Saturday, October 16, 2010

RIP Benoît Mandelbrot (1924-2010)

Mandelbrot, father of fractals, dies at 85

Sunday, 17 October 2010
Benoit Mandelbrot, the Polish-born mathematician who played a central role in Chaos theory, has died at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, aged 85, of cancer.

He is most famous for his work on fractals – rough geometric features which repeat at different scales. The IBM scientist said he got the idea for his much reproduced Mandelbrot set while considering how to measure the British coastline, which becomes ever longer as you look at it in closer detail.


Interesting song. h/t Pete!


Tyrone said...

FreeGold, reveal thyself!


Indenture said...

So you knew to show us Fractals?
Predicting the future is becoming a pattern.

costata said...

Hi Tyrone,

I notice you put that comment in bold and the salutation in plain text. Nice to see you introducing some variety :)

Jeff said...

Hello FOFOA,

I am always interested to see what you are listening to. If you decide to post a turn to go with this post could I suggest this one?

Wendy said...

Ivo, said

“You are confusing cause and effect.

Your perceptions perceive reality,
your perceptions don’t create reality (but .. perceive it).”

I disagree, and believe thoughts/perceptions manifests being/reality. The simplest example I can think of is “the placebo effect” which is not an effect, but a genuine phenomena.

If you believe that thoughts/knowing/peception do nothing more that manifest action or additional thought, then there is a fundamental difference in how we view our worlds.

Kindest Regards,


Devils Avocado said...

RIP Monsieur.

The world will not forget, and may you return again.

We are eternal after all.

I was re-reading Critical Path today and thought how much the Dymaxion map of the world looked like a true fractal pattern.


Pete said...

Sad when brilliant minds who contribute so much pass on.

I guess it is it too late to send Bernanke instead.

Scisco said...

Hello FOFOA,

I have recently developed a sufficient understanding of markets to begin to glimpse what ANOTHER was trying to say and some of the work you have done here. I have started reading your archives along with the comments and naturally questions arose. Should I post them at the relevant archived posts or somewhere more recent? Thank you once again for your excellent work.

Wendy said...


I would respectfully suggest that you do not post a question until you have read at least all the archives. Although,I must add that you will likely have less questions if you also read the writings of Another and FOA linked to the right


Wendy said...

opps, forgot to mention the comment after the posts are essential reading as well. Might take a couple of months give or take a week.

Scisco said...

Hi Wendy,

I completely agree with you and I have read though ANOTHER's and FOA posts. I have also read through all the posts of 2008 and the following comments. However I have reduced the number to a few (3 or 4 at this point) that I feel are preventing me from understanding critical points.

Wendy said...


I just read my post and it sounds cynical. Sorry for that!

It is definatly worth your time to exhaust this blog.
.... the information you will discover here is priceless.


Wendy said...

looks like we were posting in tandem :)

Michael H said...

@ Wendy:

Your discussion with Ivo regarding perception and reality seems to have wandered into a different thread :)

I find you discussion interesting and would like to comment.

Unfortunately, I find myself disagreeing with you. But, very likely I do not fully understand your position.

"thoughts/perceptions manifests being/reality"

1. On a large scale, why doesn't the Sun revolve around the Earth? In other words, human thoughts haven't seemed to influence cosmic occurrences. I would generalize this to apply to purely physical phenomena, i.e. the impossibility of telekinesis, or moving objects with the power of thought.

2. In a practical, philosophical perspective, what is to stop me from perceiving that others around me are not worthy of consideration, and acting as a sociopath and narcissist?

3. In modern society, most of our experiences are in human-constructed environments. Buildings and cities and roads. Much of our experience passes through intermediaries: watching on television, reading. Our direct experience has been relegated to 'anecdotal' and not reliable. Viewpoints such as yours (and, I repeat, I am certain that I am not fully understanding your meaning) seem to place the thought experience above the direct experience, and this thought experience is the most prone to being controlled by outside parties, i.e. education, media, books, etc.

Apologies for the ramble, and now back to your regularly-scheduled freegold program.

Pete said...

Some of you might like this song:

'Mandelbrot Set by Jonathan Coulton'

Devils Avocado said...

' badass fucking fractal..'


Anonymous said...

Hey Pete,
That was cool.

"Be the change you want to see in the world" - Gandhi

It may make more of a difference than you thought.
Thank you to Mr Mandelbrot for demonstrating it.

David said...

FOFOA was mentioned in a Youtube video.

bullpasture said...

Two years ago, the PBS program NOVA had an excellent show regarding the actual application of Mandelbrot's Fractal Geometry to solving real life problems as naturally occuring in nature:

Pete said...


Egads, that's exactly the kind of person you don't want to reference FOFOA.

He so very obviously doesn't read FOFOA. My guess is that he skim-reads the sections that he likes, and ignores the rest.

SatyaPranava said...

@ david,

if you listen very closely at 3:45 in the video referencing FOFOA, you'll hear his mom say "sweetie, why don't you come upstairs; dinner's ready." you can actually see the door move as well as she gently knocks.

go check it out :)

David said...

"if you listen very closely at 3:45 in the video referencing FOFOA, you'll hear his mom say "sweetie, why don't you come upstairs; dinner's ready." you can actually see the door move as well as she gently knocks."

How cute.

Jenn said...


Nice catch.

I have to give the guy some credit. At least he bought some gold -- and it's even some where between 15-90%!

Robert Mix said...

RIP Benoit Mandelbrot. I read one of his books (title escapes me, it is late...) on fractals. He had a lot of commentary on the cotton (price of) markets through the centuries.

Although I have a great appreciation for the beauty of math, I was never able to get beyond calculus III and linear algebra when in college. But, I have tried to keep up with the 'popular' math books (Mandelbrot, prime numbers, etc.). Math is what might save us.

But, I feel that having a LOT of gold might do even better!

O/T a bit, but some of us at are planning a DRINKFEST if/when gold reaches $50,000 / oz. Assuming society is still functioning OK. Details to be worked out later. I will pass along any developments here to FOFOA's comments section as they happen. I even have a trial location where we could all get together......

SatyaPranava said...

@david and jenn,

I just couldn't resist the living-in-the-parents'-basement reference :)

i commend him for reading things and trying to arrive at what works for him and wanting to help others, no matter where her resides. we all have a long way to go, some of us just longer to get there :)

good luck,


CrackWhoreGold said...


I hear that you read FOFOA's. Love ya dude, but you shouldn'ta oughta cut your hair!

Pete said...


Martin Armstrong has written about Fractals/Mandelbrot aswell, yesterday.

Make of it what you will...

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