Mandelbrot's 1982 book titled "The Fractal Geometry of Nature" argued that irregular mathematical objects (fractals) were a reflection of nature. Fractals are found in many parts of nature--in objects such as cauliflower, broccoli, clouds, lightning bolts, and snowflakes, as well as in coastlines, mountain ranges, and animal patterns.
Mandelbrot was born in Poland in 1924, but moved to France as a young child (in 1936, before the Nazi regime). He spent most of his professional life working at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center, but later became Sterling Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Yale University.
He leaves behind his wife, Aliette, two sons, and three grandchildren.