Benoit Mandelbrot was born in Poland in 1924. His family emigrated to
France in 1936 and his uncle, Szolem Mandelbrot, took responsiblity for
Benoit attended the Lyce Rolin in Paris, as well as the California Institute
of Technology in the United States. He worked at the Centre National de la
Recherche Scientific from 1949 until 1957.
At the age of 21, his uncle Szolem showed him Julia's important 1918 paper
as a masterpiece and a potential source of interesting problems, but Mandelbrot
did not like it. Instead, he chose his own path which brought him back to Julia's
paper in 1977 after going through many different fields of science.
With the aid of computer graphics, Mandelbrot, who now works at IBM's
Watson Research Center, was able to show how Julia's work is a source of some
of the most beautiful fractals known today. The Mandelbrot set is a connected set
of points in the complex plain. Pick a point Z in the complex plane. Calculate:
Z = Z + Z
Z = Z + Z
Z = Z + Z
If the sequence Z, Z, Z, Z,....remains within a distance of 2 of the orgin forever, then
the point Z is said to be in the Mandelbrot set. If the sequence diverges from the
orgin, then the point is not in the set. Benoit's work was first put forward in his book
"Les objets fractals, forn, hasard et dimension", and more fully in his second book "The
Fractal Geometry of Nature".
Besides working at IBM, Mandelbrot is now the Professor of the Practice of
Mathematics at Harvard University. In 1985, Mandelbrot was awarded the Barnard
Medal for Meritorious Service to Science. The following year he received the
Franklin Medal. Two years later he was honored with the Alexander von Humboldt
Prize, receiving the Steinmetz Medal in 1988 and many more awards including the
Nevada Medal in 1991.
If you would like to download a picture of the Mandelbrot Set, please go to our download section.