Friday, December 23, 2005

Painting spirit by numbers

matrix of multiples of four --- www. chryzode.org

Chryzode: Matrix of Multiples of Four

Mathematicians can find great beauty, even inspiration, in a mathematical formula. The greatest mathematician of antiquity, Pythagoras, was also a mystic.

Until recently I never could conceive how that was possible. Economics is supposed to be the dismal science, but I'd award the prize to math. A bunch of letters, numbers and signs -- pure essence of boredom.

Modern computing has changed the, er, equation. It's now possible to visualize mathematical ideas in color and simulated three dimensions. Wowie zowie!

Artistic view of 128 quaternionic Julia sets

Jean-Fran├žois Colonna: Artistic View of 128 Quaternionic Julia Sets

Or, check this out:

images of crystal growth based on simple cellular automaton rules with 8 nearest neighbors ---psoup.math.wisc.edu

Primordial Soup Kitchen: Images of Crystal Growth Based on Simple Cellular Automaton Rules With 8 Nearest Neighbors

Advanced mathematics, yes; but any old hippie of my generation will recognize it as the tribal folk art known as a God's Eye.

See the links for many more fascinating examples of computer-visualized mathematics.

The Web finally convinced me that computers were not inherently Satanic; the blogosphere made me a believer in online communities; and pictures like these suggest the truth of Arthur C. Clarke's famous aphorism: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

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