All posts filed under: Chaos

Now Chaos Is “Enhanced”

“Enhanced” is the word of the day for e-books. It strikes fear into the hearts of some authors, and maybe some readers, too. There is the question of hyperlinks. Let’s say my book begins this way: The police in the small town of Los Alamos, New Mexico, worried briefly in 1974 … One doesn’t want the reader yanked away to a page listing the Great Luxury Hotels of Los Alamos. Or to any page. One wants the reader to get sucked into the book, there to remain. Yet e-books have new possibilities, and authors are beginning to explore them. The very creative people at Open Road Media have now published two of my books, Chaos and Genius, in electronic form, for all devices. The enhanced Chaos gave us a chance to illustrate some of the ideas and the science in ways that break through the limitations of the printed page. Strange attractors are not, after all, static two-dimensional objects; with videos and applets, we can present them as they were meant to be seen all along. …

That Rogue Accent

The keen-eyed among you have asked why I spell Benoit one way here (and in Chaos) and a different way, with a circumflex atop the i, in the New York Times Magazine. The answer is that the newspaper of record has erred. There was a complex late-night accident, it seems. Anyway, it’s correct this way: Benoit Mandelbrot. For the record.

An inscription by Benoit Mandelbrot

I’m working on a short piece about Benoit Mandelbrot for the Times Magazine’s year-end “Lives They Lived” issue, and I came across this curiosity in his (as he called it) “Scrapbook.” It’s an item from The Bulletin (Australian weekly magazine now, sadly, defunct) written in February 1990 by Charles Boag. The reporter, in Sydney, observed “a big well-dressed man who looks like a heavyweight boxer with his winnings in property but who turns out to be famous Chaoticist Benoit B. Mandelbrot.” Mandelbrot was signing a book for another man, who turned out to be Barry Jones, Minister for Science. It was my book Chaos, in which Mandelbrot, of course, plays a leading role. The reporter peeked at what Mandelbrot was writing, and this is what he saw: All compliments from one of the ‘rats’ whom the author of this book has made run through labyrinths and has observed so expertly. I guess he had mixed feelings about it.