Prev Next

How Chaos Theory Works

By: William Harris  | 

Lots More Information

Author's Note: How Chaos Theory Works

Back in college, I took a course on population biology, thinking it would be like other ecology courses -- a little soft and mild-mannered. It ended up being one of the hardest classes I took as a biology major, filled with differential equations and complex concepts. I don't remember dynamical instability being discussed, but I suspect now, after writing this article, that we ventured regularly into the land of chaos. Had I not been so focused on making it through the course without wrecking my GPA, I might have seen some of those concepts for what they were -- manifestations of a fundamental, and sometimes frightening, shift in how we view the world.

Related Articles

  • Bradley, Larry. "Chaos and Fractals." Space Telescope Science Institute. Johns Hopkins University. 2010. (Jan. 14, 2013) http://www.stsci.edu/~lbradley/seminar/index.html
  • "Chaos : A pictorial introduction." La Trobe University. Jan. 12, 2000. (Jan. 14, 2013) http://johnbanks.maths.latrobe.edu.au/chaos/index.html
  • Dance, Scott. "50 years ago, Ocean City was washing away." The Baltimore Sun. March 5, 2012 (Jan. 14, 2013) http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/weather/bs-md-ash-wednesday-storm-20120305,0,3279194.story?page=1&track=rss
  • Dizikes, Peter. "The meaning of the butterfly." Boston.com. June 8, 2008. (Jan. 14, 2013) http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/06/08/the_meaning_of_the_butterfly/?page=full
  • Elert, Glenn. "The Chaos Hypertextbook: Mathematics in the Age of the Computer." (Jan. 14, 2013) http://hypertextbook.com/chaos/
  • Fractal Foundation. "What is Chaos Theory?" (Jan. 14, 2013) http://fractalfoundation.org/resources/what-is-chaos-theory/
  • Gleick, James. "Chaos: Making a New Science." Open Road. 2011.
  • Laplace, Pierre-Simon. "A Philosophical Essay on Probabilities." Translated by Frederick Wilson Truscott and Frederick Lincoln Emory. John Wiley & Sons. 1902. (Feb. 4, 2014) https://archive.org/stream/philosophicaless00lapliala#page/4/mode/2up
  • Li, Tien-Yien and James A. Yorke. "Period Three Implies Chaos." The American Mathematical Monthly. Vol. 82, No. 10 (Dec. 1975). (Feb. 4, 2014) http://www.its.caltech.edu/~matilde/LiYorke.pdf
  • Oestreicher, Christian. "A history of chaos theory." Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience. 2007.
  • Ornes, Stephen. "Whatever Happened to ... Chaos Theory?" Discover Magazine. April 4, 2007. (Jan. 14, 2013) http://discovermagazine.com/2007/apr/whatever-happened-to-chaos-theory#.UPS90HBGJ5Q
  • Read, Wolf. "The Big Blow of Columbus Day 1962." University of Washington. Feb. 9, 2005. (Jan. 14, 2013) http://www.climate.washington.edu/stormking/October1962.html
  • The StarChild Team. "Urbain Le Verrier." NASA/GSFC. (Feb. 4, 2014) http://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/whos_who_level2/leverrier.html
  • Taylor, Richard P. "Order in Pollock's Chaos." Scientific American. December 2002.
  • Trump, Matthew A. "What is Chaos?" Ilya Prigogine Center for Studies in Statistical Mechanics and Complex Systems, University of Texas. Aug. 14, 1998. (Jan. 14, 2013) http://order.ph.utexas.edu/chaos/
  • Wang, W. "Bifurcation." Encyclopedia of Ecology, Volume One. Elsevier. 2008.