According to answers.com, a fractal is “a geometric pattern that is repeated at ever smaller scales to produce irregular shapes and surfaces that cannot be represented by classical geometry. Fractals are used especially in computer modeling of irregular patterns and structures in nature.”
 
The term "fractal" was coined by Benoit Mandelbrot in 1975 to mean "a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be subdivided in parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole."
 
It is derived from the Latin fractus, meaning "broken" or "fractured". Geometrically, fractals exhibit self-similarity at all scales of magnification. Many approximate fractals can be found in nature, such as snowflakes, trees, lightening bolts, crystals, blood vessels, and ocean waves. However, for our purpose fractals are represented in images generated by computers using, recursive equations.
 
Possessing self-similarity is not the sole criterion for an object to be termed a fractal. Examples of self-similar objects that are not fractals include the logarithmic spiral and straight lines, which do contain copies of themselves at increasingly small scales. These do not qualify, since they have the same Hausdorff dimension as topological dimension.
 
Fractal art is created by calculating fractal geometry and representing the calculation results as still images. The fractal art on this site is created with the assistance of a computer and guided by the fractal artist.
 
 
 
Check out the following, for more information:
 
PBS NOVA Hunting the Hidden Dimension (video)
 
 
Wikipedia - Fractals
 
 
Wikipedia - Fractal Art

 

 

 

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