Louis Pasteur is credited with the observation that chance can only help the well-prepared mind. I also think that my long string of lucky breaks can be credited to my mode of paying attention: I look at funny things and never hesitate to ask questions. Most people would not have noticed the dirty blackboard, or looked at the article that my uncle gave me because he was not interested.

via Edge: THE FATHER OF LONG TAILS — Interview with Benoît Mandelbrot by Hans Ulrich Obrist. For extra credit and an exercise in brevity and clarity, link or write in the comments the simplest definition of “fractal” as used by Mandelbrot and Obrist in the interview.

6 thoughts on “Benoît Mandelbrot and Chance

  1. They use “fractal” pretty definitively to mean “a recursive piece” of something, with a strong emphasis on the level of a persons awareness of its existence.

    More precisely, organized chaos with a cerebral connection to natural patterns that once you can pinpoint, you are enlightened by.