Science Tattoo Friday: Chaos And Order Battle For Aaron’s Back

By Carl Zimmer | October 12, 2007 1:01 am

Julia%20Tattoo%20500.jpg

It is an approximation of the locus of connectedness for the Julia sets of the family of functions f(z) = z^2 + lambda/(z^2) (rotated by pi/2). This is analogous to the standard Mandelbrot set (which applies to the family f(z) = z^2 + c), but holds additional fascination because for lambda values which are in the interior of one of the subdomains of the connectedness locus, the Julia set is a Universal Curve. To me this represents the structure unifying chaos (since Julia sets are chaotic) and order (since Universal Curves act as a sort of catalog of all planar curves).–Aaron

The tattoos keep coming, and so do the visitors. So far over 212,000 visitors have come to the Flickr set alone, which doesn’t count the post that started it all.

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Comments (4)

  1. Mike from Ottawa

    There’s lots of scope for cool science tattoos to be found in fractals.

  2. What kind of tattoo is this? Does it have a meaning? I don’t understand any of this!!!

  3. Dan Look

    It does have a meaning….I am the second author on this paper (http://myslu.stlawu.edu/~dlook/Papers/sierp-symbolic.pdf) which, I believe, is the first paper with this image.

  4. Bob Devaney

    And since Dan Look has written many other papers about this family of rational maps, that’s why everyone I know think that this is Dan’s tattoo, not Aaron’s. ‘Fess up, Dan…

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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.

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