Benoit Mandelbrot 1924 – 2010

mandelbrot Sadly, Benoit Mandelbrot, Fractal Geometrist and father of infinities, has died.

Lately, Mandelbrot had been doing interesting work in economics and the dynamics of markets. But before that…

As they say, no man is a Julia Island.

Funeral tones indeed.

More links to deeper levels of information, and further obituaries, on Mandelbrot as they come out. One question is, what does the graph of the spread of the news of his death really look like? RIP…

  1. “He used the geometry of fractals to explain how galaxies cluster, how wheat prices change over time and how mammalian brains fold as they grow, among other phenomena.” – NYTimes
  2. “From 1951 onward, Mandelbrot worked on problems and published papers not only in mathematics but in applied fields such as information theory, economics, and fluid dynamics. He became convinced that two key themes, fat tails and self-similar structure, ran through a multitude of problems encountered in those fields. Mandelbrot found that price changes in financial markets did not follow a Gaussian distribution, but rather Lévy stable distributions having theoretically infinite variance. He found, for example, that cotton prices followed a Lévy stable distribution with parameter α equal to 1.7 rather than 2 as in a Gaussian distribution. Stable distributions have the property that the sum of many instances of a random variable follows the same distribution but with a larger scale parameter.” – Wikipedia
  3. The Mandelbrot Set, and graphs.
  4. Sarkozy(?!) on Mandelbrot and information theory(!?) – [via bbc] “Mandelbrot was also highly critical of the world banking system, arguing the economic model it used was unable to cope with its own complexity. In a statement, French President Nicolas Sarkozy praised Mandelbrot for his “powerful, original mind that never shied away from innovation and battering preconceived ideas. His work, which was entirely developed outside the main research channels, led to a modern information theory,” he said.” – [bbc]
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