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Chaos Theory: The Science of Predictions

We have been successful in predicting the angle at which earth revolves around the sun. It is tilted 23 ½ ° and thus our scientists were obliged to crack an answer for the question why is it tilted.

There is a direct causal relationship between the earth’s angle of inclination and our quest to find an answer why is it so. All our pursuit for the answers is a result of so many events happening in the past and merely because they exist right in front of our experience.

Thus our collective reasoning is trying to probe and figure out why it all had happened. The events that push us forward every day to find out the truth are not linear and simple. They are complex, infinitely minuscular and chaotic.

By being so, they accomplished their mission to make us think and keep us moving forward in search of reality.

To put things in perspective, our entire quest for eternal knowledge is a result of many inexplicable and infinitesimal events that made our existence possible in a number of miraculous ways. This forms the crux of Chaos theory.

Today’s major changes are a result an infinite number of indecipherable, insignificant changes in the past.

As we progress through the path of evolution, what we become tomorrow depends a lot on what happens with us today. But, as what is happening with us today is metaphysically complex, it is not so easily deterministic to predict the future.

Thus chaos theory also says that dynamic systems are very much sensitive to the least amount of change as in one millionth of a unit, and these changes can bring widely different results in contrary to the popular belief in physics that negligible changes doesn’t matter much.

According to Newtonian laws any system can be predicted if its initial conditions are measured and the more accurate the measurements are the more precise would be the predictions.

But French Physicist Jules Henri Poincare came out with an entirely different observation. Certain astronomical measurements would drastically differ in their results even if the initial conditions were identical.

He proved the point mathematically that even if the initial conditions of a system are accurately measured, the uncertainty in predicting its future remains huge. His findings were not given the attention until Edward Norton Lorenz came up with a similar idea in 1963.

While Lorenz was trying to study the prediction of weather conditions by modelling some mathematical equations, he fed the input by removing three decimal points out of six. For instance, if the number is 2.457342, he fed 2.457 leaving behind the remaining negligible numbers.

But he found that the results were astonishingly different and not the same as predicted by conventional science.

This cause-effect relationship can be better explained by the butterfly effect. Hurricanes are brought by pressure changes and thus even a butterfly flapping its wings and the resultant pressure created may contribute to the change in pressure causing a hurricane.

Thus, a hurricane in western hemisphere could have been formed also due to the diminutive change in pressure while a butterfly flapped its wings in the southern hemisphere.

There is a possibility and it cannot be denied saying that the changes are too small to be negligible, as science had believed once. Had the butterfly not flapped its wings, would a disaster be averted?

Poincare also came up with the concept of deterministic chaos in which even the systems that can be precisely observed cannot be predicted their future course. Thus, chaos theory is a big challenge for physics and its measurements it had made so far. Science has used so many constants like for instance cosmological constant in defining dark energy and Planck’s constant in equating energy of a photon.

These constants are nothing but unexplained notions or stop-gap numbers to get the desired results. Moreover, many of our scientific studies consider initial conditions to arrive at a conclusion with the underlying idea that every system in this universe obeys a mystic order.

Our investigations are very systematic in inquiring the nature of the order, yet have brought zero convincing results. 

The ultimate purpose of our intelligence is to find out how it all began when the explosion took place during Big Bang and so far we have come up with ideas based on what we have currently in the universe.

But we haven’t found anything concrete to quench our thirst. Maybe what had happened before the explosion was infinitesimal that what is today is a huge deviant from what it is supposed to be.

Image Source: Vox

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