Category Archives: Mandelbrot

Mandelbrot’s The Fractalist, Chapter 22; At Harvard: Firebrand Newcomer to Finance Advances a Revolutionary Development, 1962–63

My first exposure to Mandelbrot was through his joint work with Richard L. Hudson in The (Mis)Behavior of Markets, which was published in 2004 and stands as a testament to the contributions he made to finance beginning with this work … Continue reading

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Mandelbrot Part 2: Chapters 8 – 20, “My Long and Meandering Education in Science and in Life”

In Part 1, we watched Mandelbrot’s family survived World War 2 intact. They had a strategy – splitting when others stayed together. Tough decisions were made and they stayed ahead as a wave of Nazi persecution washed over Europe. Strengths … Continue reading

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Mandelbrot’s The Fractalist, Chapter 21: At IBM Research Through Its Golden Age in the Sciences, 1958–93

[About the image – an IBM 1401 mainframe – from the 1960’s – prints a Mandelbrot fractal driven image.] Mandelbrot would spend the next 35 years employed by an associated with IBM Research. He would serve as a professor at … Continue reading

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Mandelbrot’s The Fractalist, Chapter 20: An Underachieving and Restless Maverick Pulls Up Shallow Roots, 1957–58

In this final chapter before heading into Book 3, we read how an older Mandelbrot looks back on his decisions to pursue his goal and the risks that were required to succeed. Best Quote(s) Mandelbrot has a dream – he … Continue reading

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Mandelbrot’s The Fractalist, Chapter 19: In Geneva with Jean Piaget, Mark Kac, and Willy Feller, 1955–57

“… Jean Piaget (1896–1980). He was pleased to hear that I was aware of his fame in trying to bring rationality to child psychology.” Continue reading

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Mandelbrot’s The Fractalist, Chapter 18: Wooing and Marrying Aliette, 1955

Mandelbrot pursues love and family life – and does it with the usual cast of exceptional and brilliant people. Best Quote(s) “Without her willingness to let me gamble my life—and hers and our children’s—the odd career I undertook would have … Continue reading

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Mandelbrot’s The Fractalist, Chapter 17: Paris, 1954–55

Young Mandelbrot has completed his PhD and looking for employment, mentors and other problems that will all work towards his goal of a Keplerian type view of a major problem. Zipf put him on the path to Fractals, but Fractals … Continue reading

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Mandelbrot’s The Fractalist, Chapter 16: Princeton: John von Neumann’s Last Postdoc, 1953–54

The Chapter starts with the tale of a public lecture where Mandelbrot is excoriated – but then experiences a classic ‘Oppenheimer’ explanation. Following a fractal pattern, we then find Von Neumann providing another level of explanation on top of Oppenheimer. … Continue reading

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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 … Continue reading

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Mandelbrot’s The Fractalist, Chapter 14: First Kepler Moment: The Zipf-Mandelbrot Distribution of Word Frequencies, 1951

Our scientist-hero has identified a goal – creating a ‘Keplerian’ field of study which he can pioneer. Mandelbrot has found a mentor, Kastler, who understood the need to drift between worlds and excelled at it. He has a method to … Continue reading

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