Chaos Theory: Making Random Not So Random

Chaos Theory: Making Random Not So Random


Everyone is familiar with the Butterfly Effect. A butterfly flaps its wings in Africa and California gets a torrential rain shower. The goal is to show that a seemingly random set of events actually coalesce to form a dramatic conclusion.

This finding patterns in seemingly random events is a trademark of Chaos theory. While made popular in movies and television as the cool science fact of the week, chaos is actually one of the most mathematically complex sciences there is.

The key to chaos is the anticipation of the many variables that can happen in a complex system. As Malcolm from “Jurassic Park” so eloquently pointed out. In any action, there are hundreds if not thousands of variables that can change the outcome.

Super computers can calculate millions of variables, but there are still systems to complex that a supercomputer working on it for weeks still can't fit in all the variable information to create a credible model.

As we delve deeper into the behavior of subatomic particles and larger systems such as the processes of stars, scientists are relying more and more chaos theory to predict outcomes. Science is all about modeling these days and without a credible model, you're theories are pretty much useless. The good news is that chaos theory is becoming more and more understood as mathematicians work to make the computer' s work easier.

By developing new equations and theories, scientists are getting closer and closer to understanding the fundamental laws of nature and it's all because of chaos theory.