Variations on chaos in physics: from unpredictability to universal laws

Abstract : The tremendous popular success of Chaos Theory shares some common points with the not less fortunate Relativity: they both rely on a misunderstanding. Indeed, ironically , the scientific meaning of these terms for mathematicians and physicists is quite opposite to the one most people have in mind and are attracted by. One may suspect that part of the psychological roots of this seductive appeal relies in the fact that with these ambiguous names, together with some superficial clichés or slogans immediately related to them (" the butterfly effect " or " everything is relative "), some have the more or less secret hope to find matter that would undermine two pillars of science, namely its ability to predict and to bring out a universal objectivity. Here I propose to focus on Chaos Theory and illustrate on several examples how, very much like Relativity, it strengthens the position it seems to contend with at first sight: the failure of predictability can be overcome and leads to precise, stable and even more universal predictions.
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Contributor : Amaury Mouchet <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, February 3, 2016 - 9:56:58 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 4:33:06 PM
Long-term archiving on: Saturday, November 12, 2016 - 4:17:51 AM


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  • HAL Id : hal-01266618, version 1
  • ARXIV : 1602.02540



Amaury Mouchet. Variations on chaos in physics: from unpredictability to universal laws. Convegno "Matematica e Cultura 2015", Michele Emmer, Mar 2015, Venezia, Italy. ⟨hal-01266618⟩



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