The fractals have more and more applications in the science.
The main reason is that they describe very often better the real world
than traditional mathematics and physics.
Some example are presented in this page.
Fractals will maybe revolutionize the
way to see the universe (ref.1 and ref.3). Cosmologists usually
assume that matter is spread uniformly across space. But observation shows
this is not true. Astronomers agree with that fact on "small" scales, but
most of them think that the universe is smooth at very large scales. However,
a dissident group of scientists claims that the structure of the universe
is fractal at all scales. If this new theory is proved to be correct, even
the big bang models should be adapted. But at present, cosmologists need
more data about the matter distribution in the universe to prove (or not)
that we are living in a fractal universe. More on the debate is here.
Actually, the most useful use of fractals
in computer science is the fractal image compression. This kind of compression
uses the fact that the real world is well described by fractal geometry.
By this way, images are compressed much more than by usual ways (eg: JPEG
or GIF file formats). An other advantage of fractal compression is that
when the picture is enlarged, there is no pixelisation. The picture seems
very often better when its size is increased.
The study of turbulence in flows is
very adapted to fractals. Turbulent flows are chaotic and very difficult
to model correctly. A fractal representation of them helps engineers and
physicists to better understand complex flows.
Flames can also be simulated.
Porous media have a very complex geometry
and are well represented by fractal. This is actually used in petroleum
A new application is fractal-shaped
antennae that reduce greatly the size and the weight of the antennas (ref.1).
Fractenna is the company
which sells these anteennae.
Fractals are used to describe the roughness
of surfaces. A rough surface is characterized by a combination of two different
Biosensor interactions can be studied by using fractals.
1. "Fractured Universe", New scientist, 21 August
2. "Aerial magic", May Mike, New scientist, 31 January
3. "Is the universe a fractal?", New scientist, 9 March 2007