Chaos theory is the study of systems that are highly sensitive to slight, even imperceptible changes in initial conditions. This is popularly known as the butterfly effect. Many natural systems exhibit chaotic behavior, including weather and electron orbitals.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

10
votes
6answers
3k views

Chaos theory and determinism

My professor in class went a little over chaos theory, and basically said that Newtonian determinism no longer applies, since as time goes to infinity, no matter how close together two initial points ...
8
votes
4answers
483 views

Question on the stability of the solar system

One of the pertinent questions about many body systems that causes me much wonder is why the solar system is so stable for billions of years. I came across the idea of "resonance" and albeit an useful ...
5
votes
1answer
654 views

Physics-oriented books on fractals

I'm looking for some good books on fractals, with a spin to applications in physics. Specifically, applications of fractal geometry to differential equations and dynamical systems, but with emphasis ...
4
votes
2answers
523 views

How and why can random matrices answer physical problems?

Random matrix theory pops up regularly in the context of dynamical systems. I was, however, so far not able to grasp the basic idea of this formalism. Could someone please provide an instructive ...
3
votes
2answers
932 views

What are the principles of deterministic chaos?

I see in literature very different (and chaotic) descriptions of what is deterministic chaos. Can you explain to me based in a type of formal definition, which principles need to be exactly fulfilled ...
101
votes
10answers
19k views

Is the butterfly effect real?

Is the butterfly effect real? It is a well known statement that a butterfly can, by flapping her wings in a slightly different way, cause a hurricane somewhere else in the world that wouldn't occur if ...
6
votes
1answer
348 views

What is discrete phase space?

I've been reading a little about the usual, continuous Wigner functions and phase space quasi-distributions in general, and I believe I understand the idea behind them. The Wigner function arises when ...
6
votes
2answers
302 views

Extending the ergodic theorem to non-equilibrium systems

I try to make this as short and concise as possible. For equilibrium systems in statistical mechanics, we have the Liouville's theorem which says that the volume in phase space is conserved when the ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Does chaos theory occur in quantum mechanics? Or in any non-newtonian physics?

Does chaos theory occur in quantum mechanics? Or in any non-newtonian physics? Apart from perhaps thermodynamics?
3
votes
3answers
116 views

Physical distinction between mixing and ergodicity

How can one in a very contrasting manner distinguish between the physical meaning of mixing dynamics and that of ergodic dynamics? More precisely, is one a stronger condition than the other? (which ...
8
votes
1answer
690 views

Ljapunov exponent of driven damped pendulum

I have written a computer simulation of the driven damped pendulum, pretty much as the one shown here, only that I did it Python. Next, I have found some parameters for which the pendulum behaves ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the highest energy position for a double pendulum? And for which energy positions is it chaotic?

Math/physics teachers love to break out the double pendulum as an example of chaotic motion that is very sensitive to initial conditions. I have some questions about specific properties: For a ...
18
votes
4answers
936 views

Staying in orbit - but doesn't any perturbation start a positive feedback?

I am not a physicist; I am a software engineer. While trying to fall asleep recently, I started thinking about the following. There are many explanations online of how any object stays in orbit. The ...
7
votes
4answers
645 views

Can a small change in the Earth temperature give rise to large-scale climate changes?

Earth's atmosphere is a chaotic system. In such systems arbitrarily small changes the conditions can give rise to very large effects. There are many rumors about the physical and large scale ...
5
votes
2answers
457 views

Does the logistic map have an attractor for a particular value of the parameter?

Background: Currently I am studying a course on non-linear dynamics. We have been studying about attractors only intuitively, so I do not have a definition for an attractor. Let me give you a couple ...
5
votes
4answers
407 views

Are a quantum mechanical system a chaotic (yet deterministic) system?

The title is slightly misleading. I really want to know if the randomness and probabilities observed in quantum mechanics is really just the result of a chaotic (yet deterministic) system. If it is ...
1
vote
1answer
77 views

Randomness v. complexity

There are a few other topics I found that explore this idea from a different perspective: Is randomness deterministic? Can randomness exist? Is the universe fundamentally deterministic? My ...
7
votes
5answers
1k views

Does the “Andromeda Paradox” (Rietdijk–Putnam-Penrose) imply a completely deterministic universe?

Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rietdijk–Putnam_argument Abstract of 1966 Rietdijk paper: A proof is given that there does not exist an event, that is not already in the past for ...
6
votes
2answers
254 views

Does a simple double pendulum have transients?

Suppose, we have the most simple double pendulum: Both masses are equal. Both limbs are equal. No friction. No driver. Arbitrary initial conditions (no restriction to low energies) Does this ...
5
votes
2answers
571 views

Is it really impossible to calculate in advance the result of throwing dice?

Is it really impossible to calculate in advance the result of throwing dice? After all, the physics of dice throwing is in the world of classical mechanics, rather than quantum mechanics.
1
vote
1answer
87 views

Can binary sequences generated from ergodic maps be chaotic?

Briefly, the way symbols are generated is: Consider a one-dimensional chaotic map $T: [0,1]→[0,1]$ and a time series $\{x_n\}_{n=1}^N$ generated with this map. Define a threshold $A$ and a ...
1
vote
2answers
451 views

What are the *necessary* conditions to deterministic chaos?

What are the necessary conditions (not saying sufficient conditions) in mathematical terms that a deterministic dynamic system can transit to deterministic chaos? We collected yet: A positive ...
0
votes
1answer
205 views

Universal Sequence and relationship of mathematics and reality [closed]

In "The Special and General Theory of Relativity" Einstein says: How can it be that mathematics, being after all a product of human thought which is independent of experience, is so admirably ...