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from Interdisciplinary English by Loretta F. Kasper

© 1998

- Chaos theory is a mathematical theory that breaks down order into disorder. Chaos theory was first developed in the 1970's.
- A swinging pendulum is an example of a linear system. It is linear because it follows a regular pattern.
- The weather is an example of a nonlinear system. Small changes in air pressure or wind speed lead to large and often unexpected changes in the weather.
- Examples of chaotic systems in the real world are: disease, political unrest, family problems, community problems, war, electric circuits, heart rhythms, animal populations, the stock market.
- Three principles of chaos theory are:
- Chaotic systems are deterministic--they are ruled by an equation that determines how they operate
- Chaotic systems are very sensitive to beginning conditions. Whatever they start with determines how they develop and behave.
- Chaotic systems are unpredictable. Although they operate according to some kind of "order," you never really know how they are going to behave.

- Chaotic systems are deterministic--they are ruled by an equation that determines how they operate
**SUMMARY OF SECTION ON "REAL WORLD CHAOS":****There is a lot of chaos in the real world. Many events in the real world are unstable and chaotic. For example, disease, politics and problems in the family or the community are all events that follow the principles of chaos theory. We never really know what will happen in these situations or what event(s) might cause the outcomes to change. Each of these examples may be changed or caused by one random event.**