# Benoit B. Mandelbrot

Wolf Prize Laureate in Physics 1993

**Benoit B. Mandelbrot**

#### Affiliation at the time of the award:

**IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center****, USA**

#### Award citation:

**“by recognizing the widespread occurrence of fractals and developing mathematical tools for describing them, he has changed our view of nature”.**

#### Prize share:

**None**

Benoit B. Mandelbrot (born in 1924, Poland) studied mathematics, earning degrees from universities in Paris and the United States. He furthered his academic pursuits by obtaining a master’s degree in aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology. Throughout his illustrious career, Mandelbrot split his professional endeavors between the United States and France. In 1958, Mandelbrot a long career at IBM, eventually attaining the esteemed position of IBM Fellow. Concurrently, he took periodic leaves of absence to share his knowledge as a teacher at Harvard University. At Harvard, he delved into economics and applied sciences, contributing significantly to these fields, particularly with his noteworthy study on U.S. commodity markets in connection to cotton futures.

Dr. Benoit B. Mandelbrot’s work has opened up an entirely new field of scientific endeavour. Starting with his classic 1967 paper, “How Long is the Coast of Britain? Self Similarity and Fractional Dimension”, Mandelbrot has concerned himself with complex structures that appear to repeat themselves when examined on successively finer and finer scales. He has extensively developed the concept of non-integral dimensions, earlier considered a mathematical abstraction, and has shown that they can have real physical meaning and practical application. His research has opened up quantitative methods for the study of intricate realistic geometries and has transformed our view of nature.

The idea of statistical self-similarity, involving structures that Mandelbrot has termed “fractals”, has been successfully applied to diverse fields of research including aggregates and amorphous materials, fluid turbulence, percolation, clouds, galaxies, computer color graphics, maps and landscapes, white noise and random notion, catalysts, complex proteins, and even economics.

For his single-handed initiation of a new field of science, for recognizing the implications and applications to physics and to other scientific disciplines, and for developing the mathematical tools appropriate to these studies, Benoit B. Mandelbrot is awarded the Physics Prize for 1993.