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Many early societies attributed abnormal behavior to the influence of evil spirits. (read more)

Featured Article: Benoit Mandelbrot

Benoit Mandelbrot speaking about the Mandelbrot set
Benoît B. Mandelbrot (November 20, 1924 – October 14, 2010) was a Polish-born, French and American mathematician, noted for developing a "theory of roughness" in nature and the field of fractal geometry to help prove it. He is best known for coining the term "fractal," and for discovering the Mandelbrot set of intricate, never-ending fractal shapes, named in his honor.

Mandelbrot was one of the first to use computer graphics to create and display fractal geometric images, leading to his discovering the Mandelbrot set in 1979. In so doing, he was able to show how visual complexity can be created from simple rules. His innovative work with computer graphics stimulated the use of computers in mathematics in a whole new way.

Considered a maverick whose work belonged to no particular academic field, Mandelbrot's work contributed to such diverse fields as geology, medicine, cosmology, engineering, and the social sciences: Fractals have been used to describe diverse behavior in areas including economics, finance, the stock market, and astronomy.

An even greater contribution he made to human society, however, may be in showing that geometrical forms found in nature have incredible beauty.

Popular Article: Sutton Hoo

Ceremonial helmet from Sutton Hoo
Sutton Hoo, near Woodbridge, Suffolk, England, is the site of two Anglo-Saxon cemeteries of the sixth and early seventh centuries. One contains a ship burial, a rare occurrence in England, including a wealth of artifacts of outstanding art-historical and archaeological significance.

Although it is the ship-burial which commands the widest attention from tourists, there is also rich historical meaning in the two separate cemeteries, their position in relation to the Deben estuary and the North Sea, and their relation to other sites in the immediate neighborhood. The site of Sutton Hoo and the findings there have proven to be central to the understanding of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of East Anglia, a time in history which for many academics was difficult to understand because it sits on the margin between myth, legend, and historical documentation.