Benoit Mandelbrot passed away this weekend, one of the giants of mathematics and computer sciences. I ran across his work back when I was studying computer science in the early 1980s, and it was a revelation. His ability to provoke the analytical side of the brain with provocative articles like “How long is the coast of Britain” as well as thrill the visual side with the beauty of the fractal geometry that he created was memorable. The concept of “extreme sensitivity to initial conditions,” an expression of the butterfly effect, was embedded in his fractal geometry as well.
A rare combination of intellectual and aesthetic beauty resulted from his work. Mandelbrot was that rare genius who touched many fields and many disciplines — may he rest in peace.