Examples of the Butterfly Effect (chaos theory)

The butterfly effect it’s a concept associated with the chaos theory in general, which has a very complex theoretical support and elaborated based on equations, but which specifically aims to describe chaotic systems, which due to their own characteristics have such a large number of variables that it cannot be determined with precision what happens when modifying one of the parts of the system, no matter how minimal it may be. For instance: a small cigarette butt thrown in a forest can start a huge fire.

The idea of ​​’butterfly effect’ has a intrinsic relationship with the hard sciencesIn fact, the term itself was coined by an American mathematician and meteorologist: Edward Lorenz. The name of the effect comes from a Chinese proverb that says that ‘The flapping of a butterfly can cause a Tsunami on the other side of the world’.

The phrase, which may have had the original sole intention of illustratively explaining the unknown magnitude of simple actions, motivated the entire creation of the idea of ​​the endless sequence of events, seemingly triggered by each other, which end up having completely consequences. unpredictable. Lorenz considered the atmospheric climate as a case of this type, to the extent that the initial conditions can never be known exactly.

The butterfly effect idea It was strongly attractive to a very large number of people, some from the academic field who took care to dismember the theoretical structure behind it, and others on the outside who are surprised to hear the scope of Lorenz’s contributions.

Much has been written scientific dissemination and also a lot fiction motivated by interest in the butterfly effect, among which the film that bears the effect’s name, directed and written by Eric Bress, stands out. There, the protagonist can alter situations from his own past, causing devastating effects on his present.

Examples of the butterfly effect

The following list will include some examples, Real cases linked to everyday life, what is known as the butterfly effect.

  1. The effect that happens when there are many dominoes stopped in the same direction and a person moves the first one and they begin to fall from the previous fall, constitutes the best example of the butterfly effect (Domino effect).
  2. In snowy mountains, it is common for a small jump or insignificant shot from a person to cause a huge avalanche.
  3. The story known as ‘Newton’s apple’ where the theoretical foundations of physics were modified motivated by the fall of an apple on the head of a man, is a good example of the butterfly effect.
  4. The leitmotiv of the films related to time travel, that a person who goes into the past cannot touch anything because it would alter the future that he has already lived, is another example of this.
  5. A small cigarette butt thrown in a forest can start a huge fire.
  6. A person forgets their wallet at work. On that return he meets a woman, with whom after a while he changes the course of his life.