About the Benoit Mandelbrot Fractal Art Contest 2007

From our Honorary Chairman, Benoit Mandelbrot:

Benoit B. MandelbrotWelcome to the participants of the second international Benoit Mandelbrot Fractal Art Contest!

I am very proud of being once again the Honorary Chairman of this contest. The participants have a very specific and hard goal to meet: equal or surpass last year’s competition. It was an astonishing event, both at the International Congress of Mathematicians and at the museum downtown. I am an inveterate optimist, but never expected to see a crowd standing in a long line to be allowed to admire mathematics in any of its forms. The organizers, sponsors, and producers of that exhibit have every reason to be proud. They deserve high praise and the waiting line deserves some thought and comment.

What distinguishes fractal geometry within mathematics is an exceptional and uncanny characteristic. Its first steps are not tedious, hard, and unrewarding, but playful and extraordinarily easy, and provide rich reward in terms of stunning graphics. To the mathematician, they bring a bounty of very difficult conjectures that no one can solve. To the artist, they provide backbones around which imagination can play at will. To everyone, a few steps in about any direction bring extraordinary pleasure. Nothing is more serious than play. Let’s all play.

—Benoit Mandelbrot