Google has replaced their homepage logo to honor Benoit Mandelbrot, a Polish mathematician. He is also known as “father of fractal geometry”. Google’s present doodle is to honor him on his 96th birthday celebration. Benoit Mandelbrot was on 1924 in Warsaw, Poland and has moved to France after World War 2 broke out. He earned a master’s degree in aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology, and in 1958. He worked in IBM and has a long association with IBM’s Watson Research Center.
He always wondered about shapes found in nature that aren’t flat. “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,” he wrote in his seminal book The Fractal Geometry of Nature.
Benoit Mandelbrot is remembered for his work with fractals in mathematics. He coined the term fractals in 1975 to describe a new branch of geometry that sought to make sense of the irregular shapes and processes found in nature. Benoit and IBM made significant contribution to computer science by digitally recreate fractals, “Mandelbrot set”. This leds to his breakthrough and the publishing of his famous 1982 book The Fractal Geometry of Nature.
Mandelbrot developed much of the formula he used to describe the phenomenon and worked in relative obscurity for 35 years before accepting a position at Yale University in 1987 as a mathematics professor. He won numerous awards for his work, including the Wolf Foundation Prize for Physics in 1993 and passed away in 2010 aged 85. Also a small asteroid, 27500, was named in honor to him in 2000. His researches has made valuable contributions to a wide array of fields, including physics, finance, medicine, geology and even art.
The search engine giant’s doodle shows Benoit Mandelbrot standing in front of a chalkboard, in the midst of a lesson about fractals and the first “o” of Google has been replaced with a koch snowflake. Google has also included some thoughts from Benoit’s son, Didier Mandelbrot over the doodle blog: “Throughout his life, Benoit was driven by curiosity. His memory was prodigious; he played with ideas, always looking for connections. Consequently, he could have interesting conversations with almost anyone, from brilliant scientists and artists to humble machinists and school children. So much of science is about specializing, looking ever more closely at ever narrower parts of the world. Benoit was a rare person who looked more broadly and by this, saw more deeply”. Google has also included an interactive fractal viewer. Here you can zoom in and out of a Mandelbrot set illustration.