Lorenz attractor

I always carry my umbrella with me. I never play on the stock market.

I am a person of order. I love order. My whole life is nicely organized and neatly stacked… well, almost my whole life. I am still trying to figure out a way to nicely organize and stack somewhere my daughter. 🙂

What I don’t like is disorder. Usually people use expressions like; “I am a chaotic person.”, “My life is a chaos.” etc. What they actually mean is that their life, personality etc. are in disorder.  Chaos is something in between order and disorder. And do you know what is the best about chaos? Chaos can be explained. The explanation is called Chaos theory.

Probably most of you have heard or read the expression ” The flap of a butterfly’s wing in Brazil sets off a tornado in Texas.” This is actually a title of a talk given by Edward N. Lorenz ( 1917 – 2008 ) on predictability of climate.

A decade before this talk, in early 60’s  Lorenz made a discovery. He was trying to speed up a computer simulation of an atmospheric change so he round off some numbers of the initial conditions. This caused a drastically different result in the prediction.

The bottom line of this chance finding is that a very small change in the initial conditions can lead to drastically different outcome. In other words, a tiny change in the present can cause a dramatic change in the future. ( Note to all seers, hand readers and other people who try to foresee the future: please, do go and read about chaos theory! )

Mathematicians took it from there and developed the chaos theory. Today, physicists and other members of the natural sciences have to be at least aware of the chaos theory because it also deals with how computers round off numbers thus affecting the final result. The theory is also applied in economics when it comes to long-term predictions of the stock market. Psychologists are trying to explain schizophrenia with the help of the chaos theory. I am sure philosophers should be very happy to discuss this theory too.

So, don’t forget that the weather is unpredictable in the long run and take  your umbrella with you today. And be careful on the stock market.

If suddenly Chaos theory became interesting for you, here is a nice overview of the history of chaos theory.  Here is the initial paper of E. N. Lorenz that started everything.  If you like nice pictures, here are some fractals ( think snowflakes) and you can google the term “Lorenz attractor” to see images of scientific butterflies.

I apologize for this very late post. First of all, I like to do thorough research. Secondly, I am a slow writer. And thirdly, my browser crashed yesterday thus deleting all my links and this post as well.


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