African Fractals: Modern Computing and Indigenous Design

African Fractals: Modern Computing and Indigenous Design

by Ron Eglash
     
 

Fractals are characterized by the repetition of similar patterns at ever-diminishing scales. Fractal geometry has emerged as one of the most exciting frontiers on the border between mathematics and information technology and can be seen in many of the swirling patterns produced by computer graphics. It has become a new tool for modeling in biology, geology, and other… See more details below

Overview

Fractals are characterized by the repetition of similar patterns at ever-diminishing scales. Fractal geometry has emerged as one of the most exciting frontiers on the border between mathematics and information technology and can be seen in many of the swirling patterns produced by computer graphics. It has become a new tool for modeling in biology, geology, and other natural sciences.

Anthropologists have observed that the patterns produced in different cultures can be characterized by specific design themes. In Europe and America, we often see cities laid out in a grid pattern of straight streets and right-angle corners. In contrast, traditional African settlements tend to use fractal structure--circles of circles of circular dwellings, rectangular walls enclosing ever-smaller rectangles, and streets in which broad avenues branch down to tiny footpaths with striking geometric repetition. These indigenous fractals are not limited to architecture; their recursive patterns echo throughout many disparate African designs and knowledge systems.

Drawing on interviews with African designers, artists, and scientists, Ron Eglash investigates fractals in African architecture, traditional hairstyling, textiles, sculpture, painting, carving, metalwork, religion, games, practical craft, quantitative technologies, and symbolic systems. He also examines the political and social implications of the existence of African fractal geometry. His book makes a unique contribution to the study of mathematics, African culture, anthropology, and computer simulations.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813526133
Publisher:
Rutgers University Press
Publication date:
03/01/1999
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x (d)
Age Range:
15 - 17 Years

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Pt. IIntroduction
Ch. 1Introduction to fractal geometry3
Ch. 2Fractals in African settlement architecture20
Ch. 3Fractals in cross-cultural comparison39
Ch. 4Intention and invention in design49
Pt. IIAfrican fractal mathematics
Ch. 5Geometric algorithms61
Ch. 6Scaling71
Ch. 7Numeric systems86
Ch. 8Recursion109
Ch. 9Infinity147
Ch. 10Complexity151
Pt. IIIImplications
Ch. 11Theoretical frameworks in cultural studies of knowledge179
Ch. 12The politics of African fractals192
Ch. 13Fractals in the European history of mathematics203
Ch. 14Futures for African fractals216
AppMeasuring the fractal dimension of African settlement architecture231
Notes235
References243
Index253

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