He Conceived the Mathematics of Roughness

Benoit Mandelbrot, the brilliant Polish-French-American mathematician who died in 2010, had a poet’s taste for complexity and strangeness. His genius for noticing deep links among far-flung phenomena led him to create a new branch of geometry, one that has deepened our understanding of both natural forms and patterns of human behavior. The key to it is a simple yet elusive idea, that of self-similarity. To see what self-similarity means, consider a homely example: the cauliflower.

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Letters

A Random Walk with Louis Bachelier October 24, 2013