Edward Norton Lorenz

American mathematician and meteorologist (1917–2008)
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Edward Norton Lorenz (May 23, 1917April 16, 2008) was an American mathematician and meteorologist, and a pioneer of chaos theory. He discovered the strange attractor notion and coined the term butterfly effect.


Lorenz attractor first studied by Lorenz early 1960s.
  • We see that each surface is really a pair of surfaces, so that, where they appear to merge, there are really four surfaces. Continuing this process for another circuit, we see that there are really eight surfaces etc and we finally conclude that there is an infinite complex of surfaces, each extremely close to one or the other of two merging surfaces.
  • Mathematicians seem to have no difficulty in creating new concepts faster than the old ones become well understood, and there will undoubtedly always be many challenging problems to solve. nevertheless, I believed that some of the unsolved meteorological problems were more fundamental, and I felt confident that I could contribute to some of their solutions.

Quotes about Edward Norton Lorenz

  • By showing that certain deterministic systems have formal predictability limits, Ed put the last nail in the coffin of the Cartesian universe and fomented what some have called the third scientific revolution of the 20th century, following on the heels of relativity and quantum physics... He was also a perfect gentleman, and through his intelligence, integrity and humility set a very high standard for his and succeeding generations.
    • Kerry Emanuel (2009) in: "Edward Lorenz, father of chaos theory and butterfly effect, dies at 90]". in: MIT News, April 16, 2008. (online)
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