At an early age mathematician, Benoit B. Mandelbrot discovered that he was immensely talented at solving mathematical equations. But, it wasn’t just his knack for mathematics that caught the world’s attention, instead, it was Mandelbrot’s theory that he had discovered the pattern that connected everything in the universe or the thumbprint of God.
Mandelbrot, you will find a variety of scholarly articles regarding fractal geometry, which was his creation. Mandelbrot first coined the term fractal in order to define a new class of geometrical mathematical shapes that contained uneven contours that could actually mirror 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,” explained David Mumford, who is a professor of mathematics at Brown University. “He was one of the primary people who realized these were legitimate objects of study.”
It was in Mandelbrot’s book that he was able to describe his theories to the world. His book entitled “The Fractal Geometry of Nature” was published in 1982. Inside of it, he defended geometrical objects which others had ignored by referring to them as “monstrous” or “pathological.” He felt that by using fractal geometry, scientists could find a way to measure objects that were once thought to be immeasurable. And he was right.
The Mandelbrot set, which is one of the most infamous fractal designs was later named after him. At first glance, it appears to be a strange, and chaotic crystal-like flower, which continues to blossom strange and random circles. While the shape itself may seem odd to many, it is indeed a product of geometrical calculations.
Mandelbrot felt that geometry itself was quite dry, due to the fact that it could only explain regular shapes like squares, circles, and cones. Simple shapes like those have been studied since ancient Greece, which gives reason to why traditional geometry continues to be referred to as Euclidean geometry. However, later in the 19th and 20th centuries, mathematicians began to study beyond traditional geometry. Of course, Mandelbrot wasn’t the first, but it was his concept that became the ‘visual manifesto’ for a less than traditional world of geometry.
“People either think in formulas or they think in pictures. And thinking in pictures only in science doesn’t take you very far.” He pauses, and then continues, “I was thinking in both.”
And it was his understanding of math that granted him with the ability to see that everything within our universe is connected. Perhaps even beyond the known universe, we are somehow connected to everything through the energetic particles that encompass everything in existence. In turn, this knowledge provided him with the ability to see the patterns necessary to move past the traditional world of math.