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Why do cauliflowers look so odd? We've cracked the maths behind their 'fractal' shape

By Etienne Farcot, Assistant professor of Mathematics, University of Nottingham
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Have you ever stared at a cauliflower before preparing it and got lost in its stunningly beautiful pattern? Probably not, if you are in your right mind, but I reassure you it’s worth a try. What you’ll find is that what at first sight looks like an amorphous blob has a striking regularity.

If you take a good look, you will see that the many florets look alike and are composed of miniature versions of themselves. In maths, we call this property self-similarity, which is a defining feature of abstract geometrical objects called…


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