Some leaders earn their berth through their execution skills. Others get ahead through their ideas.
Mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot fell into the second group. He coined the term “fractal” to describe a new class of geometric forms whose uneven contours mimicked irregularities in nature, such as the outlines of clouds and coastlines.
He preferred to “stimulate the field by making bold and crazy conjectures.” Then he’d move on to the next big idea before his theories had been verified.
Result? In mathematics and applied science, Mandelbrot became one of the most important figures of the 20th century.
— Adapted from “Benoit Mandelbrot, Novel Mathematician, Dies at 85,” Jascha Hoffman, The New York Times.
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