Search - NOVA: Fractals - Hunting the Hidden Dimension on DVD

NOVA: Fractals - Hunting the Hidden Dimension
NOVA Fractals - Hunting the Hidden Dimension
Actor: Nova
Director: n/a
Genres: Television, Documentary
NR     2009     0hr 56min

Studio: Wgbh Wholesale Release Date: 03/10/2009 Run time: 56 minutes


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Movie Details

Actor: Nova
Director: n/a
Genres: Television, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Television, Science & Technology
Studio: WGBH Boston
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 03/10/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2008
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 0hr 56min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 8
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

The Beauty of Fractals
Howard S. Gay Jr. | San Diego CA USA | 01/26/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is an interesting and entertaining introduction to fractal geometry. It illustrates how the Julia and Mandelbrot sets were devised. Benoit B. Mandelbrot himself was dismissed and scoffed at by mathemeticians until he authored "The Factal Geometry of Nature", they then realized the connection of fractals & math and nature, even our bodies use it for economy of construction. There is order in so-called disorder except in cases of cancer. But computers were necessary to utilize the full potentials of fractals. This film offers graphic demonstrations. The spinoffs of B.Mandlebrot's book include the first ever computer generated special effects for Star Trek movies, some medical research applications, a quantum leap in design for antennaes for cell phones. Ships now from WGBH Boston."
"The book of nature is written in mathematics" Galileo
Steve Reina | Troy Michigan | 10/02/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

""The book of nature is written in mathematics." Galileo

A tree, a bush, a cauliflaur, a brain, a lung system, what all these organic structures share in common is the use of repeating patterns to create a whole that in its macroscopic view is just like its microscopic view.

Called fractals they have also been employed mathematically to describe forces of nature and also knowledge itself.

In one of my very favorite quotes of all time, the late Isaac Asimov observed that "Knowledge has a fractal like structure. No matter how much we learn, whatever remains, no matter how seemingly small, is infinitely complex."

Amazingly though artists had already informally discovered them, fractals came to the fore mathematically only in 1979 when Benoit Mandlebroit began writing about them and their ubiquity in nature. Mandlebroit had been a Jew trapped in France during WWII. He had survived to quickly earn his Phd. and then acquire a reputation as an academic very willing to follow his own hunches.

Lucky for us Mandlebroit overcame early disdain for his discovery and pursued fractal research zealously. As alluded earlier in this notice, examples of both organic and inorganic uses of fractals have dominated research since 1979.

For its part this DVD does an excellent job of discussing the history and various applications of fractals and it also inspires the viewer to further study and exploration of this important area of mathematics which actually turns out to be an example of creation itself.

While nature's "book" may be written in mathematics, this DVD at least allows you to view a synopsis of this chapter on film."
Interesting and Engaging Documentary with Excellent Visuals
christinemm - The Thinking Mother | Connecticut, United States | 02/02/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I stumbled across this Nova documentary at the public library. It looked interesting, so I watched it with my two sons, who I homeschool, aged twelve and nine. I found the show to be fascinating. As a non-math person I found the show engaging and completely understandable. My twelve year old seemed to understand everything also. The show was not that dumbed down, as while watching it, it was apparent that some of it was going over the head of my nine year old but some of it stuck. (This is not a documentary for elementary grade aged children.)

If you don't know what it is, fractal geometry is a different geometry than classic or plane geometry. Fractal geometry is applied to three dimensional objects. That's about the simplest explanation I can give.

One thing I loved about the content and production of the show is that at first it seemed very abstract and possibly unimportant to the layperson's life but the show clearly showed how fractal geometry is relevant to modern living and has applications in the real world. When they explained that fractal geometry principals were used to create a new cell phone antennae that makes them more usable for customers around the world it was made clear that knowledge of fractals is important to daily life. It was said that engineers can use this new information in daily applications. Any time I can show my sons that math has applications in the real world that affect people's daily lives, I'm happy.

Another story of interest was that the tallest tree in a rainforest was studied. Measurements were taken of its trunk and branches and the fractal geometry calculations were in alignment with its size of growth. Of further interest was the same mathematical computation matched the design of the whole rainforest, the spread of the other trees, the smaller trees, the width and size of the forest was all in alignment with the fractal geometry computation. The scientists also gathered samples from the leaves to check CO2 content and the point was to calculate the effect of the rainforest had in relation to global warming. The idea that fractal geometry is being used by environmentalists and scientists on the issue of climate was fascinating to us.

It was also interesting when it was explained that when Benoit Mandelbrot, the mathematician who created formulas for fractal geometry shared his thoughts there were many people who doubted him and the entire theory. The issue of the old school way of thinking not liking new theories proposed was something to think about.

Another cool thing was it was said that for thousands of year's artists and architects have used principals of balance and eye-pleasing proportion inspired by nature, and that nature's designs matched the mathematical computation. Thus some artist's work that looks pleasing to the eye actually is in alignment with that fractal geometry mathematical operation also (without a math operation ever having been done). This was brought full circle by showing a story of a textile design artist who used the fractal geometry formulas to create patterns for fabrics to use to make colorful printed men's shirts (similar to Hawaiian shirts).

My twelve year old son says he can't stop thinking about fractals now. He loves the idea and wants to learn more. He has asked me to get the book by Benoit Mandelbrot for him to read. I fear it will be too far above his head. I am now searching for book for upper middle school or high school level on this topic.

The graphics in this documentary were fantastic. The pace of the show moved right along and the hour went by almost too quickly.

I feel this documentary has interest to non-math people. Teachers or parents who would like children or teens to see real world applications of math principles or who wants to show that math can be cool should show this documentary to them. This would make a good addition to a public library where it can be borrowed and viewed by numerous curious-minded patrons."
Mare Allison | Kowloon, Hong Kong | 03/12/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you live in the US or Canada, you can see this program on demand at the PBS website.

As well as providing a very simple, popular overview of fractal theory and history, this program shows the diverse ways in which fractal geometry is being applied today. I had always wondered how it is that my tiny mobile phone can act as such a powerful receiver. The answer? Large and powerful antennae can be made tiny...because they use fractal geometry design.

I have always looked at the forest and thought -- it seems chaotic, but somehow it also looks like there is pattern and order. The answer? The self-similarity of fractal patterns. And what about the human body -- lungs for example? Fractal math reveals pattern in the branching of the our lungs, right down to the capillaries. There is a fascinating biographical sketch of Benoit Mandelbrot, who pioneered today's fractal math and geometry, including an interesting interview.

Fractals -- maybe I can't do the math...but I love learning about the vision and concepts! Wonderful stuff!!