Sunday, April 5, 2015
"The mathematics of chaotic systems produces the same effect at every scale. Tell me how precise you want to be, and I can introduce my little germ of instability one decimal place further along; it may take a few more repetitions before the whole system's state becomes unpredictable, but the inevitability of chaos remains. The conventional image has the flap of a butterfly's wings in Brazil causing a storm in China, but even this is a needlessly gross impetus. The physicist David Ruelle, a major figure in chaos theory, gives a convincing demonstration that suspending the gravitational effect on our atmosphere of one electron at the limit of the observable universe would take no more than two weeks to make a difference in Earth's weather equivalent to having rain rather than sun during a romantic picnic."
-- From Michael and Ellen Kaplan's book "Chances Are…"
[…If you have a favorite math-related passage that might make a nice Sunday morning reflection here let me know (SheckyR@gmail.com). If I use one submitted by a reader, I'll cite the contributor.]