Mandelbrot, Benoît B. (1924–2010)
Benoît Mandelbrot was a Polishborn French/US mathematician, largely responsible for the present
interest in fractal geometry. A native of
Warsaw, he spent most of his early life in France. Mandelbrot was born into
a family with a strong academic tradition: his mother was a doctor and his
uncle, Szolem Mandelbrot, was a famous Parisian mathematician. His family
left Poland for Paris in the 1930s to escape Hitler's regime. There, Mandelbrot
was introduced to mathematics by his two uncles. Educated in France, he
developed the mathematics of Gaston Julia and began the (now common) graphing
of equations on a computer. Mandelbrot originated what is now known as fractal
geometry and the object known as the Mandelbrot
set is named after him. His work on fractals as a mathematician at IBM
earned him an Emeritus Fellowship at the Thomas J. Watson Research Laboratories.
In addition to his study of fractals in mathematics, he showed that fractals
can be found in many places in nature, leading to entire new fields of exploration
in chaos theory. He joined the faculty of
Yale in 1987.
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