- Biography

Benoit B. Mandelbrot (20 November 1924 – 14 October 2010) was a Polish-born, French and American mathematician with broad interests in the practical sciences, especially regarding what he labeled as "the art of roughness" of physical phenomena and "the uncontrolled element in life." He referred to himself as a "fractalist". Benoit is recognized for his contribution to the field of fractal geometry, which included coining the word "fractal'", as well as developing a theory of "roughness and self-similarity" in nature.

States of randomness and financial markets

Mandelbrot found that price changes in financial markets did not follow a Gaussian distribution, but rather Lévy stable distributions having theoretically infinite variance. "Stable" distributions have the property that the sum of many instances of a random variable follows the same distribution but with a larger scale parameter.

Developing "fractal geometry" and the Mandelbrot set

Benoit Mandelbrot was largely responsible for the present interest in fractal geometry. He showed how fractals can occur in many different places in both mathematics and elsewhere in nature.

Fractals and the "theory of roughness"

He has created the first-ever "theory of roughness", and he saw "roughness" in the shapes of mountains, coastlines and river basins; the structures of plants, blood vessels and lungs; the clustering of galaxies.

Awards and honors

2004 Best Business Book of the Year Award
AMS Einstein Lectureship
Barnard Medal
Caltech Service
Casimir Funk Natural Sciences Award
Charles Proteus Steinmetz Medal
Fellow, American Geophysical Union
Fellow of the American Statistical Association
Franklin Medal
Harvey Prize (1989)
Humboldt Preis
IBM Fellowship
Casimir Funk Natural Sciences Award
AMS Einstein Lectureship
Fellow, American Geophysical Union
Barnard Medal
Caltech Service
Fellow of the American Statistical Association
Charles Proteus Steinmetz Medal
2004 Best Business Book of the Year Award
Franklin Medal
IBM Fellowship
Harvey Prize (1989)
Humboldt Preis
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