Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963992 | Print ISBN: 9781412906784 | Online ISBN: 9781412963992| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Wm. E. Doll Jr.
Chaos, a word whose origins go back millennia to creation myths in both the Hebraic-Christian and Greco-Roman traditions, has emerged in the latter part of the twentieth century as one of the “new sciences”: chaos, fractal geometry, complexity. As part of the new sciences, mathematical chaos theory—still rich in fecundity and creation—is the study of equations which model the turbulence now found as natural to our universe. The nature of chaos and its implications for education are discussed in this entry. Whereas Isaac Newton, in the seventeenth century, saw a simple order reigning in the universe—“Nature is pleased with simplicity”—scientists now find the starry skies filled with “dark” energy, pulsars, galaxies forming and exploding, and “black holes,” devouring all they ensnare. On Earth, an increasing number of earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, and global warmings are devastating—and all unpredictable. This is the sort of turbulence in nature that chaos theorists model ...