I am not much of a mathematician, but I appreciate the mathematical beuaty of Benoit B Mandelbrot's fractal. Mandelbrot died a couple of days ago leaving behind a rich legacy of contributions to the world of mathematics. He coined the term fractal and developed the Mandelbrot Set, a simple definition to capture a complex structure. Apparently his work in this area began when he was looking at maps of the UK and trying to determine if it was possible to measure the coastline-this question gave the world a great gift-the fractal a non-Euclidean approach to mathematics which visualized and offers a reminder of the universe's complexity. There is a nice obituary in today's Guardian which explains his work in a bit more detail. I love the fact that the 'B' in his name is just that, a 'B'--he had no middle name, he just added it because he liked it.