PAOC Spotlights

Chaos at 50

Tue June 11th, 2013
Physics Today

Fifty years have passed since Edward Lorenz published his discovery of the surprising behavior we now know as chaos. With a simple, three-equation weather model, Lorenz demonstrated that even fully deterministic systems can behave in ways that are intrinsically unpredictable.

The May 2013 cover of Physics Today - Image courtesy:


In May 2013, a half century after Lorenz's ground-breaking 1963 paper Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow, the journal Physics Today published a retrospective piece marking Chaos's 50th birthday and elaborating on the ground breaking work of the MIT meteorologist who revealed deterministic predictability to be an illusion giving birth to a field that still thrives.

The cover - shown above - incorporates a simulation of one of the model’s iconic solutions—the Lorenz attractor—plotted as a trajectory in phase space. 

Read Chaos at Fifty from Physics Today PDF


Edward N. LorenzEdward N. Lorenz Wikipedia

Father of Chaos the life and times of Ed Lorenz Tech TV

Flight of the Butterfly Effect MIT Technology Review

The Lorenz Center, MIT