Lectures curated around NOVA: Hunting the Hidden Dimension that tells the story of a group of mathematicians who took Mandelbrot’s invention of fractals from a mathematical curiosity to an approach that is touching nearly every branch of science and technology today. “Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line.” So writes acclaimed mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot in his path-breaking book The Fractal Geometry of Nature. Instead, such natural forms, and many man-made creations as well, are “rough,” he says. To study and learn from such roughness, for which he invented the term fractal, Mandelbrot devised a new kind of visual mathematics based on such irregular shapes. Fractal geometry, as he called this new math, is worlds apart from the Euclidean variety we all learn in school, and it has sparked discoveries in myriad fields, from finance to metallurgy, cosmology to medicine.

Lectures curated around NOVA: Hunting the Hidden Dimension that tells the story of a group of mathematicians who took Mandelbrot’s invention of fractals from a mathematical curiosity to an approach that is touching nearly every branch of science and technology today. “Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line.” So writes acclaimed mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot in his path-breaking book The Fractal Geometry of Nature. Instead, such natural forms, and many man-made creations as well, are “rough,” he says. To study and learn from such roughness, for which he invented the term fractal, Mandelbrot devised a new kind of visual mathematics based on such irregular shapes. Fractal geometry, as he called this new math, is worlds apart from the Euclidean variety we all learn in school, and it has sparked discoveries in myriad fields, from finance to metallurgy, cosmology to medicine.

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