Benoit Mandelbrot Passes Away…

Drawing of Benoit Mandelbrot

"Think of color, pitch, loudness, heaviness, and hotness. Each is the topic of a branch of physics."

Drawing seen on

…into history.


Benoit Mandelbrot, the father of fractal geometry, has died at the age of 85, the AFP reports. The French-American mathematician discovered mathematical shapes called "fractals," and developed a geometry that was used to analyze naturally occurring shapes that were previously thought unmeasurable.


Mandelbrot was born in Poland in 1924. He and his family immigrated to France in 1936 to escape the Nazi regime. According to the Times obituary, he had more than 15 honorary doctorates and was on the board of a multitude of scientific journals. In 1987, he began teaching at Yale, where he was a Sterling Professor Emeritus. In 1993 he won the Wolf Prize for Physics and in 2003 he was awarded the Japan Prize for Science and Technology, the AFP reported.

 Benoit Mandelbrot and Family

"For much of my life there was no place where the things I wanted to investigate were of interest to anyone."

Photograph seen on

Benoit Mandelbrot at the Blackboard 

"The existence of these patterns [fractals] challenges us to study forms that Euclid leaves aside as being formless, to investigate the morphology of the amorphous. Mathematicians have disdained this challenge, however, and have increasingly chosen to flee from nature by devising theories unrelated to anything we can see or feel."

Photograph seen on

Caricature of Benoit Mandelbrot 

"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. Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line… Nature exhibits not simply a higher degree but an altogether different level of complexity."

Drawing seen on Caricatures of Computer Graphics Researchers.

Benoit Mandelbrot at MIT in 2006. 

"…science is cumulative and art is not."

Photograph seen on Blacklog.

Thanks for the memories — and for all the fractals — both those that are — and those that are to come.


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One thought on “Benoit Mandelbrot Passes Away…

  1. Dear Benoit,
    please go on with your studies, your fractals, your infinite geometry, anywhere you are! But where is the “anywhere”? May it be within a Mandelbrot?
    Thanks, Benoit.

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