Benoit Mandelbrot and his legacy

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Benoit Mandelbrot has died, at 85. We’re honored to have had him speak at the first TED, in 1984, and at the most recent TED in Long Beach, where he talked about his life’s work: studying fractals and roughness, and helping the world understand how fractal math underpins both nature and art. Mandelbrot was, as TED’s curator, Chris Anderson, wrote this morning, “an icon who changed how we see the world.” This playlist celebrates his work in his own words and through those whose work was inspired by his insights.

First: watch Mandelbrot’s TEDTalk from 2010:

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  • In a fascinating talk at TEDGlobal in 2007, mathematician Ron Eglash shows how, in cultures across the African continent, fractals are a recurring shared technology in architecture, design and culture.

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  • At TED2009, Margaret Wertheim takes us in a deep dive into the hyperbolic geometry of coral creation — via crochet.

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  • Also of interest, from the TED Blog: Our Q&A with TED Fellow Sean Gourley, whose work hints at a fractal pattern in global war.

    If Arthur Benjamin had his way, we’d teach kids about fractals early on in school: “Why not give them a taste of beautiful mathematics in addition to the useful stuff?”

    And our commenters help each other track down “Mandelbrot broccoli”