France's Sarkozy hails Mandelbrot as 'a powerful mind'
French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Saturday paid tribute to the late French-American mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot, saying he had "a powerful, original mind".
Mandelbrot, who explored a new class of mathematical shapes known as "fractals", died at age 85 on Thursday. His wife Aliette told the New York Times he died of pancreatic cancer at a hospice.
Mandelbrot had "a powerful, original mind that never shied away from innovation and battering preconceived ideas", said Sarkozy in a statement published by his office.
"His work, which was entirely developed outside the main research channels, led to a modern information theory," he added.
Sarkozy said Mandelbrot had been "very critical of the prevailing banking models", adding that his "warnings were not heeded".
"France is proud to have received Benoit Mandelbrot and to have allowed him to benefit from the best education."
Born in Warsaw in 1924 of a Jewish Lithuanian family, Mandelbrot fled likely Nazi persecution and settled in France before going to the United States after World War II.
© 2010 AFP