23rd September 2005 at 01:00

After looking at Jackson Pollock's paintings, students can try to determine the fractal content of these, and of some images from nature, on the website

They can do this by overlaying the images with plastic sheets containing grid patterns of different sizes, and counting how many squares contain paint (for the paintings) or natural features (from the photographs). They then plot the log of grid size against the log of the number of squares containing paint or natural feature to determine the fractal dimension of the image.@52 Subhead: 10pt = Benoit Mandelbrot Born in 1924, Mandelbrot was a Polish emigre to France, and was greatly influenced by his uncle, a professor of maths at the Coll ge de France. He attributes much of his success to being largely self-taught, as he missed school while hiding from the Nazis. In 1958, he moved to the US, becoming an IBM fellow. He then developed fractal geometry, which has influenced engineering, medicine, information technology, economics and linguistics. Many think him the most important mathematician of the 20th century. He is now emeritus professor at Yale University.

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