what is chaos theory?

What is Chaos Theory?

Learn about Chaos Theory with Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park 1993

Case breakdown: Movie Jurassic Park

The scene that you saw is a conversation between Dr. Malcolm (played by Jeff Goldblum) and Dr. Ellie (played by Laura Dern). Although Malcolm wants to flirt with Ellie, he also explains a very important concept in the process. When Dr. Ellie asks him to elaborate on chaos theory, he mentions ” when a butterfly flaps its wings in Central Park, you get rain in Central Asia.”

He conducts a short experiment to demonstrate what he is saying. He puts a drop of water on Ellie’s hand to show the trajectory of the water. It falls vertically off from her hand in the first attempt while it falls on the other side in the second attempt.

In this blog, Learning Perspectives will explore the meaning of Chaos Theory.

What is Chaos Theory?

Chaos theory is used in the subjects of Finance, Economics, Maths, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, etc. While chaos theory can be applied to stock markets, weather, equilibrium predictions in the market, mathematical models, or psychological changes to name a few.

Chaos theory is based on the principle of the butterfly effect. Malcolm points out the nature of unpredictable behavior. As shown in the scene, during the second attempt the drop of water slides the other side of her hand, he mentions this is due to the presence of tiny variations. This could be due to the orientation of hair on her hand, blood cells, or imperfection of her skin.

The very first experiment was conducted by Edward Lorenz, a meteorologist. He wanted to reconstruct the past weather sequence. For which he took 12 variables such as speed of the wind, temperature, etc. to create a computer-based model. For a very tiny variation change in the input of numbers (3 decimal change), there was a major change in the output.

Parameters change even through a tiny variation, which can cause major change. Did you think shutting off those lights and conserving energy would play a major role in climate change? Your one such choice can cause a ripple effect in the world that can make a huge difference.

Dr. Ellie mentions unpredictability as all the parameters of the complex system is not known. A slight change even in a single variable can cause the situation to amplify. This holds true for humans as well.

When we decide to follow a particular habit for 30 days or more, we are expecting a certain result with a goal in mind. This could be exercising, yoga, meditation, etc. and the goal could be to reach a better body shape, to be mindful, etc. Although the goal can be attained, a major change that has been affected is the wiring in the brain.

The forecast of the stock market cannot be predicted based on chaos theory. Even if all the variables are known exactly, very tiny variations can cause the stock market to behave irrationally which is not in line with the predictions.

With all this information, what small changes you will bring to your life?

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