1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Fractal geometry and physics

  1. Aug 20, 2009 #1
    does fractal geometry when applied to physics state that no matter how far you zoom in on something you never reach a fundamental discrete or quantized level? someone told me that a while ago and I am now currently interested in fractals and their application with nature.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 20, 2009 #2
    It's a fact that when you zoom in on things you will find quantized behaviors, therefore you can't continuously extend fractal patterns. What did you think, that the pattern repetition in a fern plant would keep going all way way down to the makeup of atoms?
  4. Aug 20, 2009 #3
    no I was just wondering if it was possible that things never became discrete and you could keep forever zooming in whether fractal patterns were present or not.
  5. Aug 23, 2009 #4
    I don't understand the meaning of "never become discrete." It has been known for about 200 years that matter is made of parts assembled together. The molecule is the smallest unit of a chemical compound that has the properties of that substance.
  6. Aug 23, 2009 #5
    If you keep zooming without loosing anything, this would lead to too many wrong phenomena in physics. The most critical phenomenon I thought of is that the density of all materials will be the same, and will be veryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy huge that everything will collapse to a blackhole :P.

    Rutherford has proven that most of the matter is vacuum (review Rutherford's experiment), and from there people started to think how they can form huge objects like we live with from small units that share a lot with vacuum. The only solution was "atoms", where every few charges group together with their masses to form the very first unit of building everything. With the advantages of this unit we can build everything.

    Actually this isn't seen only in microscopic behavior, but also in macroscopic behavior. If you review the big bang and check its results, you'll see that stars haven't gone alone, but created clusters of mass, namely galaxies.

    A FACT WE DON'T UNDERSTAND AND WE'LL NEVER UNDERSTAND: EVERYTHING likes to be together, nothing likes to be alone ;)

    I hope this answers your question :)
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2009
  7. Mar 4, 2011 #6
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think we can say that we have found an absolute smallest unit of matter, so whether or not the universe is fractal is an open question. As we go up in scales it certainly seems possible that our universe is just a particle in a much larger structure, and this pattern could repeat forever. I suspect fractals are telling us something deep about our universe that we haven't yet fully wrapped our minds around. Perhaps there is a fractal "scale invariance" principle that hasn't been discovered yet, analogous to relativistic invariance, such that the laws of physics are the same on all scales?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook