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Mandelbrot, father of fractals, to speak at UCR

Mandelbrot, father of fractals, to speak at UCR

(September 7, 2000)

Note:Dr. Mandelbrot was originally scheduled to speak in Sproul 1102. That has been changed to Watkins 1000.

One of the world's most influential scientists, Benoit B. Mandelbrot, will give a free Regents Lecture at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6 in Watkins 1000 at the University of California, Riverside.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences and winner of the Wolf Prize for Physics, Mandelbrot is known as the 'father of fractals,' a concept that has influenced disciplines as varied as computer programming, art, mathematics, music, solid state physics and economics. A fractal is an irregular geometric shape that has an identical structure at all scales.

His public lecture, entitled 'Fractals, from Art to Art, through Mathematics, Physics and Finance,' is intended to be wide-ranging and accessible to the general audience. Parking for this event will cost $3.

In his 1983 book, 'The Fractal Geometry of Nature,' Mandelbrot explained how this new fractal geometry could be used to study things previously thought to be chaotic: coastlines, clouds, lungs, trees, arteries, errors in phone lines, the distribution of galaxies and the dynamics of the stock market, to list just a few. In the early 1990s, he discovered what is known as 'the Mandelbrot set,' one of the most complex objects in all of mathematics.

Born in Poland, Mandelbrot moved with part of his family to France and studied at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris. He holds a M.S. and an aeronautical engineering degree from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Paris. In 1958, he began a long association with IBM's research laboratories in New York, where he is IBM Fellow Emeritus of the T.J. Watson Research Center.

Mandelbrot joined the Yale faculty in 1987 and was later named the Abraham Robinson Professor of Mathematics. He is now a 'Sterling Professor,' the highest academic title available at Yale.

He has held visiting professorships at Harvard University, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the University of Paris-Sud, among others.

Mandelbrot's visit is organized by UCR Professor of Mathematics Michel L. Lapidus and sponsored by the UCR departments of mathematics and physics, with support from the UC Regents Lecturer Fund.

During his weeklong stay in Riverside, Professor Mandelbrot will hold informal office hours on campus. He is also the featured speaker at two formal lectures geared for academics and other scientific professionals, sponsored by the departments of mathematics and physics.

Maps and directions are available at UCR information kiosks located at the University Avenue and the Canyon Crest Drive campus entrances. Visitor parking costs up to $6 for a day.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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