In 1972 the meteorologist, Edward Lorenz, delivered a lecture with the title Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly's Wings in Brazil Set off a Tornado in Texas? In this he showed that dynamical systems can exhibit chaotic, seemingly random, behaviour. Many scientists think that this ranks as one of the main scientific advances of the twentieth century together with relativity and quantum theory. I will also talk about how the butterfly effect links chaos and the beautiful geometric objects, fractals.
The transcript and downloadable versions of the lecture are available from the Gresham College website:
Gresham College has been giving free public lectures since 1597. This tradition continues today with all of our five or so public lectures a week being made available for free download from our website. There are currently over 1,500 lectures free to access or download from the website.