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Raising horses


Lyon during the occupation
Benoît Mandelbrot Mathematician
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Now that was these few weeks under Monsieur Croissal, in that place, which were so central to my life. Lyons was a centre of many things happening. I was warned to avoid going downtown, ever, because if I were caught terrible things will happen, and now we know who was there. He was caught and judged. Lyons was also the centre of various Resistance and anti-Resistance activities, but for me Lyon was not that. I just stayed effectively in that school, day and night, seven days a week, because I had absolutely no money, and because I was afraid that, if caught, my official identity - which was quite inaccurate - would have been seen through and led to trouble. So you were effectively in disguise? Oh yes. From shortly after my high school graduation to the liberation of Paris, I was in disguise. Well, I could tell stories of how it came to be, but they are more the kind of stories you can read about in time of war. I wouldn't like to repeat which was, how to say, events which other people have been subjected to and which may have no relevance to my future life, but only those which had an effect.

Benoît Mandelbrot (1924-2010) discovered his ability to think about mathematics in images while working with the French Resistance during the Second World War, and is famous for his work on fractal geometry - the maths of the shapes found in nature.

Listeners: Daniel Zajdenweber Bernard Sapoval

Daniel Zajdenweber is a Professor at the College of Economics, University of Paris.

Bernard Sapoval is Research Director at C.N.R.S. Since 1983 his work has focused on the physics of fractals and irregular systems and structures and properties in general. The main themes are the fractal structure of diffusion fronts, the concept of percolation in a gradient, random walks in a probability gradient as a method to calculate the threshold of percolation in two dimensions, the concept of intercalation and invasion noise, observed, for example, in the absorbance of a liquid in a porous substance, prediction of the fractal dimension of certain corrosion figures, the possibility of increasing sharpness in fuzzy images by a numerical analysis using the concept of percolation in a gradient, calculation of the way a fractal model will respond to external stimulus and the correspondence between the electrochemical response of an irregular electrode and the absorbance of a membrane of the same geometry.

Duration: 1 minute, 39 seconds

Date story recorded: May 1998

Date story went live: 24 January 2008