Benoit Mandelbrot is a famous mathematician, that was honored by Google with a wonderful doodle on the 20th of November, 2020.

Let’s find out more about Benoit Mandelbrot!

- Benoit B. Mandelbrot was born on 20th of November, 1924.
- He was born in Poland.
- He was a French-American mathematician and polymath with broad interests in the practical sciences.
- He was interested especially to what he labeled as “the art of roughness” of physical phenomena and “the uncontrolled element in life”.
- He referred to himself as a “fractalist”.
- He is recognized for his contribution to the field of fractal geometry, which included coining the word “fractal”.
- He developed a theory of “roughness and self-similarity” in nature.
- In 1936 Mandelbrot’s family emigrated to France from Warsaw, Poland.
- He was 11 years old, when this happened.
- After World War II ended, Mandelbrot studied mathematics.
- He graduated from universities in Paris and the United States.
- He received a master’s degree in aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology.
- He spent most of his career in both the United States and France.
- He had dual French and American citizenship.
- In 1958, he began a 35-year career at IBM, where he became an IBM Fellow, and periodically took leaves of absence to teach at Harvard University.
- At Harvard, following the publication of his study of U.S. commodity markets in relation to cotton futures, he taught economics and applied sciences.
- Because of his access to IBM’s computers, Mandelbrot was one of the first to use computer graphics to create and display fractal geometric images.
- This led to his discovery of the Mandelbrot set in 1980.
- He showed how visual complexity can be created from simple rules.
- He said that things typically considered to be “rough”, a “mess” or “chaotic”, like clouds or shorelines, actually had a “degree of order”.
- His math and geometry-centered research career included contributions to such fields as statistical,physics, meteorology, hydrology, geomorphology, anatomy, taxonomy, neurology, linguistics, information technology, computer graphics, economics, geology, medicine, physical cosmology, engineering, chaos theory, econophysics, metallurgy and the social sciences.
- Bandelbrot was born in a Lithuanian Jewish family, in Warsaw during the Second Polish Republic.
- His father made his living trading clothing, and his mother was a dental surgeon.
- During his first two school years, he was tutored privately by an uncle who despised rote learning.
- He liked playing chess, reading maps and learning how to open his eyes to everything around him.
- In 1944, Mandelbrot returned to Paris, studied at the Lycée du Parc in Lyon.
- In 1945 to 1947 attended the École Polytechnique.
- In École Polytechnique he studied under Gaston Julia and Paul Lévy.
- From 1947 to 1949 he studied at California Institute of Technology, where he earned a master’s degree in aeronautics.
- Returning to France, he obtained his PhD degree in Mathematical Sciences at the University of Paris in 1952.
- Toward the end of his career, he was Sterling Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Yale University.
- He was the oldest professor in Yale’s history to receive tenure.
- Mandelbrot also held positions at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Université Lille Nord de France, Institute for Advanced Study and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.
- During his career, he received over 15 honorary doctorates.
- Also, he served on many science journals, along with winning numerous awards.
- His autobiography,
*The Fractalist: Memoir of a Scientific Maverick*, was published posthumously in 2012. - From 1949 to 1958, Mandelbrot was a staff member at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.
- During this time he spent a year at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, where he was sponsored by John von Neumann.
- In 1955 he married Aliette Kagan and moved to Geneva, Switzerland (to collaborate with Jean Piaget at the International Centre for Genetic Epistemology) and later to the Université Lille Nord de France.
- In 1958 the couple moved to the United States where Mandelbrot joined the research staff at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York.
- He remained at IBM for 35 years, becoming an IBM Fellow, and later Fellow Emeritus.
- From 1951 onward, Mandelbrot worked on problems and published papers not only in mathematics but in applied fields such as information theory, economics, and fluid dynamics.
- Mandelbrot saw financial markets as an example of “wild randomness”, characterized by concentration and long range dependence.
- He developed several original approaches for modelling financial fluctuations.
- In his early work, he found that the price changes in financial markets did not follow a Gaussian distribution, but rather Lévy stable distributions having infinite variance.
- He found, for example, that cotton prices followed a Lévy stable distribution with parameter
*α*equal to 1.7 rather than 2 as in a Gaussian distribution. - Mandelbrot’s awards include the Wolf Prize for Physics in 1993, the Lewis Fry Richardson Prize of the European Geophysical Society in 2000, the Japan Prize in 2003, and the Einstein Lectureship of the American Mathematical Society in 2006.
- The small asteroid 27500 Mandelbrot was named in his honor.
- In November 1990, he was made a Chevalier in France’s Legion of Honour.
- In December 2005, Mandelbrot was appointed to the position of Battelle Fellow at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
- Mandelbrot was promoted to an Officer of the Legion of Honour in January 2006.
- An honorary degree from Johns Hopkins University was bestowed on Mandelbrot in the May 2010 commencement exercises.
- Mandelbrot died from pancreatic cancer.
- He was at the age of 85.
- He died in a hospice in Cambridge, Massachusetts on 14 October 2010.
- Reacting to news of his death, mathematician Heinz-Otto Peitgen said: “[I]f we talk about impact inside mathematics, and applications in the sciences, he is one of the most important figures of the last fifty years.”
- Chris Anderson, TED conference curator, described Mandelbrot as “an icon who changed how we see the world”.
- Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France at the time of Mandelbrot’s death, said Mandelbrot had “a powerful, original mind that never shied away from innovating and shattering preconceived notions [… h]is work, developed entirely outside mainstream research, led to modern information theory.”
- Mandelbrot’s obituary in
*The Economist*points out his fame as “celebrity beyond the academy” and lauds him as the “father of fractal geometry”. - Best-selling essayist-author Nassim Nicholas Taleb has remarked that Mandelbrot’s book
*The (Mis)Behavior of Markets*is in his opinion “The deepest and most realistic finance book ever published”

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