Mandelbrot’s The Fractalist, Chapter 15: Postdoctoral Grand Tour Begins at MIT, 1953

Mandelbrot heads to MIT (images above from this MIT group), studies under a pioneer and namer of ‘cybernetics’ and continues on his quest to uncover and master a Keplerian field of study.

Best Quote(s)

“Cybernetics” was a word Wiener had just coined…”

Mandelbrot, Chapter 15 Location 2493

Mandelbrot’s definition of fractal and creation of the word as the systematic study of roughness is important to him, and it was something he explored diligently.

“… grammar is like the chemistry or algebra of language.”

Mandelbrot, Chapter 15 Location 2575

This is slipped in as a throw away line about language and Zipf, but it is an elegant way to think of how words are used.

“These two men were the only living proof that my Keplerian dream was not an idle one—that it was possible to put together and develop a new mathematical approach to a very old, very concrete problem that overlapped several disciplines.”

Mandelbrot, Chapter 15 Location 2499

In using Mandelbrot to explore good habits for achieving a goal – here he has set a Goal and identified two living benchmarks. It may be only two – but at least there is someone who has completed his objective!

Page by Page, Screen by Screen

2489

“I RECALLED THOSE WORDS Gaudeamus igitur, juvenes dum sumus—“ While we are young, let us rejoice.””

2493

Norbert Wiener, MIT, “… Cybernetics, or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. “Cybernetics” was a word Wiener had just coined, and the title defined that word as ranging from brains to telephone switchboards.”

2499

“These two men were the only living proof that my Keplerian dream was not an idle one—that it was possible to put together and develop a new mathematical approach to a very old, very concrete problem that overlapped several disciplines.”

2504

“His own account of early motivations was thrilling.”

2509

“To denote this goal before it was even partially fulfilled, he drew on a Greek word to coin “cybernetics.””

2520

“He wanted to “see over the fence” to engineering, biology, and social sciences—but not to narrowly defined economics.”

2533

“All those who knew Jerry can testify that in his “mental movie” he did not view himself as a creator but as a facilitator.”

2538

“He was not himself an accomplished scientist, but was endowed in an unusual way: he had a keen eye for full personal commitment (a large part of scientific value), a highly developed sense of noblesse oblige, and the ability to interact with everyone and get things done.”

“He simply knew how to run an organization without self-aggrandizement, with invisible bureaucracy, and with maximum respect for his charges—including many thoroughly spoiled brats.”

2548

“Northeast of what was Building 20, a neighborhood called East Cambridge is now filled with high-rise industrial labs and upscale housing—where I live.”

2575

“Zipf’s law was the basis of an important physics-like (thermodynamical) aspect of discourse, while grammar is like the chemistry or algebra of language.”

About flybrand1976

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1 Response to Mandelbrot’s The Fractalist, Chapter 15: Postdoctoral Grand Tour Begins at MIT, 1953

  1. Pingback: Mandelbrot Part 2: Chapters 8 – 20, “My Long and Meandering Education in Science and in Life” | Fred Lybrand

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