Artistic Synapses is a monthly series that shows a close relation of beauty merging Art with Science, delivering new ideas, emotions and new connections and synapses in our brain.- Míriam Martí
“Unpredictability” seems to work well with the concepts of disorder, chaos and randomness. We use that word and concept many times in our lives (for instance, we have a state of Unpredictability in our lives when we live a hectic life and when we are confused and don’t know what to do…). But in mathematics this can mean just the opposite.
The “Chaos Theory” talks about systems that are deterministic, which means that their future performance is fully determined. So why would we refer to them as “chaos”? Because these systems are fully sensible to initial conditions, one very little change on the initial conditions can change all the behaviour expected, making them unpredictable… This chaotic behavior exists in many natural systems, such as in weather and climate.
Unpredictability and chaos have inspired designers, illustrators and artists at large. The movement of smoke, volcanic lava, wind, clouds, and waterfalls are few of the examples that, later on, we see translated in fashion, paintings, architecture, etc.
Lisa (Paint with stars) | Eric Schaer
The Chaos Theory has also inspired writers and filmmakers. Did you ever heard about the butterfly effect? It was metaphorically said that the formation of a tornado would be affected from the small movement of the butterfly wings. Truth is that, the movement of the wings would be so weak, that in this case this is just a metaphor and not a realistic fact. Nonetheless, the idea that any minor change on the initial conditions may affect the results it’s true for some dynamic systems.
Going back to our lives… Maybe chaos, understood as mathematicians do, can actually mean good news. Do you want to have different results in your life? Just try a “small change” on the initial conditions you are working with.