Benoit Mandelbrot quotes

“Bottomless wonders spring from simple rules, which are repeated without end.”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 
“Why is geometry often described as 'cold' and 'dry?' One reason lies in its inability to describe the shape of a cloud, a mountain, a coastline, or a tree. 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... Nature exhibits not simply a higher degree but an altogether different level of complexity.”
 Benoit MandelbrotSource : Michael Frame, Benoit Mandelbrot (2002). “Fractals, Graphics, and Mathematics Education”, p.150, Cambridge University Press

“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.”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 
“For most of my life, one of the persons most baffled by my own work was myself.”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 

“The most complex object in mathematics, the Mandelbrot Set ... is so complex as to be uncontrollable by mankind and describable as 'chaos'.”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 
“The most important thing I have done is to combine something esoteric with a practical issue that affects many people.”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 
“An extraordinary amount of arrogance is present in any claim of having been the first in inventing something.”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 
“A formula can be very simple, and create a universe of bottomless complexity.”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 

“The theory of probability is the only mathematical tool available to help map the unknown and the uncontrollable. It is fortunate that this tool, while tricky, is extraordinarily powerful and convenient.”
 Benoit MandelbrotSource : Benoit B. Mandelbrot (2013). “Fractals and Scaling in Finance: Discontinuity, Concentration, Risk. Selecta Volume E”, p.16, Springer Science & Business Media

“Engineering is too important to wait for science.”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 
“There is a saying that every nice piece of work needs the right person in the right place at the right time.”
 Benoit MandelbrotSource : "A Theory of Roughness". Interview with John Brockman, www.edge.org. December 20, 2004.

“A cloud is made of billows upon billows upon billows that look like clouds. As you come closer to a cloud you don't get something smooth, but irregularities at a smaller scale”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 

“Smooth shapes are very rare in the wild but extremely important in the ivory tower and the factory”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 
“Nobody will deny that there is at least some roughness everywhere”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 
“Now that I near 80, I realize with wistful pleasure that on many occasions I was 10, 20, 40, even 50 years ahead of my time”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 
“The existence of these patterns [fractals] challenges us to study forms that Euclid leaves aside as being formless, to investigate the morphology of the amorphous. Mathematicians have disdained this challenge, however, and have increasingly chosen to flee from nature by devising theories unrelated to anything we can see or feel.”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 

“There is a joke that your hammer will always find nails to hit. I find that perfectly acceptable”
 Benoit MandelbrotSource : "A Theory of Roughness". The Edge Interview, www.edge.org. December 20, 2004.

“The techniques I developed for studying turbulence, like weather, also apply to the stock market”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 
“My fate has been that what I undertook was fully understood only after the fact.”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 
“The Mandelbrot set is the most complex mathematical object known to mankind.”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 

“I conceived and developed a new geometry of nature and implemented its use in a number of diverse fields. It describes many of the irregular and fragmented patterns around us, and leads to fullfledged theories, by identifying a family of shapes I call fractals.”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 
“Science would be ruined if (like sports) it were to put competition above everything else, and if it were to clarify the rules of competition by withdrawing entirely into narrowly defined specialties. The rare scholars who are nomadsbychoice are essential to the intellectual welfare of the settled disciplines.”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 
“Round about the accredited and orderly facts of every science there ever floats a sort of dustcloud of exceptional observations, of occurrences minute and irregular and seldom met with, which it always proves more easy to ignore than to attend to.”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 
“Think of color, pitch, loudness, heaviness, and hotness. Each is the topic of a branch of physics”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 

“When the weather changes, nobody believes the laws of physics have changed. Similarly, I don't believe that when the stock market goes into terrible gyrations its rules have changed”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 
“A fractal is a way of seeing infinity.”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 
“Beautiful, damn hard, increasingly useful. That's fractals.”
 Benoit MandelbrotSource : "Ig Nobels Highlight Science of a Special Kind". "Talk of the Nation: Science Friday", www.npr.org. November 24, 2006.


“A fractal is a mathematical set or concrete object that is irregular or fragmented at all scales.”
 Benoit MandelbrotSource : The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 91, No. 9, (p. 594), November 1984.

“I claim that many patterns of Nature are so irregular and fragmented, that, compared with Euclida term used in this work to denote all of standard geometryNature exhibits not simply a higher degree but an altogether different level of complexity ... The existence of these patterns challenges us to study these forms that Euclid leaves aside as being "formless," to investigate the morphology of the "amorphous."”
 Benoit MandelbrotSource : The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 91, No. 9, (p. 594), November 1984.

“If you assume continuity, you can open the wellstocked mathematical toolkit of continuous functions and differential equations, the saws and hammers of engineering and physics for the past two centuries (and the foreseeable future).”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 
“Unfortunately, the world has not been designed for the convenience of mathematicians.”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 

“I was asking questions which nobody else had asked before, because nobody else had actually looked at certain structures. Therefore, as I will tell, the advent of the computer, not as a computer but as a drawing machine, was for me a major event in my life. That's why I was motivated to participate in the birth of computer graphics, because for me computer graphics was a way of extending my hand, extending it and being able to draw things which my hand by itself, and the hands of nobody else before, would not have been able to represent.”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 
“If you have a hammer, use it everywhere you can, but I do not claim that everything is fractal.”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 
“Being a language, mathematics may be used not only to inform but also, among other things, to seduce.”
 Benoit MandelbrotSource : "Fractals: Form, Chance and Dimension". Book by Benoit Mandelbrot, 1977.

“Think not of what you see, but what it took to produce what you see.”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 

“Fractal geometry is not just a chapter of mathematics, but one that helps Everyman to see the same world differently.”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 
“I conceived, developed and applied in many areas a new geometry of nature, which finds order in chaotic shapes and processes. It grew without a name until 1975, when I coined a new word to denote it, fractal geometry, from the Latin word for irregular and broken up, fractus. Today you might say that, until fractal geometry became organized, my life had followed a fractal orbit.”
 Benoit MandelbrotSource : "Encyclopedia of World Biography" edited by Thomson Gale, 1997.

“Although computer memory is no longer expensive, there's always a finite size buffer somewhere. When a big piece of news arrives, everybody sends a message to everybody else, and the buffer fills”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 
“I don't seek power and do not run around”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 

“I was in an industrial laboratory because academia found me unsuitable”
 Benoit Mandelbrot 
“For much of my life there was no place where the things I wanted to investigate were of interest to anyone.”
 Benoit Mandelbrot
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