Saturday, October 16, 2010

Benoit Mandelbrot, 1924-2010

I just read that mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot passed away yesterday. Mandelbrot is the father of Fractal Geometry, and his work is most popularly displayed in these "mandelbrot sets" that you see all over the internet. What seems like random shapes on the edges of these beautiful forms are actually just smaller, identical mandelbrot sets. You can infinitely zoom into an image like this and see the same pattern over and over again. From Wikipedia, "Fractal geometry is useful to accurately describe the development and resulting shape of many growth processes evident in nature, both organic and inorganic. Mandelbrot's work has changed the way researchers in many fields both perceive and characterize the phenomenon of natural growth."

Now, anyone who knows me, knows that math is not my forte - but I've always loved these images because they show that math can be artistic and beautiful. I think that showing stuff like this to young students sparks more curiousity in math. Benoit Mandelbrot applied his vast knowledge to nature, financial markets, and even cosmology. I appreciate the fact that he tried to apply math to solve real problems and to describe the inner-workings of complex phenomena.

Ok, tripsters... prepare to go whoa when you look at this video and remember that Benoit is the architect behind this awesome experience.

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