A Conversation for Fractals - Beautiful Mathematics

small intestines

Post 1

Sad, Mad or Bad? - I always wanted to be a dino, but alas, I'm just old.

I'm wondering whether the lining of your small intestine could be considered to be a fractal. Or the surface area of your brain, or in fact a lot of bodily organs whose surface area is increased by folding. Food for thought (and that'd be a great pun if I'd mentioned more of the gastrointestinal tract here). smiley - winkeye

small intestines

Post 2


Repeated, iterative folding creates classic fractal shapes. For a simple description of why this is so, try reading J.Gleik's very accessible book "Chaos". Eg, the lungs: Essentially nature needs a way of packing as much exposure to air molecules to as much lung tissue as possible, folded structures are ideal.... in the same way that a sponge is a fractal shape perfect for sifting water.

small intestines

Post 3

Sad, Mad or Bad? - I always wanted to be a dino, but alas, I'm just old.

Exactly my point smiley - winkeye

small intestines

Post 4

Apollyon - Grammar Fascist

One of my biology professors said that the snmall intestine is like a fractal - folds within folds within folds. So yes.

A physics experiment involving light refraction involved scattering a little yellow powder on the surface of water. When viewed under a travelling microscope, it took on a fractal shape.

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