Tuesday, October 19, 2010
It has been reported in the press that Benoit Mandelbrot, the father of fractal mathematics, died on October 14th. This is a sad loss not only for math, but for all the sciences and even the arts and humanities. Mandelbrot was a visionary who made substantive contributions to the broadest conceivable array of fields. Even a short list would have to include art, astronomy, computing, cosmology, economics, education, geography, geology, geophysics, hydrology, linguistics, and materials science, as well as mathematics. I found in his work evidence of a courageous and novel mind that was inspiring to me as a novice. I was thrilled when he once called me to ask about my work. He will undoubtedly be missed by innumerable students, friends, and colleagues.