Friday, October 22, 2010

Fractals and Benoit Mandelbrot: Lessons for Society

Following the passing of Benoit Mandelbrot this week, Horace Campbell writes of the mathematician’s groundbreaking academic work on fractals and the concept’s historical centrality in African knowledge systems.It was announced this week that Benoit Mandelbrot passed away at the age of 85. One news source called him a ‘maverick’ mathematician. It was Mandelbrot who introduced the word ‘fractals’ to the Western world to capture an aspect of mathematics that had been resisted by the Western academy because of a worldview that would not deal with an ‘alien’ concept of uncertainty and the infinite complexity of nature. We want to use the news of his passing to bring to the fore the importance of fractals and fractal thinking in society... Read more