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Category Archives: Chaos

The Chaos paradigm

A must watch: a high quality BBC documentary on the great paradigm shift that happened through the second half of the 20th century from the Newtonian paradigm of a clockwork universe, not to Relativity or Quantum Uncertainty, but straight into Chaos.

It lasts exactly 1 hour.
Found at In Defense of Marxism, which has an article on it, with a few punctual criticisms and some of its politico-economical implications.
I understand that the film has an spiritual (emotional) and intellectual value and is worth watching even for those in the know, so to say, of Chaos science. Because it is not so easy to comprehend this new unavoidable paradigm and the film certainly aids to that in many ways. Understanding Chaos may be even more important than understanding Relativity, because Einstein’s theory only applies to some aspects of reality, while Chaos applies to everything.
It is this overwhelming influence of Chaos mathematics and physics what makes this understanding so crucial, whichever one’s field or fields of interest: it applies to evolution and human prehistory surely and it also is in the economy, in social organization and even in the intimacy of our souls (psyche).
Self organization, feedback, fractality (the part and the whole are usually similar), unpredictability of even very simple systems, orders as forms of chaos and not anymore its opponents and critically the real option for a small incident to precipitate a major reaction if the conditions are adequate albeit unpredictably so (the butterfly effect).
We have no choice but to embrace Chaos if we are to do something in it.
 
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Posted by on May 20, 2011 in Chaos, science

 

A little homage to Benoît Mandelbrot

Benoît Mandelbrot was one of the great geniuses of our era, comparable to Einstein, Hawkins, Maldacena and very few others. He died on October 14 at the venerable age of 85.
Of Jewish ethnicity, born in Poland, raised in France, living in France, Switzerland and the USA, he stands as a universal genius by all standards.
He like no other helped us to discover the beauty and importance of Chaos mathematics and its physical implications. He is best known for defining the concept of fractals, a pillar of Chaos theory.
His best known quote, which is a beautiful synthesis of poetry and deep intellectual provocation is this one:
Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line.
A quote I just love.
In spite of his unique greatness he never received the Nobel Prize, what says nothing good about this media-hyped Scandinavian honor. He did receive many other prizes and honors in his life however, all well deserved.
To the left, photo of the deceased genius (2007, from Wikipedia) and some magnifications of the famous Mandelbrot set, arbitrarily chosen for their beauty (M=10⁻¹, M=10⁶ and M=10⁹). All from The Chaos Hypertextbook.
 
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Posted by on October 17, 2010 in Chaos, death, European history, science, USA