Vita & publications

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Benoit B. Mandelbrot

February 23, 2010


The question seems plain and without malice. Indeed, actual numbers are often given.

But they disagree and – other than variants of « many » – most of them are meaningless, because they give equal weight to fleas and elephants.
This Vita’s arrangement discourages the search for a single numerical answer.

  • Articles called « principal » are numbered, but the rule that singles them out

is not defined. Besides, several items in the list could have been split.

  • Moreover, many items in the list are followed by « variants » that range from

simple or slightly revised reprints to pieces that do not stand alone but are fairly


OTHER SOURCES, of which no approval of any sort is either expressed or implied.

Several specific-language versions of Google and other search engines include

entries on Benoit Mandelbrot. Be sure to input both the surname, Benoit, and the

name, Mandelbrot. Here are a few examples.

The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive

Spanish translation of the above
Encyclopedia of World Biography
Wikipedia Biography
NNDB Biography

Born 20 November 1924, Warsaw, PL. United States Citizen.

1945-47 Ingénieur diplômé: Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, FR; Admission class of 1944.

1947-49 Master of Science in 1948, Professional Engineer in 1949, both in Aeronautics:

California Institute of Technology, Pasadena CA.

1949-52 Docteur d'Etat ès Sciences Mathématiques: Faculté des Sciences, Paris, FR.

1953-54 Post-doctoral Member sponsored by John von Neumann.
School of Mathematics of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton NJ.

1949-57 Staff member (Attaché, then Chargé, then Maître de Recherches):

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, FR.

1957-58 Maître de Conférences de Mathématiques Appliquées: Université, Lille, FR. Maître de Conférences d'Analyse Mathématique: École Polytechnique, Paris, FR.

1958– Research Staff Member until 1974; then IBM Fellow; since 1993 IBM Fellow Emeritus:

IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights NY.

1987-99 Abraham Robinson Adjunct Professor of Mathematical Sciences;

1999-2004 Sterling Professor of Mathematical Sciences (first tenured appointment);

2005– Sterling Professor of Mathematical Sciences, Emeritus & Senior Lecturer;

Mathematics Department, Yale University, New Haven CT. [Doctoral Students]

1988– Fellow: Saybrook College of Yale University, New Haven CT.


    1. Ingénieur, Groupe de Télévision en Couleur: LEP, S.A. (Groupe Philips), Paris, FR.

1953-54 Member of the School of Mathematics: Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton NJ.

1955-57 Chargé de Cours de Mathématiques & Membre du Séminaire Jean Piaget:

Université, Genève, CH.

1962-63 Visiting Professor of Economics & Research Fellow in Psychology:

Harvard University, Cambridge MA.

1963-64 Visiting Professor of Applied Mathematics & Staff Member of the Joint Committee

on Biomedical Computer Science: Harvard University, Cambridge MA.

1966-67 Professeur invité de Mathématiques: Faculté des Sciences, Paris, FR.

1970 Visiting Professor of Engineering & Applied Science: Yale University, New Haven CT.

1979-80 Visiting Professor, later Professor of the Practice of Mathematics.

1984-86 Mathematics Department: Harvard University, Cambridge MA.

1995 Professeur de l’Académie des Sciences: École Polytechnique, Palaiseau, FR.

1997– Member: Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, New Haven CT.

1999 G.C. Steward Visiting Fellow: Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, UK.

1999 Member: Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge, UK.

2005-07 Battelle Fellow, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Cambridge MA.


1989, 2006 Chevalier en 1989, Officier en 2006: Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur,

Paris, FR.

1953-71 Research Associate, later Lecturer in Electrical Engineering, most recently

Institute Lecturer: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge MA.
1969-77 Senior Staff Member: National Bureau of Economic Research, New York NY.
1972 Visiting Professor of Physiology: Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx NY.
1974 Visiting Professor of Physiology: SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn NY.

Abraham Wald Memorial Lecturer: Columbia University, New York NY.

Samuel Wilks Memorial Lecturer: Princeton University, Princeton NJ.

1980 Visiteur: Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (IHES), Bures-sur-Yvette, FR.

1980-82 National Lecturer: Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society of America.
1983 45 min Lecturer, Int’l Congress of Mathematicians (IMU), Warszawa, PL.

Distinguished Short-Term Visiting Professor: University of Guelph, Guelph ON, CA.

James Hudnall Distinguished Visiting Lecturer: University of Chicago, Chicago IL.
1984, 2001, Visitor: Mittag-Leffler Institute, Djursholm, SE.

2002, 2004

1984 Walker-Ames Distinguished Professor: University of Washington, Seattle WA.
1987 Gunnar Källen Memorial Lecturer: University, Lund, SE.
1987 Heisenberg Lecturer: Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Münich, DE.

1987, 2000 Regents’ Lecturer: University of California, Santa Cruz CA; Riverside CA.

1987-94 Charter Member: Geometry Center, Minneapolis MN.

1988 Six Hundredth Anniversary, University of Cologne, DE.

1990 Fractals and Music Event (with C. Wuorinen), Guggenheim Museum, New York NY.

Rouse Ball Lecturer in Mathematical Science: University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Cherwell-Simon Lecturer in Physics: University of Oxford, Oxford, UK. 1991

Schrödinger Lecturer: Imperial College, London, UK.

1992 Charles M. and Martha Hitchcock Professor: University of California, Berkeley CA.

Int’l Congress of Mathematics Education: Québec, CA.

1994 Vito Volterra Lecturer: Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Roma, IT.

1997 Celsius Lecturer: University, Uppsala, SE.

1998 R. & B. Sackler Visiting Professor: University, Oslo, NO.

1999 Scott Lecturer in Physics: Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, UK.

G.C. Stewart Lecturer: Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, UK.

2001 Sonja Kovalevsky-dagarna: Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, SE.

E. Lorenz Lecturer: Annual Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, San Francisco CA.

2005 Wacław Sierpiński Lecturer, University, Warszawa, PL.

Honorary Distinguished Visiting Fellow: Hughes Hall (a College), Cambridge, UK.

2006 Einstein Public Lecturer: American Mathematical Society, San Francisco CA.

Plenary Lecturer: Int’l Congress of Mathematicians (IMU), Madrid, ES.


1982– Fellow: American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Cambridge MA.

1987– Foreign Associate; later (since 2001) Member: USA National Academy of Sciences,

Washington DC.

• “…His creative thinking was essential for physicists working in diverse fields to capture the essence of previously intractable problems and to unveil order and simplicity in systems with a seemingly high degree of disorder, irregularity, and complexity….”

Member ex officio: Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, Hartford CT.

Member: European Academy of Arts, Sciences and Humanities, Paris, FR.

1989-93 Member (ex officio, as IBM Fellow): IBM Academy of Technology, Armonk NY.

1998– Foreign Member: Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Oslo, NO.

2004– Member, American Philosophical Society for Promoting Useful Knowledge, Philadelphia PA.

• “…Fractal geometry, which he pioneered and named, also changed the way students and the world at large view mathematics and science. In pure mathematics, examination of masterful computer graphics led him to conjectures of great taste and difficulty that brought several slowly moving fields to intense activity. His observations revived iteration theory after a half century of forced inactivity; but his MLC conjecture (that the "Mandelbrot set is locally connected") is still unsolved after more than a quarter century. In probability theory, his conjecture that the boundary of a segment of Brownian notion is of dimension 4/3 was only proved after 18 years. He broadened the scope of physics by quantifying for the first time a holdover basic sensation, showing that the roughness of typical surfaces can actually be measured by a fractal dimension or Hölder exponent that turned out to be a new "universal." He showed how the support of intermittent turbulence can be measured and how the physics of diverse clusters is determined by their fractal geometry. In economics he enunciated the scaling principle in the 1960s, and his models for price variation, including his later notion of variable (fractal) trading time, are central to current developments in finance. …”


1986- Member, Franklin Institute Society of Laureates, Philadelphia PA.

1987– Honored by a tree with a plaque, Nobel Lane, Balantonfüred, HU.

1988– Namesake, The Mandelbrot Competition in Mathematics for High School Students, Boston MA.

1988– Honorary Member, The United Mine Workers of America Local. Sudbury, Ontario, CA.

1998– Distinguished Science Sponsor, New York Hall of Science, Queens NY.

2000– Namesake, minor planet 27500, Discovered Apr 12, 2000 by Paul G. Comba, Prescott AZ.

2003– Honoree, Wall of Fame — 152 Pioneers of Computer Technology.

Heinz Nixdorf Museum, Paderborn, DE.

2005– Namesake, Benoit Mandelbrot Laboratory for Mathematical and Computational Biology,

Sichuan University, Chengdu, CN.

2005– Patron, European Science Education web portal Xplora.

2006– Sponsor, Benoit Mandelbrot Fractal Art Contest: in 2006, ICM Madrid, ES; in 2008,

San Sebastian, ES; in 2010, ICM Hyderabad, IN.

2007– Namesake, Mandelbrotovy Kostičky, Praha, CZ.

2009- Transcendant Satrape (that is, member), Collège de Pataphysique, Paris, FR.


 Two diamonds mark key awards;  One diamond marks principal awards.

1974  IBM Fellowship: IBM Corporation, Armonk NY.

“There are few contemporary scholars who have made such penetrating contributions to as many fields of physical and social science…In his work, both in depth and range, he is the world leader. His success, where others have faltered, has been due to a combination of command of mathematical tools, extraordinary breadth, and even rarer intellectual courage.”

1983, 84 Research Division Outstanding Innovation Award in 1983; Corporate Award in 1984:
IBM Corporation, Armonk NY.

1985  Barnard Medal for Meritorious Service to Science, “Magna est Veritas:”

USA National Academy of Sciences, Washington DC, & Columbia University, New York NY.

“In the great tradition of natural philosophers past you looked at the world around you on a broader canvas.”

1986  Franklin Medal for Signal and Eminent Service in Science: The Franklin Institute,
Philadelphia PA.

“For outstanding contributions to mathematics and the creation of the field of fractal geometry, and important and illuminating applications of this new concept to many fields of science.”

1988 Charles Proteus Steinmetz Medal: IEEE Local Chapter, General Electric Company, and

Union College, Schenectady NY.

“Fractals have given new insights into every field of science, mathematics, engineering, economics, psychology, art, and literature.”

 Alumni Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Achievement:

California Institute of Technology, Pasadena CA.

“[Gave] insight into such complex phenomena as turbulence of liquids...”

Senior Award (Humboldt Preis): Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, Bonn, DE.

 “Science for Art” Prize: Fondation Moët-Hennessy-Louis Vuitton, Paris, FR.

1989  Harvey Prize for Science and Technology:

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, IL.

1991 Nevada Prize: University of Nevada System and Desert Research Institute.

“Startled scientists, mathematicians and artists alike in 1975 [by] unveiling a dramatic new approach for describing what had previously seemed indescribable.”

1993  Wolf Prize for Physics: Wolf Foundation to Promote Science and Art for the Benefit of Mankind, Herzliyah, IL.

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

1994 Honda Prize: Soichiro Honda Foundation of Japan, Tokyo, JP.

“Identified substantial bridges over the chasms that now separate mathematics, science and technology from one another and from the interests of the common man and the child...”

1996 Médaille de Vermeil de la Ville de Paris: Hôtel de Ville, Paris, FR.

“On vous considère, à juste titre, comme le pionnier d'une nouvelle vision de notre monde... Votre démarche... constitue un effort pour rendre compte de phénomènes dont la théorie ne savait que faire.”

1999 John Scott Award: John Scott Fund, Philadelphia PA.

for “Ingenious Men and Women Who Contribute in Some Outstanding Way to the Comfort, Welfare, or Happiness of Mankind.”

Lewis Fry Richardson Medal: European Geophysical Society.

for his “pioneering contributions to the development and applications of scale-invariance and fractal geometry to non-linear geophysics.”

2002 Sven Berggren Priset: Kungliga Fysiografika Sällskapet, Lund, SE.
(Academy for the Natural Sciences, Medicine and Technology)

Medaglia della Prezidenza della Repubblica Italiana: Centro Pio Manzu, Rimini, IT.

William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement:
Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society of America.

2003  Japan Prize for Science and Technology:

Science and Technology Foundation of Japan, Tokyo, JP.

for “a substantial contribution to the advancement of science and technology as well as to the peace and prosperity of mankind.”

Best Business Book of the Year Award: The Financial Times Deutschland/getAbstract.

for the book The (mis)Behavior of Markets: A Fractal View of Risk, Ruin and Reward.

2005 Władysław Orlicz Prize: Mathematical Institute of Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, PL.

Wacław Sierpiński Prize: Polish Mathematical Society and Warsaw University.

Casimir Frank Natural Sciences Award. Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America (PIASA)

“…there is no man who so shaped the mathematical imagination of our time as Benoit Mandelbrot.”
2006 Fellowship in the C. E. Schmidt Hall of Fame: Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton FL.


1953-54 Scholar of the Rockefeller Foundation – as John von Neumann’s postdoc in Princeton (IAS).

1968 Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (resigned).

passim Grants from the Office of Naval Research – for research in physics.

passim Grants from the National Science Foundation – for summer workshops that introduced the use of fractals in high school and college education.


1986 Doctor of Science & Engineering Commencement Speaker: Syracuse University, Syracuse NY.

“Your interests transcend conventional disciplinary bounds and your work in its breadth and depth speeds the way toward unraveling secrets of the universe.”

Commencement Speaker: St. John’s College, Annapolis MD.

Doctor of Science: Laurentian University/Université Laurentienne, Sudbury ON, CA.

1987 Doctor of Science: Boston University, Boston MA.

“What you have named `fractal geometry’ describes ... as well the ... commodities market ... and a myriad of phenomena [that point] to a symmetry of pattern within each of the meldings, branchings, and hatterings of nature. [You are honored] for your prolonged and energetic refusal to confine yourself within accepted rigidities [and] for the scientific, mathematical, and aesthetic insights by which you have brought us closer to the character of the universe.”

1988 Doctor of Science: State University of New York, Albany NY.

Doktor: Universität Bremen, Bremen, DE.

“For setting standards, as a wanderer-by-choice between the disciplines and between theory and applications.”

Doctor of Humane Letters: Pace University, New York NY.

“For bringing an unsuspected new form of beauty to mathematics, for giving new dimension to our lives.”

1989 Doctor of Science & Commencement Speaker: University of Guelph, Guelph ON, CA.

• “Has reshaped our vision of geometry. Is one of that small number of scientists whose ideas not only have a major impact upon science but also on the popular domain.”

1992 Doctor of Science & Commencement Speaker: University of Dallas, Irving TX.

1993 Doctor of Science & Founders Day Speaker: Union College, Schenectady NY.

Engineering Commencement Speaker: Université de Franche-Comté, Besançon, FR.

Doctor (in absentia): Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, AR.

1995 Doctor Philosophiae: Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, IL.

“For pioneering work... which broke new ground in the analysis of complex physical systems.”

1998 Doctor of Science: Open University, Commencement in London, UK

“[He investigated Julia sets] and thereby discovered a related set of extraordinary complexity and beauty which is named after him. The Mandelbrot set has now been studied in great depth, leading to profound mathematical insights. At the same time, the creation of pictures of these exquisite sets has become an art form in its own right... Our course M337 Complex Analysis has a unit entirely devoted to the Mandelbrot set, and many students report that this is the high point of their studies.”

Doctor of Science: Οικονομικο Πανεπιστημιο Αθηνων

(University of Business & Commerce) Athens, GR.

1999 Doctor of Science: University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Scotland, UK.

“…created an entirely new geometry with as much system and generality as that of Euclid and a new physical science. Not overawed by tradition or authority…saw that the overwhelming smoothness paradigm with which mathematical physics had attempted to describe Nature was radically flawed and incomplete…Chancellor, as your predecessor…Lord Balfour in 1911 honoured Georg Cantor, I take the greatest pleasure in inviting you to honor a great mathematician of a great mathematical age.”

Master of Arts Ad Privatim: Yale University, New Haven CT.

2002 Doctor of Science: Emory University, Atlanta GA.

“Your path-breaking study of fractals not only has established a prominent field worth of study in its own right but also influenced a broad range of other fields, from architecture to ecology, economics, linguistics, neuroscience, and cinematic techniques.”

2005 Doctor of Civil Engineering: Politecnico, Torino, Piedmonte, IT.

“founder of Fractal Geometry and … a figure of outstanding achievement in all the areas of Applied Science. In the field of Civil Engineering, … through the identification of the fractal nature of fracture surfaces, he paved the way for the attainment of fundamental results such as the definition of the role of microstructural disorder and the scale effects on the fracture energy of materials.”

2006 Doctor of Medicine and Surgery, Università degli Studi, Bari, Puglia, IT.

2010 Doctor of Humane Letters, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore MD.


American Physical Society (F).

“For the development of fractal geometry, ... and ... its first applications in physics.”

American Association for the Advancement of Science (F).

American Geophysical Union (F).

“For [improving] understanding of order and scale in geophysical processes.”

American Mathematical Society (M).

American Statistical Association (inactive F).

“For many ingenious contributions to stochastic models in several fields.”

Econometric Society (inactive F).

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (inactive F).

“For contributions to information theory and its applications, and to understanding of 1/f noise.”

Institute of Mathematical Statistics (inactive F).

Int’l Statistical Institute (inactive M).

Materials Research Society (inactive M).

Société Mathématique de France (inactive M).

Société Physique de France (honorary M).


1964-82 Editorial Board of the journal Information and Control.

1969-72 Committee on the Applications of Mathematics: USA National Academy of Sciences.

1974-78 Editorial Board of the Journal of Financial Economics.

1982-88 Editorial Board of the journal Pure and Applied Geophysics.

1984– Editorial Board of the journal Advances in Applied Mathematics.

1989-92 Editorial Board of the Journal of Visual Communication and Image Representation.

1990-91 Advisory Board of the journal Experimental Mathematics.

1990-92 Advisory Panel of the journal Mathematics Review.

1990-95 Advisory Board of the journal Physica A.

1992– Honorary Editor, Fractals: An Interdisciplinary Journal on the Complex Geometry of Nature.

1993-96 Commission on Mathematical Physics (C18), Int’l Union on Pure and Applied Physics.

1993– Founder and President, Mandelbrot Foundation for Fractals.

1995– Scientific Council, Me Vis, Bremen, DE.

2001– Advisory Board of the journal Quantitative Finance.

2004– Advisory Board of the journal Annals of Finance.

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