default article photo
October 23, 2010, 4:18 pm

Benoit Mandelbrot: from cauliflowers to cosmic secrets

The scientific world pays tribute to Benoit Mandelbrot, father of Fractals.

What was discovered?

Benoit Mandelbrot discovered that many patterns in nature repeated themselves the closer you look... these self-similar patterns he called 'Fractals'.

Here's a video where you can zoom in on one of Mandelbrot's fractals

How?

Wonderful powers of observation, great mathematical skills and the creative mind of a genius to dare to investigate thoroughly where others feared to tread!

Why is it important?

The application of the mathematical models of fractal geometry has an enormously wide application in nature.  For example, it has helped to explain growth and form in living organisms, the path of lightening, the unpredictable tectonic movements causing earthquakes, and even the behaviour of world financial markets!

Its impact on science has been to change the way we look at natural processes and to give us the mathematical tools to help us examine and understand them better.

This knowledge is, in the eyes of scientists, beautiful... just like the fractal patterns Mandelbrot  is famous for!

 

Benoit Mandelbrot was a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Molecular Frontiers Foundation, who oversee MoleClues.