NB: I’m unable to verify the mathematical claims made in this piece but research is ongoing and according to Jason, is due to be published shortly. Watch this space.

Jason Padgett is currently purported to be the only person in the world who can accurately draw fractals by hand which are mathematically correct. You are probably familiar with computer generated fractals such as the interactive one below but creating them by hand is a different task entirely.

A number of years ago Jason received a brain injury from a severe blow to the back of the head in a mugging. As a direct result of this Jason acquired a form of synaesthesia in which fractals can be seen in every part of the world. What is astounding about Jason is that he claims to be able to apply this insight to his number sense and draw mathematical phenomena in a completely unique way.

Jason has very kindly given permission for me to reproduce some of his works below. The drawings are without doubt strangely compelling. I should note here  that I’m not a mathematician and seeing as there is absurdly little debate of Jason’s work on-line I’d advise you to take this with a “pinch of salt”. I’d be fascinated to see some academic debate on the theory behind the concepts presented here.

All images remain copyrighted (©JasonPadgett, 2011). Copies of his work are available from fineartamerica.com.

E equals MC2 crunch630 Jason Padgett: The Fractal Maker

Fusionfractal crunch630 Jason Padgett: The Fractal Maker

red fractal crunch630 Jason Padgett: The Fractal Maker

Quantum hand630 Jason Padgett: The Fractal Maker

Tungsten Black Hole crunch630 Jason Padgett: The Fractal Maker

Inverted Energy crunch630 Jason Padgett: The Fractal Maker

Inverted Pi crunch630 Jason Padgett: The Fractal Maker

Refraction of light: A depiction of how light would refract if it were to pass through two small slots in a board, continuously interfering with itself

double split crunch630 Jason Padgett: The Fractal MakerQuantum Snow Flake: A naturally occurring ripple of water, drawn at a quantum level as if frozen in time, if you were to record water in extremely slow motion, this is the basis for the shape you would see and this is why it looks like a snow flake.

Quantum Snowflake crunch630 Jason Padgett: The Fractal Maker

Quantum sea shell / nautilus:

quantum sea shell crunch630 Jason Padgett: The Fractal Maker

Compare Jason’s protractor-and-compass version of Nautilus with the famous CGI nautilus illustrated below:

nautilus1 Jason Padgett: The Fractal MakerNow compare these with a real life sea dwelling Nautilus…

NAUTILUS HALVES Jason Padgett: The Fractal Maker…and now, just for fun, with the interpretation of another inspired artist, Josephine wall (©JosephineWall, 2011):

Josephine Wall Nautilus630 Jason Padgett: The Fractal Maker

All images by Jason remain copyrighted (©JasonPadgett, 2011). Copies of his work are available from fineartamerica.com.

I’ll hopefully be doing another post on Jason with more of his amazing work in the not too distant future. Subscribe using one of the links on the right for updates.

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  • Kate Melville

    Something about the Nautilus fractal reminded me of this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSKyHmjyrkA
    which I thought you might like…

    • http://neurobonkers.com Neurobonkers

      Love it!

      • John Eli

        Totally cool! Strandbeest’s

  • jamougha

    I think you’ve been had. The only references I find to this guy are the website where he sells his ‘art’ and Fox news. I find one reference to a fractal fusion reactor and it’s crude pseudoscience. The physics claims don’t make any sense to me.

    • http://neurobonkers.com Neurobonkers

      I must admit, I am startled by the lack of debate online on the ideas he’s proposed but I’d be equally hesitant to shoot down his ideas without due discussion. Jason is in a rather unique position of acquiring a new perception that he is trying to apply scientifically without any prior experience in the area, he’s only recently begun studying mathematics so it’ll probably take some time before he can present his ideas in a way that can be properly understood. After all, we now all agree without doubt that Galileo had it right but the society of his time certaintly didn’t do him the same service.

      He’s presented a partial explanation of his ideas on his blog. I’d recommend you debate with him directly there, if that’s not possible for whatever reason feel free to go ahead and discuss the ideas here along with whoever else is interested and I’ll point him here. He is certainly more than keen to discuss his work.

    • Colleen Renz

      This young man is up and coming. There already have been several articles about his condition and abilities. He is currently in Sweden trying to help doctors understand his condition by undergoing an onslaught of testing on his brain. He has also lended a hand to the Boston 5D dome.
      No need for you to slam the guy. He is a better person than he is a fractal illistrator. He is trying to show the world his ideas. Nothing more.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rVL6ZSIRbA John Eli

      Here is a great explaination of Pi and it is mathematically perfect. I study math and checked it myself. Its pretty cool to see it drawn out.

    • Anonymous

      look – no one has been “had”, but to equate these spirograph images with images generated from fractal algorithms is absurd.

      these are nice drawings if you’re into this kind of thing…they are nowhere near as complex as even a simple fractal.

      maybe his best work is elsewhere?

      • Anon

        Came expecting Mandelbrot plot, got nautilus with baby in it.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rVL6ZSIRbA John Eli

    Here is a link to a time lapse of him drawing Pi as it expands towards a circle.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rVL6ZSIRbA John Eli

    Just found this site (St. Louis Synesthesia Research Team) and emailed them. He is the lead subject for a group of neuro-scientists studying Synesthesia and Savant Syndrome around the world. He just spoke at Aula Magnus Hall in May (that is where they give out Nobel Prizes) and they have done a slew of medical testing from top brain scientists from America and Finland and will be publishing their results in the next month or so. Seems very legit to me. I sure as heck couldn’t draw those fractals 🙂 But I did understand Pi and I saw his Pi Proof on his facebook page and it is sound. Hope this helps.

  • Pingback: Crazy Friday Science: Man Hit in Skull During Robbery, Now He Can Draw Fractals by Hand | Jim On Light

  • Lidell Simpson

    To jamouga. What Jason has is very real! Nothing fake about him. I personally know the author who is currently writing a book about him and his Acquired Savant Syndrome. He is explaining the physics metaphorically. I think his drawing represent well an aspect of the quantum universe.

  • catallaxdeville

    there’s no call to equate these drawings with fractals. these are spirograph drawings and don’t require any special abilities, frankly, beyond patience.

    they’re interesting for 3 seconds.

    • John Eli

      Everything that moves in the universe is following ‘spirographic’ like paths. If you have a tracer of light left behind where ever you travel and you look at yourself (the pathway you travel through space time) you see that as the tracer that represents your motion is making a little circle as the earth revolves around the sun and as that circle is being drawn the earth rotates around the sun and the sun moves as it rotates around the galaxy etc. Everything is following these specific geometric patterns. These drawings represent that. If the earth were to speed up as it revolved around the sun then the shape of the ‘spirograph’ like path would change. I am quite impressed. The part about Pi is the most amazing. His way of defining Pi descrbes fractal dimension (the texture of reality, ie. the smoothness). As Pi’s value grows, it is desribing a smoother and smoother edge. So when you pick a certain value of Pi (ie. the number of sides to ‘circle’) you get a specific texture (or slope on the edge of the “circle”…remember that “perfect” circles don’t exist) and this texture or fractal dimension describes area, arc length, circumference etc with less error than ever before. Mathematically, it is rock solid.

      • Yan

        Hi John Eli,

        I am just curious as to what your credentials are for saying that the math in his Pi video is “rock solid”?

        I have a degree in physics and to me, all of this seems like nonsense, especially that E=MC^2 quantum cube drawing.

        Anyways, I quote you “as Pi’s value grows….” do you know what Pi is? Pi is a constant of nature, it cant “grow”. And what makes you think there are no “perfect circles”?

        I dont mean to come off as rude, but I just want to know what is going through some of your minds.

        • John Eli

          Here is a link to a shape approaching Pi that will help you understand. It is a drawing of f(360) in the equation f(x)= xsin(180/x) in degrees or f(x)=xsin(Pi/x). The area in the drawing is 3.141552779 and as x grows larger you forever get a slightly larger value as you fill in the edge of the n-sided polygon (or as it gets smoother). But just as limits in Calculus states you approach Pi or approach a perfect circle but you never reach it. Just like derivatives and the secant approaching the tangent problem they use to describe derivatives. You cannot enter infinity into your ti-84 or any other computer, you can only keep counting higher and approach closer and closer. Put it in your graphing calculator and see for yourself. It really works and is verifiable.


  • Miranda3720

    I think someone took too much LSD.

  • bib993

    These are not fractals. Jason Padgett registered to fractalforums.com a while ago and quickly left and deleted all his messages after he realized he was not able to prove anything in front of the experts. His case is very interesting from a medical research perspective and he is certainly a very personable gentleman, but calling him a genius because he draws spirographs by hand and calls them fractals is wrong. It is sad that some newspaper made their headlines on this topic without doing a minimum of prior research.

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