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What’s a fractal?

Just one of the main building blocks of the universe. Known as ‘God’s thumbprint,’ these simple math formulas reveal the intricate recursive patterns found within nature, yet still remain one of science’s best-kept secrets. Follow along as we explore the contours, curiosities and creator of this beautiful wonder of the computer age.

"A fractal is a way of seeing infinity." —Benoit B. Mandelbrot

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Meet the Fellows

Learn more about the class of ’14

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Shopping in your PJs, 1994
Another groundbreaking
innovation of 
the last 20 years

Whether you’re in the market for miso ramen flavored ice cream, the hair from your favorite dead celebrity or the latest in steampunk couture, there’s shelf space for even the most eccentric of tastes in that great big virtual store in the cloud we call the Internet.

And finding live Madagascan cockroaches to send to that cheating ex-girlfriend of yours, in just a matter of minutes, wouldn’t be possible, if it wasn’t for IBM US patent No. 5,319,542. This essential invention put the e in e-commerce, by electronically matching what customers are looking to buy with items merchants are looking to sell. It’s hard to imagine a time when computers weren’t our personal grand bazaars for the bizarre. Or just a convenient way to buy books and shoes.

Learn more about it

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20 over 20 | Patent no. 15





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