October 17, 2010 by staff 

Mandelbrot, Franco-American mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot died last Thursday at age 85 in Cambridge, United States, due to pancreatic cancer, as confirmed by his wife, Aliette, and collects the newspaper The New York Times. Mandelbrot is considered as the main responsible for the rise of the theory of fractals for the 1970 math concepts with applications in physics, biology or economics.

Mandelbrot coined the term fractal to define a new type of mathematical form, which could explain, for example, matching geometric patterns and irregularities in nature.

“Applied mathematics have paid more than a century simplified phenomena, but many things are not so, the more they are examined under a microscope, you discover more complex,” said the professor of mathematics at Brown University David Mumford. “It was one of the first who realized that these objects were legitimate study,” he said in reference to Mandelbrot.

In his most famous book, “The Fractal Geometry of Nature,” published in 1982, Mandelbrot argued mathematical objects defined by others as “monstrous” or “pathological” to explain the complexity of the coast and clouds using a Tool rigorous quantitative and powerful. ”

Despite the success of their studies Mandelbrot not fit well among the most renowned mathematicians and worked much of his life in New York as a researcher at IBM until he accepted a position at the Yale University.

His studies of fractals are based on a question that was asked when he began his research life: How long is the coast of Britain? The answer, he can check with surprise, depended on the proximity of the coast look. On a map of the island looks much more streamlined, but the approach from the standpoint of discovering new irregularities that increase its length.

That is the question a basic geometric problem, well thought out, is impossible, “Mandelbrot said in an interview with The New York Times this year.” The length of the coast is somehow infinite, they’re added.

In the 1950s Mandelbrot proposed a simple but radical quantify such an object given its “fractal dimension”, a view that has proved its value beyond the realm of cartography.

For nearly seven decades Mandelbrot worked with dozens of scientists and made contributions in fields such as geology, medicine, cosmology and engineering. Used fractal geometry to explain how galaxies are grouped, how the price of grain and how the mammalian brain is multiplied as it grows.

His influence is also fundamental in geometry, as it was among the first who used computer graphics to study mathematical objects such as the Mandelbrot set, named in his honor, the best known and studied sets fractals.


Benoit B. Mandelbrot – the B is the initial of his surname, but he himself put and does not make sense – was born November 20, 1924 in Warsaw, in the midst of a Jewish family of Lithuanian origin. In 1936 his family fled the country before the Nazi threat, first to Paris and southern France, where she raised horses and worked repairing tools.

After the war he entered the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, which offset the lack of formal schooling with his quick wit. His career soon led him to cross the Atlantic, and was interested in an internship in aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology, but returned to Paris for his doctorate in mathematics in 1952. He then moved to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton for postdoctoral studies with the mathematician John von Neumann.

After seven years at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris was hired by IBM in 1958 to work at the Research Center Thomas J. Watson of New York. Although he never abandoned his academic work and taught at Harvard and MIT, it was not until 1987 when he accepted a teaching position at Yale stable, where he was tenured in 1999.

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