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11-12-2009

Chaos Theory at Next Clarkson University Science Cafe Wednesday

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/skufca.jpg .]

Chaos theory will be discussed by Clarkson University Mathematics and Computer Science Professor Joe Skufca at the next Science Cafe at Jack & Wezzie’s Coffee House in Potsdam this Wednesday, November 18, at 7:30 p.m.

This is the last Science Cafe for the fall.Joe Skufca

In describing his presentation, Skufca says, "The mathematical framework of chaos theory is at the root of many of the complex systems that we observe all around us. Although the rules for predicting behavior of these systems seem well described by the laws of physics (allowing us to make short term predictions), the long term behavior remains essentially unpredictable.

"For example, the roll of a die seems to produce a random outcome; the prediction of the weather a month from now seems equally a chance guess. However, both systems seem to be computable from the laws of physics. Chaos theory allows us to both understand and appreciate the unpredictability, as well as discover interesting patterns that seem to spontaneously emerge from the chaos."

Join Skufca as we explore chaos theory and how scientists are able to control the chaos and, occasionally, manipulate that chaos to serve our needs.

The spring 2009 Science Cafes are scheduled for February 24, March 10 and 24, and April 21.

Science Cafes bring together engineers, scientists and townspeople in a relaxed, informal setting, such as coffeehouses and pubs. The speaker makes a short presentation about a topic in his or her field, and then opens up the floor to discussion.

Be sure to arrive early to get a good seat, or to place your food or drink order.

Find out more about Clarkson’s Science Cafe at http://www.clarkson.edu/sciencecafe.

E-mail Daniel ben-Avraham at ScienceCafe@clarkson.edu with any questions or suggestions for future Science Cafe topics.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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