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BLOGScience & Human Behavior... mostly

  • Arnie Benn

NATURE: Insistently Fractal & Self-Similar

You might find it as fascinating as I do that many structures in nature manifest the beautiful and ubiquitous Golden Spiral. It is one of the ways the famous Fibonacci Sequence shows up in nature. It can be seen in spiral galaxies, hurricanes, nautilus shells, and many other natural structures. Of course, this begs a very scientific question: is this symmetry a coincidence or is it the result of the same (or similar) driving force? Science and nature do not work according to coincidence, especially not when their similarities in shape are so detailed and remarkable. When things look the same, it is because the same type of process is at work, causing them.

(Click on image to enlarge)

As of the second decade of the 21st century, we still await a theory that describes why these various natural structures manifest identical geometries. Not only are they vastly different in size and character, but they are formed in such different environments and from such different “stuff.”

There are whisperings and hints at possible answers to this intriguing question. (If you are interested in delving into these, CLICK HERE.) Whatever the answer turns out to be, intuition suggests it will describe a simple process, a simple set of forces. As fractal mathematics shows us, the most astounding detail and complexity arises from the repetition, the iteration, of a simple rule.

That, too, describes nature — a simple collection of forces, a modest palette of elements, and an astounding array of fractal beauty stretching out around us and deep down within us to mesmerizingly infinite depth.

Meditate on that. And if you need a little assistance, the zooming video at THIS LINK provides an excellent visual representation of fractal self-similarity across vastly different scales.

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