Deterministic Chaos

6.B. Introduction to Chaos

Deterministic chaos was discovered, but not noticed widely, several times in the last hundred years.
First, Henri Poincare discovered chaos in his 1895 work on the 3-body problem in astronomy.
Abstract mathematical formulations were made by Jacques Hadamard and Garrett Birkhoff.
Lucy Cartwright and L. E. J. Littlewood found chaos in the behavior of radar circuits during World War II.
Ed Lorenz produced the first numerical explorations of chaos in his 1963 weather model.
All these works are recorded in libraries, yet none seems to have captured a substantial audience. Perhaps the first to attract wide attention was
Robert May's 1976 work on simple population dymanics.
Some of the history is recorded in Gleick's Chaos.

Return to Introduction to Chaos.