Geometry in a pan !!


Walking between the market benches and something, suddenly, strikes my curiosity.

'What a strange cauliflower!' I find myself exclaiming.

'It's not a cauliflower,' I'm correcting the ortolani, 'it's a Romanesque broccoli.'

I buy it, I take it home and then I realize I do not know how to cook it. Typing on a search engine the words "roman broccoli" convinced to find some tasty recipe. I am instead catapulted into a different world of math, strange geometric figures and formulas. So I find that what seemed like a banal vegetable was the key to reading a complex and revolutionary mathematical theory: that of fractals.

The term fractal is coined in 1975 by Benoit Mandelbrot, unfortunately recently disappeared, to describe some chaotic mathematical behaviors. It comes from the Latin fractus (broken, broken) and indicates a geometric object that is repeated in its structure alike on different scales. This means that if we look at our broccoli with a magnifying glass it does not change its appearance. Mandelbrot himself demonstrated that fractal geometry surrounds us more than we can imagine. From the crystals of snowflakes to the structure of our lungs, from ferns of fern to certain economic indices, the fractals describe with elegance and simplicity the incessant motion of life, the unlikely chaos that allows us to move forward.
The snowflake is studied as a fractal. A two-dimensional broccoli made of ever smaller triangles. Ferns also have fractal structure …… and even lungs, bronchi and bronchioles can be shaped as fractals A 'tree' generated by fractals

And so, from now on, when I cook a plate of pasta and broccoli I will not only do it to put something appetizing in my plate but it will be a way to celebrate the mind of a great mathematician.

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