Saturday, October 16, 2010

RIP Benoît Mandelbrot

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."

-Benoît Mandelbrot (November 20th, 1924 - October 14th, 2010)

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you are borrowing someone else's bandwidth when posting a picture hosted on their site, please at least link the picture to the page containing it, not to the picture itself. The actual page you borrowed this from is www.tooby.demon.co.uk/Log/DidYouKnow.html
which contains some interesting stuff about the Mandelbrot set.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

... and since your hyperlink system doesn't even go to the right place, try this in your browser:

http://www.tooby.demon.co.uk/Log/DidYouKnow.html

Anonymous said...

P.S. I should add that I did appreciate your post, and am sad that such a great man has passed away. But as you say, he has left a great legacy behind.

Anonymous said...

... and thank you for updating the link. Much appreciated.