Just come across and watched this incredible film from 1994 on the discovery of the Mandelbrot set and fractal geometry.
As Arthur C Clarke explains in this film, we could never discover the equation until the creation of computing technology because of the millions of iterations that are needed to construct the set. Interviews with Stephen Hawking and Mandelbrot himself are incredible and a Pink Floyd soundtrack to set it all off too!
The fractal nature of everything is something that has always fascinated me – not just the wonderfully satisfying and aesthetically pleasing images but the whole notion of recurring complex patterns extending infinitely. The basic notion of complexity theory – that interesting things happen where order and chaos meet – seems somehow bound up in this too. I have the intuition that profound philosphical understandings will eventually spring from this work.
The OpenCulture website is a great collection of free resources of really interesting material and definitely worth checking out for some real classics.