If only I woke up a minute later…

When I first looked up chaos theory I got a load of this…

Figure 1: Lorenz's experiment: the difference between the starting values of these curves is only .000127.  (Ian Stewart, Does God Play Dice? The Mathematics of Chaos, pg. 141)Figure 3: The bifurcation diagram for the population equation.  (James Gleick, Chaos - Making a New Science, pg. 71)Chaos - Figure 4: The Koch curve (James Gleick, Chaos - Making a New Science, pg. 99)

Thus… nothing made sense.
Then i remembered a scene from Benjamin Button… Click this.

After watching that clip again it made more sense. Though I still wondered how this came to be a scientific theory. To me it just seems to be how life goes, but there is an explanation for everything.

Conceptualizing these occurrences begun in 1961 when Edward Lorentz was using his computer to forecast the weather. He needed to run his calculations again but instead of inserting all the information in again he saved some from the previous run. To his surprise the result was completely different then his first. Checking his process he realized he rounded a couple numbers and this was the cause of change. This proved to him that the most minuscule change could cause a dramatic change in results. He called it the butterfly effect. From this he also concluded that predicting long-term weather forecasts would be impossible to predict.

Chaos theory is the study of nonlinear dynamics. This might sound strange because the word “chaos” when talking about chaos theory is defined as an “apparent lack of order in a system that nevertheless obeys particular laws or rules” and not how we usually associate it as simply being disorderly. This science is non linear thus it cannot be predicted. It also the reason it is challenged to be a science at all because of the lack of hard evidence. But chaos theory is simply a way of explaining the way in which the smallest event can lead to the next to ultimately cause an unexpected change.

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3 Responses to If only I woke up a minute later…

  1. avatar Julian says:

    Great post! it’s way easier for me to understand the chaos theory right now hahaha but I think you should have linked it a bit more to climate change.

  2. avatar Alicia says:

    Andrea, interesting take on chaos theory. I would like to see more description in your post. After your link it would be nice to connect the video to chaos theory rather than just saying it make more sense. Use the events to specifically explain chaos theory to your audience. I agree with Julian, you post should definitely link back to climate change (more than it currently does).

  3. avatar Shaida says:

    Andrea, your wonderful post on the chaos theory has cleared up a lot of things for me. I liked the fact that you have related to everything occurrence and of course Benjamin Button. I would like to know more on this, so I would suggest adding a bit more detail to this article.

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