Fractals Around Us

Fractals are everywhere – even inside us! Learn more about fractal art, natural fractal patterns, and fractals found in the human body.
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Fractals Around Us
Do you still think that mathematics is boring? Then this article is for you!

What is a fractal?

The term “fractal” was first introduced by French and American mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot in 1975. Oftentimes, a fractal is a pattern that never ends; therefore, it is also known as evolving symmetry.

Fractals in nature

You might have heard the word “fractal” for the first time but you have definitely seen fractals before! Did you know that an ordinary nautilus shell is an example of a natural fractal pattern? Other awesome examples include:
  • Romanesco broccoli that is composed of a number of small green buds; each bud in its turn is composed of even smaller buds and so on and so forth. The perfect geometry of this vegetable is impressive!

Romanesco broccoli

  • Ice crystals that are formed on a window stun with their beauty and symmetry!

Ice crystals

  • Leaves also exhibit self-similarity. The well-known example of a plant that displays fractal characteristics is the Barnsley Fern.

Barsnaley Fern is a natural fractal


  • Hurricanes and typhoons are not only dreadful natural disasters but also the largest examples of fractals on our planet.

Tornado is a fractal

  • Galaxies containing trillions of stars are the largest examples of fractal structures in the Universe .

Galaxy of stars

Fractals inside us

You have already learned that we live in the worlds of fractals. A human is part of this world displaying fractal properties, too:
  • The lungs are a fractal organ. The branching of trachea and bronchioles is similar to the branching of a tree.

Bronchi

  • The heartbeat of a healthy heart exhibits fractal dynamics.
  • Sulci, or the folds of the brain, demonstrate fractal properties.


  • Large blood vessels split into smaller ones forming a blood vessel tree.

Blood vessels are a natural fractal

Fractals in art

The most amazing thing about fractals besides their beauty is that the pattern repeats itself when you zoom in closer. You can find a lot of examples of fractals on the Internet.
Computer-generated fractal
Besides, there are a lot of fractal generators that will help you build your own mesmerizing pattern! You can also look for tutorials explaining how to create a fractal in Photoshop – fractals may seem to be very complex but in fact, they are easy to build! In the 1980s, the enthusiasm over fractals developed into a unique form of art called fractal art. Most prominent artists who use fractal geometry in their works:

  • Greg Sams
  • Vicky Brago-Mitchell
  • Scott Draves, William Latham
  • Carlos Ginzburg
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