The Chaos Theory

Essay by Anonymous UserHigh School, 10th gradeA+, January 1997

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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, the galactic clustering of stars.' (Gleick, 1987)

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 could represented a side of nature that...