David Kirkpatrick

April 16, 2008

Edward Lorenz, RIP

Filed under: et.al., Science — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:57 pm

Edward Lorenz, known for chaos theory and the “butterfly effect” has died at 90. I read James Gleick’s “Chaos” years ago. That book, and men like Lorenz and the “Lorenz attractor,” spawned an ongoing love for fractals and chaos theory. 

From the first link:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Edward Lorenz, the father of chaos theory, who showed how small actions could lead to major changes in what became known as the “butterfly effect,” died of cancer on Wednesday at the age of 90, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said.


Lorenz, a meteorologist, figured out in the 1960s that small differences in a dynamic system such as the atmosphere could set off enormous changes. In 1972 he presented a study entitled “Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?”


Born in 1917 in West Hartford, Connecticut, Lorenz earned degrees in mathematics from Dartmouth College in 1938, from Harvard University in 1940, and degrees in meteorology from MIT in 1943 and 1948.


While serving as a weather forecaster for the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War Two, he decided to study meteorology.


“As a boy I was always interested in doing things with numbers, and was also fascinated by changes in the weather,” Lorenz wrote in an autobiography.


  1. […] Fermi Centre, fractals, University of Rome — davidkirkpatrick @ 12:10 pm I love fractals (blogged on the subject here, but sadly to note the passing of Ed Lorenz) and news that the universe may be arranged in a […]

    Pingback by A fractal universe? « David Kirkpatrick — June 25, 2008 @ 12:10 pm

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