The Online Journal of Insight, Satire, Desire, Wit and Observation

Rest in Peace Benoît Mandelbrot

Rest in Peace Benoît Mandelbrot 20 November 1924-14 October 2010.

I fondly remember being intellectually slam-dunked by Mandelbrot at a lecture during question time at the University of Michigan sponsored by the Physics Department I think some time in the early 90’s. I had been thinking about rhythm and harmony in music. I realized that the frequency ratio of a octave is 2:1, a fifth is 3:2 and so on and I theorized that rhythm and harmony were fractally self-similar and that there was a deep underlying relation between the two.

Mandebrot listened with a smile on his face. He probably was used to enthusiastic grad students spouting off their wild ideas. Then he said:

“Henry, do not think that just because you have this big idea that makes it science. You must design controlled, rigorous, repeatable experiments to prove or disprove your thesis.”

He talked about how when he had his early ideas about fractals that the scientific community did not take it seriously until he was able to show fractal patterns in the financial markets. Then it became interesting to people.

A wonderful man, sly, humorous, a good listener and a very quick wit. à bientôt.

Benoît Mandelbrot
Fractals and the art of roughness
Mandelbrot, father of fractal geometry, dies
Benoit Mandelbrot the Maverick, 1924-2010
“He Gave Us Order Out of Chaos” — R.I.P. Benoît Mandelbrot, 1924-2010
Benoit Mandelbrot, Mathematician, Dies at 85

Copyright © 2010 Henry Edward Hardy

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16 October, 2010 Posted by | 14 October 2010, complexity, fractal, mandelbrot, math, mathematics, obituary, scanlyze, set | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment