Category Archives: Mandelbrot

Benoit Mandelbrot’s The Fractalist: Chapter by Chapter, Page by Page Review of an Excellent Autobiography

Mandelbrot’s breadth of work, language skills, and clarity make his autobiography a pleasure to read. Highlighting my favorite sentence on a page was my first step in an effort to improve my own writing. This led to page by page, … Continue reading

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Mandelbrot’s The Fractalist, Part 3: Chapters 21 – 29, “My Life’s Fruitful Third Stage” (1958 – 2010)

There is a grace and tact to Mandelbrot’s writing instilled from his upbringing – he has not written a ‘final’ part, simply ‘Part 3.’ Condensing the life of someone that unlocked so much knowledge starts to feel hopeless – he … Continue reading

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Mandelbrot’s The Fractalist, Afterword

Mandelbrot achieved a great deal, but felt his whole life that there was much more discovery that he could have given the world. The afterword closes out with the topics he had hoped to touch on, but was unable to … Continue reading

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Mandelbrot’s The Fractalist, Chapter 29: Beauty and Roughness: Full Circle

With only the Afterword left, these are the final words written by Mandelbrot. He begins with a weighty reflection about his 86 years of life, and closes with a wink to the reader, that the ‘fractal’ hints that were sprinkled … Continue reading

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Mandelbrot’s The Fractalist, Chapter 28: Has My Work Founded the First-Ever Broad Theory of Roughness?

“An important turn in my life occurred when I realized that something I had long been stating in footnotes should be put on the marquee.” Benoit Mandelbrot Continue reading

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Mandelbrot’s The Fractalist, Chapter 27: At Yale: Rising to the University’s Highest Rank, Sterling Professorship, 1987–2004

Mandelbrot’s time at Yale is punctuated with the institution’s highest honor. He observes twice, both in his life and in the goals identified by Yale’s math department that there was a strategy for setting out on goals that were ‘odd … Continue reading

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Mandelbrot’s The Fractalist, Chapter 26: A Word and a Book: “Fractal” and The Fractal Geometry of Nature

Coining the word ‘fractal’ has been foreshadowed from the early chapters – such as Mandelbrot’s study of Latin as a youth and his education in the US near pioneers of newly named fields like biochemistry. He compares his writing style … Continue reading

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Mandelbrot’s The Fractalist, Chapter 25: Annus Mirabilis at Harvard: The Mandelbrot Set and Other Forays into Pure Mathematics, 1979–80

Mandelbrot was able to take the lessons he learned in financial prices and other wide ranging fields of interest and tie it back to his core area of strength – mathematics. The Mandelbrot set is named. By thinking of fractal … Continue reading

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Mandelbrot’s The Fractalist, Chapter 24: Based at IBM, Moving from Place to Place and Field to Field, 1964–79

Mandelbrot’s home at IBM is secure, and with that security he continues to search about for interesting problems that fit his growing fractal toolkit. He remains worried that he has started his great work too late in life, and with … Continue reading

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Mandelbrot’s The Fractalist, Chapter 23: On to Fractals: Through IBM, Harvard, MIT, and Yale via Economics, Engineering, Mathematics, and Physics, 1963–64

There are times when reading a book that every page, every sentence and every word come together to create a smile on the face of the reader. In Part 1 we’ve followed young Mandelbrot’s survival in the face of Nazi … Continue reading

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