What is it?
Chaos is an advanced field of mathematics that involves the study of dynamical systems, that is, systems in motion.
Chaos Theory consists of the mathematical proofs and theories which attempt to describe processes in motion.
One example of a chaotic dynamical system is the motion of the stars, planets, and galaxies, which mathematicians and scientists have been trying to understand for centuries.
Why study it?
The study of chaotic dynamical systems has many applications for the 'real world.'
Think of any mathematical system that changes over time, such as the weather, the stock market, or the genetic distribution of a population.
Whatever dynamical system you think of, Chaos Theory can be used to understand it.
For instance, say you worked for a company that makes paint.
Your task is to find a way to mix two colors of paint, blue and red, in a huge tank so that the resulting purple paint will be evenly mixed.
(It must be evenly mixed, so that each can of purple paint has the same shade of purple.)
If you used Chaos Theory to create a paint mixer that would stir the paint in true chaotic motion,
you would always get an evenly mixed tank of paint!
How can I learn more?
This section of Interactive Mathematics Online is specifically designed to help you learn more about chaos.
Just follow the links to view more pages, each of which explains and demonstrates an aspect or example of chaotic dynamical systems.
The basic outline of your "Tour of Chaos" is as follows:
- The Basic Concepts of Chaos
- Examples of Chaos
- Java Applets Involving Chaos