A big Keanu “Whoa” over these gorgeous 3D renderings of fractals. The article offers a fascinating back story about the 20-year quest to adequately display a Mandelbulb, such a 3D analog rendering of a Mandelbrot set.

The Unraveling of the Real 3D Mandelbrot

4 thoughts on “3D renderings of the Mandelbrot set

  1. I’d like to see someone have a go at 3D printing one of these “mandelbulbs.” I don’t know what you’d do with it, but it would be cool to look at!

    My memory sucks mostly, but I seem to remember seeing a “3D slice” of what someone called a 4D Mandelbrot set in a computing/math magazine from the 80’s. These renderings make me want to dig up the magazine and see if there were any details.

  2. It’s not the Mandlebrot set, or the 3D version of it. It’s another object, tuned to “look good”. As the author says himself in the article : “As exquisite as the detail is in our discovery, there’s good reason to believe that it isn’t the real McCoy.” No object with the complexity and self similarity at all levels of the Mandlebrot set has been found in 3D yet as far as I know but this one comes close.

    @pmjett : the Mandlebrot is in fact a 4D object. For each point of the 2D plane there is an associated 2D Julia set. The 2D Mandlebrot set we’re used to is defined as the set of points for which the Julia set is connected. Rendering of projections in 3D and 2D of the 4D object can be found in the tubes.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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