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Ron Eglash

“Ethno-mathematician” Ron Eglash is the author of African Fractals, a book that examines the fractal patterns underpinning architecture, art and design in many parts of Africa. By looking at aerial-view photos — and then following up with detailed research on the ground — Eglash discovered that many African villages are purposely laid out to form perfect fractals, with self-similar shapes repeated in the rooms of the house, and the house itself, and the clusters of houses in the village, in mathematically predictable patterns. As he puts it: “When Europeans first came to Africa, they considered the architecture very disorganized and thus primitive. It never occurred to them that the Africans might have been using a form of mathematics that they hadn’t even discovered yet.”

A fractal is a pattern that repeats itself at different scales. It is ideal for modeling nature: a tree is a branch of a branch of a branch; mountains are peaks within peaks; clouds are puffs of puffs, and so on. But modern computer scientists aren’t the only ones to use fractals: Africans have been using them for centuries to design textiles, sculptures, architecture, hairstyles and more. In this website you will learn how fractal geometry is used in computing and science, and apply that knowledge to simulating African designs.

Here the link to his talk:  http://African fractals – TED talk

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