PerspectiveAPPLIED MATHEMATICS

Is the Geometry of Nature Fractal?

Science  02 Jan 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5347, pp. 39-40
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5347.39

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Summary

Ofer Biham

Daniel Lidar

Ofer Malcai

After fractals were first described in the 1970s, experimental researchers embraced them as a way to describe complex structures in nature. But is the world properly described by fractals? In their commentary, Avnir et al. describe how they surveyed the physics literature for objects that were declared to be fractal. They found that most of these declarations were made on the basis of very limited ranges of data. Nonetheless, the fractal concept may still have some value if the limitations are kept in mind.