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Benoît B. Mandelbrot

Mandelbrot, Benoît B. (bənwäˈ mănˈdəlbrōˌ, Fr. mäNdĕlbrôˈ) [key], 1924–2010, French-American mathematician, b. Warsaw, Poland, Ph.D. Univ. of Paris, 1952. Largely self-taught and considered a maverick in the field of mathematics, he was uncomfortable with the rigorously pure logical analysis prescribed by Nicolas Bourbaki and relied instead on his talent for visualizing natural phenomena. A pioneer of chaos theory, he conceived, developed, and applied fractal geometry, which is used to find order in complex, apparently erratic shapes and processes. His work has had implications for and influence in such diverse fields as geometry, medicine, cosmology, economics, and computer graphics. Mandelbrot worked at IBM from 1958, holding an emeritus position there from 1993, and taught at Yale from 1987, where he was Sterling Professor of Mathematics (1999–2004). He wrote The Fractal Geometry of Nature (1982) and other works.

See his The Fractalist: Memoir of a Scientific Maverick (2012).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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