The Fractalist: Memoir of a Scientific Maverick

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9780307389916: The Fractalist: Memoir of a Scientific Maverick

Here is the remarkable life story of Benoit Mandelbrot, the creator of fractal geometry, and his unparalleled contributions to science mathematics, the financial world, and the arts. Mandelbrot recounts his early years in Warsaw and in Paris, where he was mentored by an eminent mathematician uncle, through his days evading the Nazis in occupied France, to his education at Caltech, Princeton, and MIT, and his illustrious career at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center. An outside to mainstream scientific research, he managed to do what others had thought impossible: develop a new geometry that combines revelatory beauty with a radical way of unfolding formerly hidden scientific laws. In the process he was able to use geometry to solve fresh, real-world problems.

With exuberance and an eloquent fluency, Benoit Mandelbrot recounts the high points of his fascinating life, offering us a glimpse into the evolution of his extraordinary mind. 

With full-color inserts and black-and-white photographs throughout. 

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Review:

Guest Reviewer: Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable and Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder, has devoted his life to problems of uncertainty, probability, and knowledge. He spent nearly two decades as a businessman and quantitative trader before becoming a full-time philosophical essayist and academic researcher in 2006. Although he spends most of his time in the intense seclusion of his study, or as a flâneur meditating in cafés, he is currently Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University’s Polytechnic Institute. His main subject matter is "decision making under opacity", that is, a map and a protocol on how we should live in a world we don't understand. Taleb's books have been published in thirty-three languages.

"I have never done anything like others", Mandelbrot once said. And indeed these memoirs show it. He really managed to do everything on his own terms. Everything. It was not easy for him, but he end up doing it as he wanted it.

Consider his huge insight about the world around us. "Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line", wrote Benoit Mandelbrot, contradicting more than 2000 years of misconceptions. Triangles, squares, and circles seem to exist in our textbooks more than reality—and we didn't notice it. Thus was born fractal geometry, a general theory of "roughness". Mandelbrot uncovered simple rules used by nature (and men) that, thanks to repetition, by smaller parts that resemble the whole, generate these seemingly complex and chaotic patterns.

Self-taught and fiercely independent, he thought in images and passed the entrance exam of the top school of mathematics without solving equations; he was both precocious and a late bloomer producing the famous "Mandelbrot set" when he was in his fifties and got tenure at Yale when he was 75. Older mathematicians have resisted his geometric and intuitive method—but the top prize in mathematics was recently given for solving one of his sub-conjectures.

Mandelbrot, while a bit of a loner, had perhaps more cumulative influence than any other single scientist in history, with the only close second Isaac Newton. His contributions affected physics, engineering, arts, medicine (our vessels, lungs, and brains are fractal), biology, etc. But he was unheeded by the very field he started in, economics, where he proved in the 1960s that financial theories vastly underestimate market risk and need total revamping—in spite of the current crisis.

I met him when he was in his late seventies, as he was writing these memoirs long hand. He was the only teacher I ever had, the only person for whom I have had intellectual respect. But there was something else that made him magnetic: he was a raconteur with a profound sense of historical context ... Reading these memoirs put me back in the unusual atmosphere he created around him. The reader is made to feel he are at the center of twentieth century science as it was produced with fields invented almost from scratch: Max Delbrück with molecular biology, Paul Lévy with the mathematics of probability, Robert Oppenheimer with nuclear physics, even Jean Piaget the psychologist for whom Mandelbrot worked as a scientific assistant. And many more.

Finally, the reader will be presented with something that no longer exists in intellectual life: force of character and independence. Enjoy the book.

About the Author:

A graduate of the École Polytechnique, Benoit Mandelbrot obtained his doctorate from the University of Paris and spent more than thirty-five years at IBM as a research scientist. Best known as the father of fractal geometry, he transformed our understanding of information theory, economics, fluid turbulence, nonlinear dynamics, and geophysics. He died in 2010.

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Descripción Vintage Books, United States, 2014. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Here is the remarkable life story of Benoit Mandelbrot, the creator of fractal geometry, and his unparalleled contributions to science mathematics, the financial world, and the arts. Mandelbrot recounts his early years in Warsaw and in Paris, where he was mentored by an eminent mathematician uncle, through his days evading the Nazis in occupied France, to his education at Caltech, Princeton, and MIT, and his illustrious career at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center. An outside to mainstream scientific research, he managed to do what others had thought impossible: develop a new geometry that combines revelatory beauty with a radical way of unfolding formerly hidden scientific laws. In the process he was able to use geometry to solve fresh, real-world problems. With exuberance and an eloquent fluency, Benoit Mandelbrot recounts the high points of his fascinating life, offering us a glimpse into the evolution of his extraordinary mind. With full-color inserts and black-and-white photographs throughout. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9780307389916

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Descripción Vintage Books 1/14/2014, 2014. Paperback or Softback. Estado de conservación: New. The Fractalist: Memoir of a Scientific Maverick. Book. Nº de ref. de la librería BBS-9780307389916

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Descripción Vintage Books, United States, 2014. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Here is the remarkable life story of Benoit Mandelbrot, the creator of fractal geometry, and his unparalleled contributions to science mathematics, the financial world, and the arts. Mandelbrot recounts his early years in Warsaw and in Paris, where he was mentored by an eminent mathematician uncle, through his days evading the Nazis in occupied France, to his education at Caltech, Princeton, and MIT, and his illustrious career at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center. An outside to mainstream scientific research, he managed to do what others had thought impossible: develop a new geometry that combines revelatory beauty with a radical way of unfolding formerly hidden scientific laws. In the process he was able to use geometry to solve fresh, real-world problems. With exuberance and an eloquent fluency, Benoit Mandelbrot recounts the high points of his fascinating life, offering us a glimpse into the evolution of his extraordinary mind. With full-color inserts and black-and-white photographs throughout. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9780307389916

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Descripción Vintage Books, United States, 2014. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Here is the remarkable life story of Benoit Mandelbrot, the creator of fractal geometry, and his unparalleled contributions to science mathematics, the financial world, and the arts. Mandelbrot recounts his early years in Warsaw and in Paris, where he was mentored by an eminent mathematician uncle, through his days evading the Nazis in occupied France, to his education at Caltech, Princeton, and MIT, and his illustrious career at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center. An outside to mainstream scientific research, he managed to do what others had thought impossible: develop a new geometry that combines revelatory beauty with a radical way of unfolding formerly hidden scientific laws. In the process he was able to use geometry to solve fresh, real-world problems. With exuberance and an eloquent fluency, Benoit Mandelbrot recounts the high points of his fascinating life, offering us a glimpse into the evolution of his extraordinary mind. With full-color inserts and black-and-white photographs throughout. Nº de ref. de la librería BTE9780307389916

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