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The fractalist : memoir of a scientific maverick

Author: Benoit B Mandelbrot
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, ©2012.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
A fascinating memoir from the man who revitalized visual geometry, and whose ideas about fractals have changed how we look at both the natural world and the financial world.
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Genre/Form: Autobiography
Named Person: Benoit B Mandelbrot; Benoit B Mandelbrot
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Benoit B Mandelbrot
ISBN: 9780307377357 0307377350
OCLC Number: 303042882
Notes: Includes index.
Description: xvii, 324 pages, 8 pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Contents: Beauty and roughness : introduction --
How I came to be a scientist. Roots, of flesh and the mind ; Child in Warsaw, 1924-36 ; Adolescent in Paris, 1936-39 ; Dirt-poor hills of unoccupied Vichy France, 1939-43 ; On to Lyon : tighter occupation and self-discovery, 1943-44 ; Horse groom near Pommiers-en-Forez, 1944 ; Alleluiah! the War moves away and a new life beckons --
My long and meandering education in science and in life. Paris : exam hell, agony of choice, and one day at the École Normale Superieure, 1944-45 ; A (then rare) foreign student at École Polytechnique, 1945-47 ; Pasadena : student at Caltech during a Golden Age, 1947-49 ; French air force engineers : reserve officer in training, 1949-50 ; Growing addiction to classical music, voice, and opera ; Life as a grad student and Philips Electronics employee, 1950-52 ; First Kepler moment : the Zipf-Mandelbrot distribution of word frequencies, 1951 ; Postdoctoral Grand Tour begins at MIT, 1953 ; Princeton : John von Neumann's last postdoc, 1953-54 ; Paris, 1954-55 ; Wooing and marrying Aliette, 1955 ; In Geneva with Jean Piaget, Mark Kak, and Willy Feller, 1955-1957 ; An underachieving and restless maverick pulls up shallow roots, 1957-58 --
My life's fruitful third stage. At IBM Research through its Golden Age in the sciences, 1958-93 ; At Harvard : firebrand newcomer to finance advances a revolutionary development, 1962-63 ; On to fractals : through IBM, Harvard, MIT, and Yale via economics, engineering, mathematics, and physics, 1963-64 ; Based at IBM, moving from place to place and field to field, 1964-79 ; Annus mirabilis at Harvard : the Mandelbrot Set and other forays into pure mathematics, 1979-80 ; A word and a book : "fractal" and The Fractal Geometry of Nature" ; At Yale : rising to the university's highest rank, Sterling Professorship, 1987-2004 ; Has my work founded the first-ever broad theory of roughness? ; Beauty and roughness : full circle.
Responsibility: Benoit B. Mandelbrot.


A fascinating memoir from the man who revitalized visual geometry, and whose ideas about fractals have changed how we look at both the natural world and the financial world.

Benoit Mandelbrot, the creator of fractal geometry, has significantly improved our under-standing of, among other things, financial variability and erratic physical phenomena. In The Fractalist, Mandelbrot recounts the high points of his life with exuberance and an eloquent fluency, deepening our understanding of the evolution of his extraordinary mind. We begin with his early years: born in Warsaw in 1924 to a Lithuanian Jewish family, Mandelbrot moved with his family to Paris in the 1930s, where he was mentored by an eminent mathematician uncle. During World War II, as he stayed barely one step ahead of the Nazis until France was liberated, he studied geometry on his own and dreamed of using it to solve fresh, real-world problems. We observe his unusually broad education in Europe, and later at Caltech, Princeton, and MIT. We learn about his thirty-five-year affiliation with IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center and his association with Harvard and Yale. An outsider to.

Mainstream scientific research, he managed to do what others had thought impossible: develop a new geometry that combines revelatory beauty with a radical way of unfolding formerly hidden laws governing utter roughness, turbulence, and chaos.

Here is a remarkable story of both the man's life and his unparalleled contributions to science, mathematics, and the arts. --Book Jacket.

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