Applications of Fractals
Some of the most amazing applications of fractals can be found in such distant areas as the shapes of bacteria cultures. A bacteria culture is all bacteria that originated from a single ancestor and are living in the same place. When a culture is growing, it spreads outwards in different directions from the place where the original organism was placed. Just like plants the spreading bacteria can branch and form patterns which turn out to be fractal. The spreading of bacteria can be modeled by fractals such as the diffusion fractals, because bacteria spread similarly to nonliving materials. Below is a computer simulation of a growing culture:
If you are familiar with fractals, you will probably bet money on the fact that the above picture is a fractal. You would be right, but we still need a real mathematical proof to be sure of that. The way to do it is quite simple – just place the culture on a piece of graph paper and count the number of occupied squares. This kind of data will let you calculate the fractal dimension of the culture using the box-counting method. In an example experiment performed by Tohey Matsuyama and Mitsugu Matsushita, the fractal dimension of a culture of Salmonella anatum was found to be about 1.77. The fact that the dimension is a fraction is enough to prove that the culture is a fractal.
Geometry in Biological Systems : An Analytical Approach
Philip M. Iannaccone(Editor), Mustafa Khokha (Editor)
Although extremely hard to read, this book is an excellent collection of the most exotic applications of fractals. The topics touched come from practically all areas of biology, from DNA structure to the heart rhythm.