Benoit Mandelbrot

(1924-2010) Légion d'honneur | Yale University, United States


Benoit Mandelbrot is widely regarded as one of the most impactful mathematicians of all time, recognized for his contribution to the field of fractal geometry, which included coining the word "fractal", as well as developing a theory of "roughness and self-similarity" in nature. He was one of the first to use computer graphics to create and display fractal geometric images, leading to his discovery of the Mandelbrot set in 1980. He showed how visual complexity can be created from simple rules, and he claimed that things typically considered to be "rough", a "mess", or "chaotic", such as clouds or shorelines, actually had a "degree of order". His math and geometry-centered research included contributions to such fields as statistical physics, meteorology, hydrology, geomorphology, anatomy, taxonomy, neurology, linguistics, information technology, computer graphics, economics, geology, medicine, physical cosmology, engineering, chaos theory, econophysics, metallurgy, and the social sciences.

Mandelbrot's awards include the Wolf Prize for Physics in 1993, the Lewis Fry Richardson Prize of the European Geophysical Society in 2000, the Japan Prize in 2003, and the Einstein Lectureship of the American Mathematical Society in 2006.

Photo by Rama - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.0 fr

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