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Friday, October 26, 2012

Mandelbrot On the Bookshelf

 "Pathological monsters! cried the terrified mathematician
Every one of them is a splinter in my eye
I hate the Peano Space and the Koch Curve
I fear the Cantor Ternary Set And the Sierpinski Gasket makes me want to cry
And a million miles away a butterfly flapped its wings
On a cold November day a man named Benoit Mandelbrot was born
"  --Jonathan Coulton

If the life of Benoit Mandelbrot interests you then a new book coming out shortly will be of note, a posthumous autobiography, entitled "The Fractalist." [Mandelbrot died just 2 years ago this month.]
I haven't read it, but from what I can tell, if you're interested primarily in the details of Mandelbrot's mathematical contributions this volume may not be a good choice, but if you're interested in his life this is a definite read:

http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/books/114766/a-math-genius-sad-calculus?all=1

More on Mandelbrot here:

http://www.nndb.com/people/752/000022686/ [biographical]

http://www.ted.com/talks/benoit_mandelbrot_fractals_the_art_of_roughness.html [TED Talk]

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/oct/17/benoit-mandelbrot-obituary [obituary]

And hey, STILL a wonderful math video (the Mandelbrot Set zoomed to Jonathan Coulton's rousing lyrics):




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