September 15, 2020
In 2019, Stamps and UMSI Professor Ron Eglash flew to Ethiopia and Ghana to be filmed for Enslaved, a six-episode documentary series produced by and starring Samuel Jackson. Exploring 400 years of human trafficking from Africa to the New World, the interview with Eglash is featured in episode five, where he discusses fractal structures in a 1,000 year old Ethiopia church, modern African textiles and other designs, and demos fractal simulation tools that were developed at UMSI.
According to Eglash, a fractal is a pattern that repeats itself at different scales. It is ideal for modeling nature: a tree is a branch of a branch of a branch; mountains are peaks within peaks; clouds are puffs of puffs, and so on. But modern computer scientists aren’t the only ones to use fractals: Africans have been using them for centuries to design textiles, sculptures, architecture, hairstyles and more. In his website hosted by U-M , youth can learn how fractal geometry is used in computing and science, and how to use these African “heritage algorithms” in simulating traditional designs and creating their own fractal innovations.
Enslaved premieres Monday, September 14 at 10 P.M. ET/PT. Learn more.