benoît mandelbrot died on october 14th, 2010 at the age of 85.
he was the mathematician who invented fractals: rough (not smooth) geometric shapes that have the cool property that if you look at small parts of the whole, they look (almost) exactly like the whole, only smaller. here is the famous mandelbrot set:
fractals occur all over in nature including clouds, snow flakes, crystals, mountain ranges, lightning, river networks, cauliflower or broccoli, and even our blood vessels.
in july of this year, mandelbrot gave an interesting TED talk called Fractals and the art of roughness describing how he came about the idea of fractals, and how they are used in a wide variety of ways today:
ps. someone sent me this fractal which could sort of maybe loosely qualify as dirty space news.