'Father of Chaos Theory' Dead at 90

Edward Lorenz came up with concept of 'butterfly effect'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2008 10:13 AM CDT
Lorenz explained in a 1972 paper how the flapping of a butterfly's wings in Brazil could lead to a tornado in Texas.   ((c) Gary J. Wood)
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(Newser) – The MIT scientist whose pioneering of chaos theory revolutionized science, has died at the age of 90, MIT News reports. Meteorologist Edward Lorenz came up with the concept of chaos theory after meticulously analyzing weather data and discovering microscopic differences could have huge effects, leading to his paper "Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly's Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?"

His theory that tiny changes could have vast and unsuspected results elsewhere became known as "the butterfly effect." Many scientists say the concept of chaos theory ranks with relativism and quantum mechanics as one of the greatest revolutions in scientific thinking of the 20th century. Lorenz, an avid hiker who remained active until the end, is survived by his three children.