From Zeno to Mandelbrot: explore this new language with which you can describe the shape of cloud as precisely as an architect can describe a house.
Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon is a producer of television documentaries. Will Rood studied mathematics at Cambridge University. His fractal animations have graced many television documentaries and his artwork has featured on numerous magazines, posters and CD sleeves. Ralph Edney trained as a mathematician, and has worked as a teacher, journalist, illustrator and political cartoonist.
Introducing Fractals - A Graphic Guide is quite well done. To truly understand fractals, however, takes quite a bit of mathematical background. The authors do an excellent job of trying to ease the reader into the required math, but the average reader without much higher math background likely will not really understand some of the material. I have an extensive background in math (though not exercised much in the last 20 years), and I still felt a tad frustrated that I was not sure I really "got it" for some of the concepts. Do I *really* understand what an attractor or repellor is? Or their significance? I think so - but do I?
So if you want to understand the basic ideas behind fractals, and their significance, this is a decent intro. If you are looking for a quick, easy read, that won't require much thinking to get through, this might not be it. The nature of the material might make finding such a book a tall order.
Fractals A Graphic Guide2011/2/14
I love this book! For an artist and non-mathematician who is intensely interested in fractals, it is indispensable. It is clear, easy to refer to and portable. The graphics are simple, charming and humorous. Even though I now understand most of the concepts, it is great if I want to quickly refresh my understanding of a concept.
A new place to get started2011/4/30
Susan K. Gushue
This is definitely a series I will go back to for introductions to other topics. The presentation was great. The graphics were well done. It really did feel like an introduction with ideas about all kinds of things to look at about fractals. I think it would be especially useful in a high school classroom library.
I liked the last half of the book much more than the first half2012/9/10
I liked some sections of this book, but felt that others needed much more amplification, so on balance I could only give the book three stars. In my opinion, much of the first half of the book would have been greatly improved by eliminating at least half of the drawings and replacing them with more text. Every page of the book contains at least one illustration, but I found that too many were of little of no help in explaining the concepts being discussed. Most were drawings of mathematicians, which while interesting did little to explain fractals and I found them to be more of a distraction than help. In my opinion, the ideas discussed in the first half of the book are covered too briefly for a general reader to fully understand the material. For instance, I do not see how someone without an education in advanced mathematics would get very much from the two pages allotted to Gregor Cantor's ideas concerning the mathematics of a continuum, or could really understand Julia sets from the incomplete information given in this book. There were, however, other sections, such as the one that defined fractional dimensions that I found to be very helpful and clear.
The last half of the book deals with a general discussion of the applications of fractals, and I found it to be interesting and quite illuminating. It covers applications ranging from biology, and physics, to art, music and even finance. I found illustrations to be very helpful here, and they did help to illuminate the wide-ranging application of fractals.
If a general reader is willing to accept that they really do not understand exactly what is being discussed, but are more interested in possible applications, then they would likely rate the book higher than 3 stars, I just was expecting more. I found that Stewart's "Does God Play Dice?" to do a much better job of explaining the concepts covered in this book.
Anyone who is interested in complex math should start with this well written and easy to understand book. Complex math is used in everyday life and I believe everyone should have a basic understanding of how things work. Excellent book!