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RIP Benoît Mandelbrot

It has already made the internet rounds, but it seems appropriate, given his popular appeal, to remark on the passing of mathematician Benoît Mandelbrot. Mandelbrot, perhaps best well known for coining the term fractal (and for his related popular work on the subject), died last week at the age of 85.

Mandelbrot’s popularization of fractal geometry garnered him quite a bit of attention beginning in the 1980′s. There is even a fractal named after him, the so-called “Mandelbrot set,” which, like many fractals, is simple to generate, but looks complicated.

It’s no coincidence that popularity in fractals rose in step with advancing computer technology. Without computers to perform the tedious calculations necessary for fractal generation (and by extension, to output all the pretty pictures), the field received much less attention. Contrary to popular belief, though, Mandelbrot was not the first to consider these ideas – indeed, many properties of fractal . . . → Read More: RIP Benoît Mandelbrot