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Fractals, Graphics, and Mathematics Education

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Fractals, Graphics, and Mathematics Education
By Benoit Mandelbrot, Michael Frame

Catalog Code: NTE-58
Print Edition ISBN: 978-0-88385-169-2
204 pp., Paperbound, 2002
List Price: $49.95
Member Price: $39.95

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Fractal geometry is a relatively recent addition to the collection of mathematical tools for describing both natural and human-made structures and systems. Fractals are encountered not only in mathematics and the natural sciences but also in finance, art, music, and literature, where these structures often appear without being consciously included by their creators. Fractals interconnect the arts and the natural and social sciences in many fruitful ways, yet students are rarely exposed to anything like this in mathematics and science classes.

This book collects essays about fractal geometry’s role in mathematics and science education. In the first four chapters, the editors address general issues. The next twelve chapters are invited case studies authored by educators who began years ago to use fractal geometry in classes that range from second grade elementary school, through public and private high schools, to state universities and private colleges. Some contributors survey literature and software they have used, others present detailed sample lessons. The chapter for Florida Atlantic University reports on a program training teachers in Florida.

Many teachers developed fractals courses on their own in isolation from one another. This book is a token of how widespread such courses have become. The common themes that appear throughout mark the coming of age of this subject.

About the Authors

Benoît Mandelbrot coined the term "fractal" and his seminal work, The Fractal Geometry of Nature (1982), turned fractals into a respectable idea in mathematics. He was a Sterling Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Yale University and IBM Fellow Emeritus (Physics) at the T. J. Watson Research Center. Among his many awards are the 1993 Wolf Prize for Physics, The "Barnard, Franklin, Steinmetz and Richardson" Medals and the Caltech Distinguished Service award. He passed away in 2010 (Related: Fractal Geometry Pioneer Benoît Mandelbrot Dies at Age 85).

Michael Frame trained as a topologist at Tulane University. He became interested in fractal geometry in response to a quesiton from a student. He has taught at several schools, most recently Union College before moving to Yale University. With physicist David Peak, he is the author of Chaos Under Control: The Art and Science of Complexity, a text for humanities students.