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How Chaos Theory Works

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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.

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