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Chaos Theory

Chaos Theory is the name mathematicians have come up with to describe the very complex way the world works. Much of mathematics invented up until now has been "linear", or related to a line. You could make equations about it, and figure out the answer pretty easily.

But there were some areas that just couldn't be explained, like weather patterns, ocean currents, or the actions of cells. There were too many things going on to keep track of with linear equations. It almost seemed as if they were random, or "chaotic".

Chaos theory is a way to mathematically describe and predict these types of events. This type of math would not be possible without computers, because the calculations are so huge and tedious. But computers are perfect for that task.

Selected Chaos Sites
Chaos Theory and Fractal Phenomena Introduces the math of chaos theory and the connection to fractals.

Sprott's Fractal Gallery Images and explanations of chaos and strange attractors.

Making Order out of Chaos Created by students for the Thinkquest contest. Explores chaos theory and history.

The Classic Book

Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick

"James Gleick, a science reporter for The New York Times, has written a taut and exciting account . . . of chaos hung on a framework of the brief history of the field."

Other Wonders of Math

  Fractals Chaos Tessellations
Spirograph Knots Origami
Conway's Game of Life Mazes Lissajous Lab
Roman Numeral Calculator

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