Small Systems Design Associates

Home page for Design and Prototype Testing for the Chaos Panel in the Walkabout series.

Panel 9 - Chaos

Panel 9 - Chaos

Sir Isaac Newton's contemporary and rival, Leibnitz in Germany, develops a more effective notation that greatly extends the applications of the calculus. The more useable calculus becomes the logical rigor needed to advance scientific inquiry. With science, work on steam propulsion, electricity and magnetism can proceed more directly toward the transportation systems needed for the industrial age, and for the more complex technologies of radio, television, and digital processing machines.

Eventually, sophisticated explorations into electricity, magnetism, and radio begins to expose the scary mysteries of the cosmos - the mysteries that lay forever beyond the logical rigor of the calculus. In the United States, Benjamin Franklin began flying kites because he believed the power contained in lightning could be put to human use. In his first kite flight in June 1752 Franklin did not know that the capture of the power in lightning required that the rigor of the calculus be extended into a mathematics of associated phenomena based on statistics.

The planets, with their observable and calculable masses, move around their orbits at relatively slow speeds. Newton's calculus did a better job of predicting planetary orbits than any previous method. Even among the planets, however, precision in the location of a planet was thwarted when a third planet was involved. If the solution must predict the location and speed of a particular object moving within a system of three or more moving objects, calculations of motion tended to escalate into infinities that could have no precise solution in Newtonian mathematics.

As scientific experimentation moved into electricity and magnetism improved tools for measurement enabled explorations of very complex systems like weather and climate, and into the calculations involving atomic structures and the speed of light. Newton's calculus is less and less adequate to serve the purposes of the modern world in any fundamental way.

Physicist Dr. Richard Feynman, was Group Leader under Hans Bethe in the Theoretical Division for the Manhattan Project during World War 2. Feynman, with Bethe, found unimaginable complexity in the application of quantum mechanics to the prediction of yields resulting from the explosive merging of the radioactive masses needed to trigger an atomic bomb. After the war, meteorologist and mathematician, Professor Edward Lorenz of MIT, had begun to find whole galaxies of complexity and chaos in the cosmos beyond the rational numbers.

The physical world must now be described with a kind of metaphysical math. The "real world," in other words, is no longer real.