Thursday, October 23, 2014

Math Man and chaos

I first met Math Man at new faculty orientation, on a hot and steamy August day.  I, with four years of college teaching under my belt, had come at the provost's invitation to share what wisdom I had with my newest colleagues.  Math Man jokes that his one-liner about his research — "I design chaotic billiard tables." — was what caught my attention.  It's a line, he still jokes, that attracts a certain kind of woman (geeky).  Fast forward to the end of first semester, and it might be that we have been on a date.

This summer he helped develop this TedEd lesson about billiards, chaos theory, and the climate.

We expect things to be linear, turn the tap a small amount and the temperature of the water changes a tiny bit.  But not everything in nature is linear.  For example, you can make a small change to the concentration of one reaction in this reaction, and suddenly the entire beaker starts flashing through different colors.

1 comment:

  1. That was excellent and very informative for people like me who haven't studied math since high school! Thanks for sharing it and thanks to Victor for sharing his knowledge.