Most helpful positive review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
BIRTH OF A NEW PARADIGM
on 5 March 2015
"Why is geometry often described as "cold" and "dry"? One reason lies in its inability to describe the shape of a cloud, a mountain, a coastline, or a tree. Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line."
- Benoit B. Mandlebrot, from the Introduction.
This book is the manifesto that kick-started a whole new paradigm or way of looking at the world. It freed us from the tyranny of straight lines and perfect spheres and the whole gamut of smoothness.
How long is the coastline of Britain? This question cannot be satisfactorily answered by ruler and compass methods of measurement. Mandlebrot came up with something much more profound and yet universal. A theory of scaling that was unsuspected - beautifully revealed with the onset of computer graphics.
Nature is messy and ragged and jagged. Things do not flow smoothly and uniformly. Laminar flow usually takes place in the minds of physicists and only infrequently in practice. Nature retains Her "lofty aloofness" (As Einstein put it) to these trivial approaches at wooing Her. So something more subtle was required. Mandlebrot found that something, or gateway, to understanding Nature, with fractals.
And then the door began to open. And it's still in the process of opening even today at this late hour.