The Fractal Geometry of Nature| Benoit Mandelbrot Expands The Way We Think!

  • AUTHOR: dua
  • POSTED ON: November 20, 2020

Today, Google Doodle is
celebrating Benoit Mandelbrot – known as the Father of Fractal Geometry!  The man used to take great interest in
irregular shapes and processes present in nature. The research proved to be
fundamental in the field, as the conclusions derived were potent in a range of fields ranging from physics to arts and even finance.

Source: Fractal 

Let’s find out more
about this intellectual!

Benoit Mandelbrot was
an eccentric figure in the field of mathematics. Thanks to his non-conformist
ideas and perceptions, his findings became critical in the field due to which he
earned the title of the “Father of Fractal Geometry”.

In 1975, he basically
coined the word Fractal Geometry with the aim to describe the geometry’s branch which sought to find meaning in irregular structures and shapes that
are in their most natural form. These shapes and process included jagged
coastlines to the ever-changing stock market’s rollercoaster ride.

As mentioned above, he is
a pioneer in many fields due to his revolutionary studies. He contributed to a
wide range of contrasting fields, like physical finance, geology, medicine and
art, etc. To honor his meritorious contributions and put forth his
larger-than-life understanding of structures, Google created its Doodle for Mandelbrot on
Friday on his 96th birthday.

His background is
highly commendable! He was born in 1924 in Warsaw, Poland and spent his initial years reading maps and playing Chess. He never truly got the opportunity to
acquire standardized education as it got interrupted for two reasons: When he
was just 11 years old, his family migrated to Paris and continued moving until
World War II started – which, as we already know, was the end for many dreams
and ambitions.

However, these setbacks
never stopped him from getting a formal education, and he continued it once the war
ended. He eventually ended up earning an aeronautics master’s degree from
California Institute of Technology, and by 1958, he started working at the IBM
– this is where his long-withstanding academic partnership began with IBM’s
Watson Research Center. By this time, the world had the IBM
computers newly developed at their disposal, and so Mandelbrot used this opportunity to create
fractal images that resonated with psychedelic art that represented human body
and nature.

As of now, the
Euclidean Geometry understood flat surface of a plane, but it was Mandelbrot
who realized that shapes in nature weren’t flat at all.

In his seminal book,
The Fractal Geometry of Nature, he questioned why people considered geometry to
be so cold and dry. He proposed that one reason could be the inability to
explain the shape of a mountain, a cloud, a tree or a coastline. He then
claimed that mountains are not cones, clouds are not spheres, bark is not smooth and coastlines are
not circles, and neither is lightening a straight line.
The book was published in 1982.

These graphical
pictures that were drawn by the algorithms have earned a place in popular
culture; you can find them on T-shirts, posters, and album covers. In fact, it
was his fantastical theory that inspired the song Mandelbrot Set by Jonathan
Coulton and Arthur C. Clarke’s novel, The Colors of Infinity: The Beauty, and
the Sense of Fractals.   

Mandelbrot worked
tirelessly to further develop the formula that he used to explain the
phenomenon. It eventually got popular by the name the Mandelbrot Set. For 35
years, he worked in relative obscurity, after which he accepted a position at
Yale University as a Mathematics Professor. He formally joined in 1987.

Source: Wikipedia

Furthermore, he won
several awards in recognition of his contributions in a variety of fields. He
was also awarded the prestigious Wolf Prize for Physics in 1993. And the most
interesting ode to his incredible work was when a small asteroid was named after
him in 2000.

The Mathematic genius died
in 2010 at the age of 85 from pancreatic cancer. To celebrate his intellect,
Google has also introduced a Mandelbrot Fractal Easter egg which permits you to
explore the endless patterns of Mandelbrot set along with an interactive
fractal viewer.

To truly know
Mandelbrot, you need to understand his work. Fractal Geometry is a synthesis of
ancient mathematical constructs and formulas. 
The idea was popularized by
interpretations of terrain on a computer graphic platform. Fractal Geometry has
invested in diverse scientific domains and received rapid credibility due to
its ability to verify phenomena that defies discrete computations as a cause of

However, with instant
appreciation came a bunch of compounding problems. Fractal Geometry is a widely
misconstrued idea that can quickly evaporate due to grandiose terminology that
has really no purpose. In its essence, there is an induction that uses basic
geometric constructs to change initiating objects. The fractal objects that are
created using this process tend to appear similar to natural phenomenon. The
purpose of this study was to showcase fractal geometry to the graphic
programmers as a unique but basic technique.

Benoit B. Mandelbrot
felt the need to give geometry a new reputation, as he felt that Euclidean
geometry is not up to the mark as a model for natural objects. If you’ve ever
drawn a picture of irregular objects, like a tree, on a computer screen by
utilizing the Euclidean drawing primitives, this statement would make absolute

The strength of
Mandelbrot’s conclusions was critical in research; it practically helped in the
development of this theory. He exhibited how mathematical functions provide
valuable insights in regards to the creation models developed to explain
natural objects, like mountains and coastlines. He must be considered the most
important figure in the field of mathematics, as his theory of synthesis at the
time was monumental as science was gaining momentum and scientific models were
receiving acclaim.

There were numerous
goals of this research. First of all, it must be understood that there are
practically two approaches that can be considered authentic in the
investigation of Fractal Geometry and computer graphics.

His goals were to provide computers with due
credibility as tools that help enhance the investigation and research of
fractal geometry. The research was also designed to study the mathematical
formulation of Fractal Geometry and give evidence practically of its
application to computer graphics.

All in all, one can
conclude that Mandelbrot was a genius who challenged our perceptions and made
valuable contributions in the world of Fractal Geometry!

Updated November 20, 2020
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