Chaos theory

In science, chaos theory is the mathematical study of systems that display non-periodic, irregular, unpredictable, or chaotic behaviors. [1] Chaos theory is sometimes considered as synonymous with complexity theory. Chaos theory, however, is a subject that emerged in the 1970s, with the development of computers, centered in larger part on doing computer simulations, of iteration formulas, with various initial conditions. The following is an synopsis of chaos theory: [5]

“The important property of a chaotic system is that the state variable will eventually settle down to a finite set, i.e. the so-called strange attractor. This is what people say about order in chaos.”

In the 1980s, with the rise of computer technology chaos theory bloomed, reaching its peak in the 1990s.

In 1903, French mathematical physicist Henri Poincare was said to have initiated chaos theory when he stated:

“It may happen that the small differences in the initial conditions produced very great ones in the final phenomenon. A small error in the former will produce an enormous error in the latter. Prediction becomes impossible, and we have fortuitous phenomenon.”

In 1963, American meteorologist Edward Lorenz did a computer simulation to enable the predictability of weather, and found that negligible perturbations are amplified, concluding that long-term predictions are impossible. His so-called "Lorenz attractor" diagrams are often found used in physical humanities like publications.

Chaos theory sometimes is found intertwined together, in an ill-contrived way, with discussions of time and the second law of thermodynamics. This loosely traces to Belgian chemist Ilya Prigogine’s work, as captured in his 1984 book Order Out of Chaos, and his theories of bifurcations and fluctuations. [2] In 1996, Australian philosopher Huw Price tells explained: [3]

“In recent years it has often been suggested that the key to the apparent conflict between thermodynamics and mechanics lies in chaos theory, and the application of the nonlinear methods in physics … this view is particularly associated with the Brussels School, led by theoretical chemist Ilya Prigogine.”

Another popularized, albeit very nonsensical, connection between the second law and chaos theory was made by American author James Gleick in his 1987 national best-seller Chaos: Making a New Science, in which he cites Claude Shannon as being the general purveyor of thermodynamics and entropy, which of course is incorrect. [4] All-in-all, chaos theory has little connection to thermodynamics, except where found in fringe publications.

See also
Boltzmann chaos assumption

1. Clark, John. (2004). The Essential Dictionary of Science. Barnes and Noble.
2. Sardar, Ziauddin, and Abrams, Iwona. (1998). Introducing Chaos. Totem Books.
3. Price, Huw. (1996). Time’s Arrow and Archimedes’ Point (pg. 43). Oxford University Press.
4. Gleick, James. (1987). Chaos: Making a New Science (second law of thermodynamics, pgs. 257-58, 307-08). Penguin.
5. Hsieh, Ching-Yao, and Ye, Meng-Hua. (1991). Economics, Philosophy, and Physics (pgs. 118-19). M.E. Sharpe.

External links
Chaos theory – Wikipedia.

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