Benoit Mandelbrot |

*A Tribute:*

Benoit Mandelbrot

Developer of fractal geometry dies at 85 in Mass.

The Associated Press

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Benoit Mandelbrot (ben-WAH’ MAN’-dul-braht), a well-known mathematician who was largely responsible for developing the field of fractal geometry, has died. He was 85.

His wife, Aliette, says he died Thursday of pancreatic cancer. He had lived in Cambridge, Mass.

The Polish-born French mathematician founded the field of fractal geometry, the first broad attempt to quantitatively investigate the notion of roughness. He was interested in both the development and application of fractals, which he also showed could be used elsewhere in nature.

For years, he worked for IBM in New York. Later he became Sterling Professor Emeritus of Mathematical Sciences at Yale University.

Mandelbrot also received honorary doctorates and served on boards of scientific journals.

He is survived by his wife, two sons and three grandchildren.

**>>> Courtesy Associated Press**** **** **** ***Benoit Mandelbrot***..he of fractal curves and chaos theory, roughness and fat tailed distribution passed recently away of pancreatic cancer in Cambridge, Massachussets. One of my personal heroes, what ****suives**** is my personal fewliners on this giant brain and his impact on our lives.**** ***A Brief History of the Man:*

Benoît B. Mandelbrot (he added the middle initial himself, though it does not stand for a middle name) was born on Nov. 20, 1924, to a Lithuanian Jewish family in Warsaw. In 1936 his family fled the Nazis, first to Paris and then to the south of France, where he tended horses and fixed tools.

After the war he enrolled in the École Polytechnique in Paris, where his sharp eye compensated for a lack of conventional education. His career soon spanned the Atlantic. He earned a master’s degree in aeronautics at the California Institute of Technology, returned to Paris for his doctorate in mathematics in 1952, then went on to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., for a postdoctoral degree under the mathematician John von Neumann.

After several years spent largely at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, Dr. Mandelbrot was hired by I.B.M. in 1958 to work at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. Although he worked frequently with academic researchers and served as a visiting professor at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, it was not until 1987 that he began to teach at Yale, where he earned tenure in 1999.

Dr. Mandelbrot received more than 15 honorary doctorates and served on the board of many scientific journals, as well as the Mandelbrot Foundation for Fractals. Instead of rigorously proving his insights in each field, he said he preferred to “stimulate the field by making bold and crazy conjectures” — and then move on before his claims had been verified. This habit earned him some skepticism in mathematical circles.

>>> Courtesy : http://www.nytimes.com

*A brief history of his work & legacy :*** **

Dr. Mandelbrot coined the term “fractal” to refer to a new class of mathematical shapes whose uneven contours could mimic the irregularities found in nature.

“Applied mathematics had been concentrating for a century on phenomena which were smooth, but many things were not like that: the more you blew them up with a microscope the more complexity you found,” said David Mumford, a professor of mathematics at Brown University. “He was one of the primary people who realized these were legitimate objects of study.”

In a seminal book, “The Fractal Geometry of Nature,”published in 1982, Dr. Mandelbrot defended mathematical objects that he said others had dismissed as “monstrous” and “pathological.” Using fractal geometry, he argued, the complex outlines of clouds and coastlines, once considered unmeasurable, could now “be approached in rigorous and vigorous quantitative fashion.”

For most of his career, Dr. Mandelbrot had a reputation as an outsider to the mathematical establishment. From his perch as a researcher for I.B.M. in New York, where he worked for decades before accepting a position at Yale University, he noticed patterns that other researchers may have overlooked in their own data, then often swooped in to collaborate.

“He knew everybody, with interests going off in every possible direction,” Professor Mumford said. “Every time he gave a talk, it was about something different.”

Dr. Mandelbrot traced his work on fractals to a question he first encountered as a young researcher: how long is the coast of Britain? The answer, he was surprised to discover, depends on how closely one looks. On a map an island may appear smooth, but zooming in will reveal jagged edges that add up to a longer coast. Zooming in further will reveal even more coastline.

“Here is a question, a staple of grade-school geometry that, if you think about it, is impossible,” Dr. Mandelbrot told The New York Times earlier this year in an interview. “The length of the coastline, in a sense, is infinite.”

In the 1950s, Dr. Mandelbrot proposed a simple but radical way to quantify the crookedness of such an object by assigning it a “fractal dimension,” an insight that has proved useful well beyond the field of cartography.

Over nearly seven decades, working with dozens of scientists, Dr. Mandelbrot contributed to the fields of geology, medicine, cosmology and engineering. He used the geometry of fractals to explain how galaxies cluster, how wheat prices change over time and how mammalian brains fold as they grow, among other phenomena.

His influence has also been felt within the field of geometry, where he was one of the first to use computer graphics to study mathematical objects like the Mandelbrot set, which was named in his honor.

“I decided to go into fields where mathematicians would never go because the problems were badly stated,” Dr. Mandelbrot said. “I have played a strange role that none of my students dare to take.”

>>> Courtesy : http://www.nytimes.com

*My respects to the man and his genius..RIP Benoit Madelbrot !!*** **** ***The Awesome Land Of Tor’BleDnaM :*** **** ****Plots and zooms essentially of the graph known as the Mandelbrot plot (And referred to often as the land of ..you guessed it..)**

Mandelbrot was a genius. I have read his work on Fractals. The first thing I experimented with in matlab was fractals. I think even a layman would say that math is beautiful after looking at awesome fractals.RIP Benoit.These two months have been very sad. First I lost my advisor, Fred Jelinek, who was a pioneer in the field of speech recognition. Now we have lost Benoit.