Sad news today -- Benoît Mandelbrot passed away on Thursday of pancreatic cancer. Everybody knows Mandelbrot for the stunning images of the fractal set that bears his name (see above). Mandelbrot's pioneering work in fractal geometry helped apply mathematical rules to a real world that is, inconveniently, not constructed of straight lines, circles, and cubes; however, he is best remembered for the warmth and passion he brought to his writing and teaching.
To many, his work -- which demonstrated that even the most complex phenomena in nature could be described by simple mathematical laws -- "brought order from chaos."
So if you don't know anything about the man or his contributions, take some time out of your day and read up. Or just check out the beauty of his work:
"The nature of fractals is meant to be gradually discovered by the reader, not revealed in a flash by the author.
And the art can be enjoyed for itself."