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Benoît Mandelbrot 1924-2010

October 17, 2010

 

Benoît Mandelbrot (courtesy of Rama via Wikimedia Commons)

Benoît Mandelbrot (courtesy of Rama via Wikimedia Commons)

It was sad to read late last night that Benoît Mandelbrot had just died.  He was an outstanding mathematician and the individual that coined the term ‘fractal’.   Obituaries can be found at the New York Times and the BBC.

 

 

A closer look into a Mandelbrot set

A closer look into a Mandelbrot set. (Courtesy of Dr. Wolfgang Beyer and reproduced from Wikimedia Commons).

 

Beside the fractal he is perhaps most famous for the Mandlebrot Set (see an image above), which of course has fractal geometry.  As a grad student, in the late ’80s and early ’90s, myself and a few others would run our computers in our spare time to generate Mandlebrot sets and we would zoom in and explore different regions.  This was outside our main research work but these images were so beautiful it was fun to explore the set by mathematically zooming in to different regions. Professionally I still work in nonlinear science and I was sad to hear of the passing of Mandlebrot.  His legacy to our understanding of the natural world and nonlinear science is considerable.  Here is a clip of a BBC documentary that explains some of what he helped us understand.

Here is the man himself talking earlier this year at a TED talk.

If you are wondering if there is a connection to amateur radio.  Well besides a better understanding of our natural world, Mandelbrot’s work gave us fractal antennas.

 

Fractal antenna (from a patent via Wikimedia Commons)

Fractal antenna (from a patent via Wikimedia Commons)

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