Long time ago when I was taking an university Algebra class in the summer with an older and kind professor, I bought to the class a book with picture of a beautiful looking and mysterious object (I later learned, a Mandelbrot set) on the cover. The professor asked me why am I reading the book? I said the images were beautiful. He asked, “Why aren’t you reading the master himself directly?” As a result of this encounter, I have since tried to read original research papers or books when I can.
To me, Dr. Mandelbrot is the man that bought arts and beauty into mathematics for me. Before him, I didn’t quite appreciate the beauty in math. Beauty and the rigour of mathematics coexist beautifully in Mandelbrot set.
Thank you Dr. Mandelbrot, may you rest in peace. (I wished I had written you a fan letter before today. I hope you know you are well loved and respected.)
“Benoît B. Mandelbrot, a maverick mathematician who developed an innovative theory of roughness and applied it to physics, biology, finance and many other fields, died on Thursday in Cambridge, Mass. He was 85.
His death was caused by pancreatic cancer, his wife, Aliette, said. He had lived in Cambridge.
Dr. Mandelbrot coined the term “fractal” to refer to a new class of mathematical shapes whose uneven contours could mimic the irregularities found in nature.
“Applied mathematics had been concentrating for a century on phenomena which were smooth, but many things were not like that: the more you blew them up with a microscope the more complexity you found,” said David Mumford, a professor of mathematics at Brown University. “He was one of the primary people who realized these were legitimate objects of study.”
In a seminal book, “The Fractal Geometry of Nature,” published in 1982, Dr. Mandelbrot defended mathematical objects that he said others had dismissed as “monstrous” and “pathological.” Read the rest of this entry »
– May be I will interview myself to talk about how I feel about the 3,000th post? That may be fun.
Love to hear what you think and your suggestions for my 3,000th post, just leave a comment or email me. Your ideas may help to inspire me when it is time to write that milestone 3,000th post (probably days away).
A friend’s mom passed away suddenly this past Sunday. Auntie, as my better half and I affectionately call her, loved to ballroom dance and was great at dancing until her leg was hurt a few years ago. Auntie was someone that loved a good party. In fact, she was organizing another party a few days before she passed away. Knowing Auntie would have wanted it, the family made the decision to have the upcoming party go on as previously planned on Chinese New Year. It saddens me to think that a previously planned joyful occasion of a Chinese New Year dance party that is going to be the first birthday party for the grandson, is not going to have the sadness of a missing hostess.
In memory of Auntie, here is a music video “Love is in the Air” with a few dance sequences from the film Strictly Ballroom.
If you’ve not had the pleasure of listening to Frank telling his stories form his books, go buy or borrow copies of his book CDs. Listen and learn from his ageless wisdom. (Because of Frank’s great story telling skills, I highly recommend the audio book.)
Frank, you are loved and will be deeply missed. I’ve never been in your classroom but you’ve taught me more than some teaches I had.