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THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT (Does the flap of a butterfly's wings in China set off a tornado in Texas)

Larry Butterworth

San Diego, United States

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Artist's Description

All photos in this work are my own and my own original butterfly drawing.

The butterfly effect is a term used in Chaos Theory to describe how tiny variations can affect giant systems, and complex systems, like weather patterns. The term butterfly effect was applied in Chaos Theory to suggest that the wing movements of a butterfly might have significant repercussions on wind strength and movements throughout the weather systems of the world, and theoretically, could cause tornadoes halfway around the world.

What the butterfly effect seems to posit, is that the prediction of the behavior of any large system is virtually impossible unless one could account for all tiny factors, which might have a minute effect on the system. Thus large systems like weather remain impossible to predict because there are too many unknown variables to count.

The term “butterfly effect” is attributed to Edward Norton Lorenz, a mathematician and meteorologist, who was one of the first proponents of Chaos Theory. Though he had been working on the theory for some ten years, with the principal question as to whether a seagulls’ wing movements changes the weather, he changed to the more poetic butterfly in 1973.

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Artwork Comments

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