Benoît B. Mandelbrot, a maverick mathematician who developed an innovative theory of roughness and applied it to physics, biology, finance and many other fields, died on Thursday in Cambridge, Mass. He was 85.

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.

And the fractal of all this? We’re all going to die! Damn, I seriously wanted to meet this guy.

  1. r_and_om says:

    I wanted to meet him too!~
    what a genius, I’ve only begun to delve into what all his work actually was (after spending years just thinking fractals were “trippy”)
    i found this story only shortly before you posted it, odd there was a two day delay in the story breaking.
    What peace he must have experienced, understanding the nature of the universe in such an intimate/practical way.
    The world is far better off, him having been in it.
    everyone keep riding the spiral.

  2. deowll says:

    So maybe you will and maybe you won’t. Reality is but anybody that thinks we humans understand more than vague shadow of what is, is ignorant beyond the power of mere words to express it.

  3. soundwash says:

    NooooOOoOOOOOoOo.. this guy was awesome.

    This is the guy responsible for my love of science.

    the simplicity of fractals are core to the universal design, killer compression algorithms, memory, holograms…everything.

    its all very easy to grasp and understand once you dump all the garbage you were programmed with in academia.

    -and nothing beats the efficiency of a fractal antenna. (used esp in multiband bluetooth cell phones and the like) -they are easy to make and esp good at dealing with the multipath issues of digital signal reception.

    his Fractal Geometry of Nature Book is a great read..get it.

    farewell Benoit, -thanks for opening my mind.


  4. sargasso_c says:

    The guy had an awesome surname.

  5. soundwash says:

    ps…the Mandelbrot set is one of the few cases where the use of math did not result in a another fantasy/theory as fact crusade that has completely destroyed modern science, (by design) -similar to how Newton and Einstein’s quackery has kept us in a modern dark age. (who’s work btw, i once greatly admired)

    All our science has been reduced to political fraud in the same manner that the entire history of humanity we have been taught is a complete fraud.

    The fraud behind the AGW issue did not even scratch the surface of how deep this wholesale fraud runs.

    do yourself research and learn the truth for yourself


  6. Zybch says:

    I guess Johnathan Coulton will have to change the lyrics to one of his songs now.

  7. The0ne says:

    I got into this whole fractal business when I got my Amiga500 in 1985. Love the math but especially love all the swirls and patterns hehehe

    A neighbor friend and I even went as far as to have his work motivate us do our science projects (7th or 8th grade I beleive) in the math field, proving/disproving mathematical formulas. It’s not what most of you might think of math for 7th/8th graders. That’s when I got into photovoltaic research trying to come up with new formulas and such. Good times.

    I wish I met him too. One of the few that I would actually like to meet. I’ve already met Darwin’s great great grandson (sorry, don’t know how many greats it is now! hahaha and took a photo with him 🙂 That was one of the greatest moments in my life.

  8. Stiffie says:

    A true innovator, opened up math mysteries of the world (and such cool graphic results and maybe even philosophical ones, too).

    We dig you,

  9. bobbo, we think with words, and flower with ideas. says:

    Don’t you meet “him” when you work with a Mandelbrot Equation?

    People are so totally separate from their ideas.

    Thats a good thing to learn early in life and use thereafter.

  10. Paul says:

    I hope that in the thereafter he finds many fractal forms in the higher planes. May “Heaven” be his delight! Rest in peace, good sir.

  11. MikeN says:

    I’ve met him, and at the talk he gave, we laughed later about he tried to take credit for the Sierpinski triangle.

  12. The Dude says:

    JCD, what makes you think he would consider meeting you?

  13. msbpodcast says:

    Damn. There went one of the finest minds of this or any other century.

    I rank him with Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe (in architecture), R. Buckminster Fuller (in design), Albert Einstein (in physics) and, considering how he re-imagined mathematics for me, Isaac Newton.

    The iterative nature of nature was revealed by and through his mind’s eye.

    Bonne nuit Benoit, et merci. Tu ne sera pas vite oublié.

  14. The0ne says:

    Obviously not the same. You of all should know or even consider it beforehand. But hey, whatever floats your boat like always.

  15. pcsmith says:

    The Mandelbrot set is simple but elegant. n=n+1. Better than this pos compuer

  16. GreatAmerican says:

    #9 You’ve just explained a lot about how you regard other “silly hoomans” as you put it. Such a deliciously Protestant notion you put forward of “you are what you do”.

    Silly Hooman!

  17. bobbo, just tilting at Windmills says:

    Ha, ha. Great American: I did just the opposite warranting you the more direct:

    Stoopid Human.

  18. MikeN says:

    You are what your record says you are. – Bill Parcells

  19. BuzzMega says:

    How infinitely sad.

  20. Skeptic says:

    Actually, he was 85.8876712 years old… and that’s a fract. November 20, 1924 – October 14, 2010.

  21. fracthell says:

    Well I almost met elvis one time but my shovel
    broke. Death the great equalizer!

    Mandelbrot brought a great deal of beauty to
    our computer screens. He will be missed.

  22. bobbo, if I was a snarkey sort I could have says:

    fracthell–good one. Yea, what happens when the SuperRich actually do start living longer? Nice to spin that one out a while.

  23. clancys_daddy says:

    Sounds like soundwash is off his meds again.

  24. MrQuiggles says:

    Not to be pedantic, but I think an actual -Mandelbrot- fractal would have been more appropriate for the post image…

  25. Somebody says:

    “We’re all going to die!”

    Ray Kurzweil isn’t going to.

    The only thing I’m sure about the future is that I won’t see most of it.

    But hey, if it is a fractal and looks the same at any given scale….


Bad Behavior has blocked 12345 access attempts in the last 7 days.