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The Colours of Infinity: The Beauty and Power of Fractals [Hardcover]

Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon
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Book Description

15 Nov 2010 1849964858 978-1849964852 2nd ed. 2010
A geometry able to include mountains and clouds now exists. I put it together in 1975, but of course it incorporates numerous pieces that have been around for a very long time. Like everything in science, this new geometry has very, very deep and long roots. Benoît B. Mandelbrot Introduction This enhanced and expanded edition of THE COLOURS OF INFINITY features an additional chapter on the money markets by the fractal master himself, Professor Benoît Mandelbrot. The DVD of the film associated with this book has been re-mastered especially for this edition with exquisite new fractal animations, which will take your breath away! Driven by the curious enthusiasm that engulfs many fractalistas, in 1994, Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon overcame enormous obstacles to raise the finance for, then shoot and edit the groundbreaking TV documentary from which this book takes its name. The film has been transmitted on TV channels in over fifty countries around the world. This book is not just a celebration of the discovery of the Mandelbrot set, it also brings fractal geometry up to date with a gathering of the thoughts and enthusiasms of the foremost writers and researchers in the field. As Ian Stewart makes clear in the opening chapter, there were antecedents for fractal geometry before 1975 when Mandelbrot gave the subject its name and began to develop the underlying theory.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 207 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2nd ed. 2010 edition (15 Nov 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849964858
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849964852
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 19.8 x 26.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 925,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

NIGEL LESMOIR-GORDON came into this world in the midst of the Second World War, appearing among the soaring academic towers of Cambridge - the last outpost of civilisation before the black-soiled, windswept fens ran their endless way up to Kings Lynn and The Wash. He grew up in the austere and reactionary spirit of post-war southern England. People felt lucky to be alive. So many had died. There were shortages. Most of their ships had been sunk and they lived under the heavy-hanging threat of nuclear annihilation. By the time Nigel had made it to his teens Cambridge had blossomed and become prosperous and he grew up in a privileged world. He was 13 when he went off to board at Oundle School and Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel burst incandescently upon the world. He began writing at Oundle and published poems and short stories in the UK, the USA and in France. He toured the UK performing with his poetry & jazz group. Nigel's interest in film took him to the London School of Film Technique in 1965. When he left Cambridge to go to film school he moved into a flat in Cromwell Road, South Kensington - the infamous '101'. When David Gale wrote about 101 in The Independent he recalled:
"As the 60s began to generate heat, I found myself running with a fast crowd. I had moved into a flat near the Royal College of Art. I shared the flat with some close friends from Cambridge, including Syd Barrett, who was busy becoming a rock star with Pink Floyd. A few hundred yards down the street at 101 Cromwell Road, our preternaturally cool friend Nigel was running the hipster equivalent of an arty salon. Between our place and his, there passed the cream of London alternative society - poets, painters, film-makers, charlatans, activists, bores and self-styled visionaries. It was a good time for name-dropping: how could I forget the time at Nigel's when I came across Allen Ginsberg asleep on a divan with a tiny white kitten on his bare chest? And wasn't that Mick Jagger visible through the fumes? Look, there's Nigel's postcard from William Burroughs, who looks forward to meeting him when next he visits London!"
During a weekend spent in Cambridge with old friends as part of his experimental work at film school Nigel shot the now cult-movie classic Syd Barrett's First Trip. When he joined the industry as an editor he worked for Hugh Hudson, director of Chariots of Fire, on TV commercials and documentaries. The film Performance was produced from the Chelsea studios where Nigel worked. In 1968 he was commissioned by Mick Jagger to co-write a screenplay with Christopher Gibbs (the set designer on Performance) called The Quest. Marianne Faithfull writes about this project in her biography Faithfull. Mick, Keith and Marianne were already cast and keen to make it. The script we they wrote drew on Arthurian legend, Celtic mythology and romantic poetry. Donovan had been writing music for the film and was disappointed when the project stalled due to other Rolling Stones commitments. To make up for this he suggested that Nigel produce and direct a film of him making music sailing through the islands of the Aegean Sea with a small acoustic band. The band was called Open Road and the completed 30-minute film was There is an Ocean.

He then moved to the BBC as an editor, cutting dramas and documentaries for two years. He went on to work with Pink Floyd, 10cc, Squeeze, Rainbow, Joe Cocker, Big Country, Wings, Paul Nicholas and Leo Sayer amongst others in the 70's. He concentrated on commercials and corporate videos throughout the 80s. He wrote and directed Regiment a documentary about the Royal Air Force's Infantry Regiment before he made the award-winning television documentary The Colours of Infinity, presented by Sir Arthur C. Clarke with music by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd in 1993. The Colours of Infinity has been broadcast in over fifty territories. It brought the Mandelbrot set and the subject of fractals to the attention of the general public for the first time. Following The Colours of Infinity Nigel wrote, produced and directed two broadcast documentaries: Is God a Number? This film explores the mystery of consciousness and the power of mathematics in describing the universe. And Clouds Are Not Spheres - the life and work of the maverick mathematician, Benoit Mandelbrot. He then made the feature film Remember a Day and recently completed Mandelbrot's World of Fractals, which he directed and presented for the National Science Foundation through Yale University. The acclaimed short comedy The Mysterious Michael A was written, directed and produced by Nigel in 2005: This film has been featured at 18 film festivals and at over a dozen film clubs worldwide. Nigel directed the documentary Brixton Beach and in 2007 a compilation of three of Nigel's science documentaries, and featuring a fractal chill-out film with David Gilmour's music, was released on DVD. His first book, Introducing Fractals was published by Icon in 2009. It traces the roots of fractal geometry and looks at the developments springing from this revolutionary new discipline from Zeno to calculus, through set theory and the maverick mathematicians who set the stage for the genius of fractal geometry, Benoit Mandelbrot. Text and graphics combine to offer the most accessible account of fractal geometry that any reader is likely to find. To quote J.A. Wheeler, protege of Niels Bohr and friend of Albert Einstein, 'No one will be considered scientifically literate tomorrow, who is not familiar with fractals.' This book is the ideal guide to that literacy. It is available in four languages and has sold over 16,000 copies. Nigel's second book based on The Colours of Infinity was published by Springer in 2010. The book is based on the film of the same name. The contributors to the film are joined in this comprehensive survey of the fractal theory and practice by some other leading experts in the field. The book features contributions from Arthur C. Clarke, Professor Benoit Mandelbrot, Professor Michael Barnsley, Gary Flake, David Pennock, Will Rood, Professor Ian Stewart and Nigel. The book includes an online link to the film. In the same year Nigel was interviewed on Conscious TV: Following the sad death of Benoit Mandelbrot, Nigel was invited to write obituaries for The Guardian and The Times. He also appeared on BBC Radio 4's Last Word, discussing Mandelbrot's life and work with Ian Stewart of Warwick University. Nothing and Everywhere is Nigel's first novel.
Since the publication of this novel several people have expressed the view that it would make a good film and would translate very well to the big (or even the small) screen so Nigel is now working on a screenplay version of the book. He has also started to write his second novel, Life is Just... This is not the often requested sequel to Nothing and Everywhere, but is something very different indeed.

Product Description


From the reviews of the second edition:

“The book contains nine chapters in all, with contributions from well-known figures such as Arthur C. Clarke, Benoit Mandelbrot, Ian Stewart and Michael Barnsley. … One good feature … is that rather than simply considering fractals from a theoretical point of view, an effort has been made to discuss practical applications of this interesting area of mathematics. For those who are new to the notion of fractals, this book might be worth considering … .” (Martin Griffiths, The Mathematical Gazette, Vol. 97 (539), July, 2013)

“A more up-to-date survey of the developments in the field of fractal geometry since the documentary was released. … this book provides an attractive advert for the mathematical study of fractals. Together with the corresponding documentary, it should inspire those encountering the subject for the first time to want to explore it more.” (David A. Croydon, Mathematical Reviews, January, 2013)

“This enhanced and expanded edition of the book features chapters written both by the leading experts in the field of fractal geometry and by the contributors to the film. … The book contains dozens of breath taking photographs, and the documentary … has been digitally re-mastered to include amazing new fractal animations. Both the book and the film provide plenty of useful facts about fractals in a very inspiring, delightful and aesthetically pleasant form. Warmly recommended!” (Svitlana P. Rogovchenko, Zentralblatt MATH, Vol. 1215, 2011)

From the Back Cover

The groundbreaking documentary accompanying this book (visit is presented by Arthur C Clarke with music by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd. Introduced fifteen years ago, this brought the subject of fractals to the attention of the general public for the first time; since then it has been shown in over fifty countries around the world.

Contributors to the film are joined by other leading experts in this latest edition of ‘The Colours of Infinity’, a comprehensive survey of fractal theory and practice. Incorporating an additional chapter on the money markets by the fractal master himself, Professor Benoit Mandelbrot, the documentary has also been re-mastered providing stunning new fractal animations. A must read for anyone with an interest in the ‘beauty and power of fractals’.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fractals for All 24 May 2011
The book is excellently illustrated and all that one could wish for in the discussion of fractals and the artistic patterns that can result from the exploration of them. In conjunction with "Fractal Domains" downloaded from the web, it provides an excellent introduction to both the science/mathematics as well as the art.
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