Benoit Mandlebrot and The Colours of Infinity

The Colours of Infinity is a wonderful title for any documentary so it is only right and proper that  the program itself lives up to the title.

I show parts of  it to Transition Years in an attempt to stimulate a sense of wonder for Mathematics. It by no means manages to undo the damage caused by their maths education up to this point, but it may just mitigate it somewhat. I have shown excerpts of it in the last couple of days to most of my students in all years, not because it’s Maths Week (or was that the week before?) but because the central character, a man by the name of Benoit Mandlebrot, died last Thursday. In each class the assigned homework was merely to go onto YouTube and watch as much of the rest of it as they could get away with.

I won’t try to explain what it’s about; what would be the point? By this stage you are either a fan of my recommendations or you’ve given up reading them. Either is cool. But if there’s only one extra-curricular maths program you ever watch in your life, make it this one.

Come to think of it, it should be mandatory for all Art students to watch it also; just one more example of the cross-over so beloved of our school inspectors.
Finally, if you have an iphone why not download some of the incredible images associated with fractals? Just do a search for ‘fractals’ in the app store.
In fact when entering the title into YouTube, the images alone from the page it brought up should be enough to entice you in.


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