The Butterfly Effect - What Does it Really Signify?
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Meteorologist Ed Lorenz was one of the founding fathers of chaos theory. In 1963 he showed with just three simple equations that the world around us could be both completely deterministic and yet practically unpredictable. In the 1990s, Lorenz’s work was popularised by science writer James Gleick who used the phrase “The Butterfly Effect” to describe Lorenz’s work. The notion that the flap of a butterfly’s wings could change the course of weather was an idea that Lorenz himself used. However, he used it to describe something much more radical – he didn’t know whether the Butterfly Effect was true or not.

Tim will discuss Lorenz the man and his work, and compare and contrast the meaning of the “Butterfly Effect” as most people understand it today, and as Lorenz himself intended it to mean.

Tim Palmer is Royal Society Research Professor in Climate Physics at the University of Oxford

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Date: 9 May 2017, 17:00 (Tuesday, 3rd week, Trinity 2017)
Venue: Mathematical Institute, Woodstock Road OX2 6GG
Venue Details: Lecture Theatre 1
Speaker: Professor Tim Palmer (Programme on Modelling and Predicting Climate, Oxford Martin School)
Organising department: Mathematical Institute
Organiser: Dyrol Lumbard (University of Oxford)
Organiser contact email address:
Part of: Oxford Mathematics Public Lectures
Booking required?: Required
Booking email:
Cost: n/a
Audience: Public
Editor: Dyrol Lumbard