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Complexity in nature: from patterns to chaos

This informal discussion is ideal for post-16s and for anyone interested in physics or would like to find out what kind of research young scientists are involved in.

The natural world is complex and modern research suggests that chaotic motion will be more commonly found than order. Even simple systems such as sets of pendulums exhibit chaos in quite surprising and spectacular ways. Tom and Anne will illustrate the underlying principles of chaotic motion using pendulum demonstrations to highlight important points. This includes the famous ‘butterfly effect ’ where small changes in the starting conditions lead to different outcomes. The implications for predictability in ‘real world ’ systems will be discussed. On the other hand, regular patterns are also common features of natural systems.

Examples include the beautiful and intricate shapes of snowflakes, the giant red spot of Jupiter and ripples in sand. Tom and Anne will highlight various aspects of pattern formation using fluid flow demonstrations which contain both unexpected striking patterns and chaos. They will show links between this apparent order and chaos and the fractal structure it contains.


Prof Tom Mullin | talks | www
Dr Anne Juel | talks | www


Date and Time:

19 October 2004 at 6:30 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



The Royal Institution of Great Britain
21 Albemarle Street
+44 20 74 09 29 92

More at The Royal Institution of Great Britain...



£5, but are free to Members of the Royal Institution

Available from:

020 7409 2992

Additional Information:

Nearest tube: Green Park

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