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J.S. Best (Shepherd College)
The modern motivation for fractal geometry may best be summed up by this quote of Benoit Mandelbrot: ``Mountains are not cones, clouds are not spheres, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line.'' Fractals are, in simplest terms, ``objects which are (approximately) self-similar on all scales.'' The renewed modern interest in fractals has found as one of its applications the study of large-scale structure, giving a quantitative descriptive scheme to ideas that had been expressed qualitatively as early as the 1920s. This paper presents the preliminary results of an analysis of the structure of the Las Campanas Redshift Survey, or LCRS. LCRS is an approximately 26000 galaxy survey (surveyed as six declination slices) that has been studied extensively over the past few years, with an eye towards understanding large-scale structure. For this analysis, I have used the pointwise dimension, an easy-to-apply fractal statistic which has been previously used to study cluster interiors, galactic distributions, and cluster distributions. The present analysis has been performed to serve as a guide for the study of future large redshift surveys.
This research has been funded by National Science Foundation grant AST-9808608.