R.I.P. Benoît Mandelbrot

Benoît Mandelbrot in 2010
Benoît Mandelbrot in 2010

The great mathematician Benoît Mandelbrot (Photo ©Steve Jurvetson) died at the age of almost 86. He died in a hospice in Cambridge, Massachusetts from a pancreatic cancer.

Mandelbrot was born on November 20, 1924 in Warsaw, Poland, but in 1936 his family moved to France where he obtained a Ph.D. in Mathematical Sciences at the University of Paris.

There’s an everlasting link between the name of Benoît Mandelbrot and the fractals, the mathematical structures he named in 1975. During the following years other mathematicians developed the concept of fractals but among the Julia sets, so called because they are based on the work of Gaston Julia, Mandelbrot developed one in particular which is known as Mandelbrot set.

Before Mandelbrot studies, the mathematical structures he called fractals were considered just a curiosity but he started to apply them in real cases discovering the common presence of fractal structures in nature from plants to galaxies. During the years various applications of fractals in finance have been found.

Mandelbrot set
Mandelbrot set (picture Wikimedia Commons)

At the beginning of his studies Benoît Mandelbrot was considered with skepticism but further studies from other mathematicians confirmed that he was right leading to a fundamental contribution to the chaos theory as well. Today various branches of science owe for the progress brought by this anti-conventional mathematician.

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