Benoît Mandelbrot

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Benoit B. Mandelbrot[note 1][note 2] (20 November 1924 – 14 October 2010) was a Franco-American mathematician. Born in Poland, he moved to France with his family when he was a child. Mandelbrot spent much of his life living and working in the United States, acquiring dual French and American citizenship.

Mandelbrot worked on a wide range of mathematical problems, including mathematical physics and quantitative finance, but is best known as the father of fractal geometry. He coined the term fractal and described the Mandelbrot set. Mandelbrot extensively popularized his work, writing books and giving lectures aimed at the general public.

Mandelbrot spent most of his career at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center, and was appointed as an IBM Fellow. He later became Sterling Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Yale University. Mandelbrot also held positions at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Université Lille Nord de France, Institute for Advanced Study and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.


Early years

Mandelbrot was born in Warsaw into a Jewish family from Lithuania.[5] Mandelbrot was born into a family with a strong academic tradition - his mother was a physician and he was introduced to mathematics by two of his uncles, one of whom, Szolem Mandelbrojt, was a mathematician who resided in Paris. However, his father made his living trading clothing.[6] Anticipating the threat posed by Nazi Germany, the family fled from Poland to France in 1936 when he was 11.[7] Mandelbrot attended the Lycée Rolin in Paris until the start of World War II, when his family moved to Tulle, France. He was helped by Rabbi David Feuerwerker, the Rabbi of Brive-la-Gaillarde, to continue his studies.[citation needed] In 1944 he returned to Paris. He studied at the Lycée du Parc in Lyon and in 1945 - 47 attended the École Polytechnique, where he studied under Gaston Julia and Paul Lévy. From 1947 to 1949 he studied at California Institute of Technology, where he earned a master's degree in aeronautics.[2] Returning to France, he obtained his Ph.D. degree in Mathematical Sciences at the University of Paris in 1952.[6]

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