Dr. Edward Lorenz: 1917-2008
Edward Lorenz died in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Wednesday at a ripe 90 years of age. Lorenz wasa professor at MIT when he came up with the scientific concept that effectively small effects lead to big changes. This breakthrough in chaos theory was often called the butterfly effect. This means, in simple terms, something as tiny as a butterfly flapping its wings in the Brazil moving the atmosphere in ways that might cause tornadoes in the Midwest. Thus, Edward Lorenz began chaos theory.
As a result of this sensitivity to tiny variables the behavior of chaotic systems appears to be completely random or chaotic. The only way to predict how these systems will end up is through probability and carefully observing the initial set of conditions, with no other random variables involved.
While working at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Lorenz ran what seemed to be the same calculations through a computer and came up with completely different answers. He realized that what caused the problem was a miniscule decimal point change — less than 0.0001. Although this discovery did not really help him in his field: meteorology, but other sciences, like physics, benefited immensely. He later received a Kyoto Prize for his discovery, as there is no Nobel Prize for meteorology.
Lorenz was alson avid hiker and climber, who was better fit than most of the young people whith whome he hiked. Rest in peace Dr. Lorenz and thank you.