Fractals – The Beauty Of Life As Evidence Of Underlying Purposive Control Design Processes

Alan (Zig) St Clair Gibson

Reading an excellent research article on the effect of fatigue on the fractal nature of force output by my fellow academic and friend Mark Burnley, and seeing the large tracts of snow that covered the United Kingdom the last few weeks got me thinking of fractal theory, a concept which I have become increasingly interested in during the last decade or so of my research career. A broad definition of fractals are that they are rough or fragmented geometric shapes that can be split into parts, each of which is an approximate copy of the original whole. Examples of fractals are all around us, from snowflakes, to the branching of a tree or vines, to the coastline of a country, to our own lungs, intestines and blood vessels, to the patterns of weather and tides, all of which exhibit fractal geometry and dimensions. Fractals have become popularized in art and…

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