Benoît Mandelbrot

Mandelbrot

(From the Guardian): Benoît Mandelbrot, who has died of pancreatic cancer aged 85, enjoyed the rare distinction of having his name applied to a feature of mathematics that has become part of everyday life – the Mandelbrot set. Both a French and an American citizen, though born in Poland, he had a visionary, maverick approach, harnessing computer power to develop a geometry that mirrors the complexity of the natural world, with applications in many practical fields.

At the start of his groundbreaking work, The Fractal Geometry of Nature, he asks: “Why is geometry often described as cold and dry? One reason lies in its inability to describe the shape of a cloud, a mountain, a coastline or a tree.” The fractal geometry that he developed helps us to describe nature as we actually see it, and so expand our way of thinking.

 

Fractal

Fractal detail

 

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