Physics Seminar

Classical Chaos
by Martin Gutzwiller, Max-Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems
2009-04-21, 10:30 AM in SB 151

Abstract

chaos theory describes the behavior of certain dynamical systems ? that is, systems whose states evolve with time ? that may exhibit dynamics that are highly sensitive to initial conditions (popularly referred to as the butterfly effect). As a result of this sensitivity, which manifests itself as an exponential growth of perturbations in the initial conditions, the behavior of chaotic systems appears to be random. This happens even though these systems are deterministic, meaning that their future dynamics are fully defined by their initial conditions, with no random elements involved. This behavior is known as deterministic chaos, or simply chaos. Chaotic behavior is also observed in natural systems, such as the weather. This may be explained by a chaos-theoretical analysis of a mathematical model of such a system, embodying the laws of physics that are relevant for the natural system.