Sunday, January 2, 2011

Of Chaos,Universe,Garlic, You and Me:Happy Allof Us NewYear

drawing by marguerita

The universe is a chaotic place. It is full of uncertainty and it can be difficult to predict exactly what is going to happen at any given time be it the present or the far future. Scientists and mathematicians have developed a theory to explain this phenomenon. It is called chaos theory and it is highly relevant to the field of teaching.
Education is an uncertain endeavor. Not only is it difficult to exactly predict what will happen in the class each day, it is nearly impossible to ascertain what the best course of education for any given person or class may be. The reasons for this are simple. Education is connected to the rest universe and as such is fully subject to the chaos that naturally exists in reality.
Chaos has been contemplated by mankind for several millennia. The concept can be seen in early religious philosophy (Hinduism has believed in chaos from its inception) to the Babylonian epic of Gilgamesh. Isaac Newton also considered the nature of chaos in the universe. A modern view of chaos theory was written by Gollub and Solomon. They wrote (282),
"A chaotic system is defined as one that shows sensitivity to initial conditions.
That is, any uncertainty in the initial state of the given system, no matter how small, will lead to rapidly growing errors in any effort to predict the future behavior. In other words, the system is chaotic.

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