However, my mom and dad are artists as well as teachers and so I learned a lot about vanishing points and perspective when I was very young. Line really is about a journey.

I like these fractal images because they embrace a marriage of math, science, and art in this way. Many of the images also remind me of underwater scenes, images of life under a microscope, or a sense of a universe seen from far away. Line travels from the smallest centers of being and imagination to the greatest landscapes and mindescapes we can create. What a beautiful thing possibility is. I wish that the people involved in the teacher's strike right now will find a concrete vision of education that embraces the idea of journey to a healthy future while they strive to find solutions to the puzzles ever evolving in complexity around the province.