A mathematician, Mandelbrot was born in Poland, raised in France, and worked in the U.S. He is known for his “fractal geometry,” which helped conceptualize real-world complexities like the shapes of coastlines, blood vessels, clustered galaxies, and more. Using fractal geometry, computers can simulate the real world more realistically, yet using very simple calculations. Where Euclidean geometry describes lines, circles, and other relatively simple shapes, fractal geometry uses algorithms to describe complex shapes — perhaps even infinite in their complexity. Mandelbrot died October 14 from pancreatic cancer. He was 85.
From This is True for 17 October 2010