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Chaos Theory

Uploaded by vkharin on May 22, 2008

The Chaos Theory

Where Chaos begins, classical science ends. Ever since physicists have inquired into the laws of nature, the have not begun to explore irregular side of nature, the erratic and discontinuous side, that have always puzzled scientists. They did not attempt to understand disorder in the atmosphere, the turbulent sea, the oscillations of the heart and brain, and the fluctuations of wildlife populations. All of these things were taken for granted until in the 1970's some American and European scientists began to investigate the randomness of nature.

They were physicists, biologists, chemists and mathematicians but they were all seeking one thing: connections between different kinds of irregularity. Physiologists found a surprising order in the chaos that develops in the human heart, the prime cause of a sudden, unexplained death. Ecologists explored the rise and fall of gypsy moth populations. Economists dug out old stock price data and tried a new kind of analysis. The insights that emerged led directly into the natural world - the shapes of clouds, the paths of lightning, the microscopic intertwining of blood vessels, and the galactic clustering of stars.

The man most responsible for coming up with the Chaos theory was Mitchell Feigenbaum, who was one of a handful of scientists at Los Alamos, New Mexico when he first started thinking about Chaos. Feigenbaum was a little known scientist from New York, with only one published work to his name. He was working on nothing very important, like quasi periodicity, in which he and only he had 26 hour days instead of the usual 24. He gave that up because he could not bear to wake up to setting sun, which happened periodically. He spent most of time watching clouds from the hiking trails above the laboratory. To him cloud represented a side of nature that the mainstream of physics had passed by, a side that was fuzzy and detailed, and structured yet unpredictable. He thought about these things quietly, without producing any work. After he started looking, chaos seemed to be everywhere. A flag snaps back and forth in the wind. A dripping faucet changes from a steady pattern to a random one. A rising column of smoke disappears into random swirls.

The Chaos Theory is also called Nonlinear Dynamics, or the complexity theory. They all mean the same thing though a scientific discipline which is based on the study of nonlinear systems. To...

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Uploaded by:   vkharin

Date:   05/22/2008

Category:   Physics

Length:   10 pages (2,195 words)

Views:   3051

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