It feels like looking into one of those magical photographs a la Harry Potter. Well, even if these were not ‘magic’ in the real sense of the word, they are no less magical, says noted professor of mathematics Michael F. Barnsley, showing some animated still pictures on his tablet.
Talking about some of his latest works in mathematics, he terms the pictures as the result of “fractal homeomorphism” that is perhaps on the threshold of yet another revolution in the digital world. Along with 3D printing, it could create a revolution in design, said Prof. Barnsley from the Australian National University, who has to his credit a number of discoveries in modern mathematics, a Barnsley Fern being one of his earliest creations in what is know as fractals.
In Kochi as a guest faculty member at the International Conference and Workshop on Fractals and Wavelets, Prof. Barnsley is showing in public for the first time his fractal bowl which is part of his concept of homeomorphism.
Working very early on geometrical patterns, Prof. Barnsley had independently discovered, what in modern mathematics is called Mandelbrot Sets, after Benoit Mandlebrot in 1980 had given a visual image of infinity.
“I’m more of a geometrical thinker than an algorithmic thinker and that perhaps brought me in touch with Mitchell Feignebaum, from whom I grasped much about the chaotic system of nature”. He was a pioneering mathematical physicist who has to his name a mathematical constant while he made a study of what is termed as chaos in mathematics.
Prof. Barnsley has created a Chaos Game — which he says is a surprising way of making a picture. He has named it a ‘game’ so that it does not sound threatening, he said.