Government Policy

The Butterfly Effect Theory: Everything You Need to Know About

Have you ever thought about how a small change in one event can have large and unpredictable consequences? Most of the time, the smallest change can cause big changes in our lives. For example, if you accidentally spill coffee on your shirt, the stain may be difficult to remove. But if you spill coffee on your shirt while wearing a white dress, the stain will be much more difficult to remove.

Scientists have built a theory on the consciences of small changes that states the small changes in the past can have a large impact on the future. This is called the butterfly effect. In this article, we are going to explore the butterfly effect theory and its example.

What Is Butterfly Effect Theory and Its Origin?

The butterfly effect theory is a model describing the short- and long-term consequences of individual events. The theory was first introduced by Edward Lorenz in the 1960s. At the 139th session of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Mathematician and meteorologist Edward Lorenz raised a special question. The question was if a butterfly fluttered its wings in Brazil, could that flutter cause a tornado in Texas?

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Many may find Edward Lorenz mentally unbalanced because of this question. The fluttering of the butterfly's wings cannot create any tornado. Also, if there was a tornado, how could it be in Texas? Why not in Brazil. A flurry of butterfly wings may create tornadoes. In fact, this strange theory is called the 'butterfly effect. However, Lorenz did not literally mean that. According to the theory, small changes in initial conditions can lead to large differences in the final outcome. Lorenz used this new theory to calculate the weather forecast.

what Butterfly Effect Theory

Butterfly (Representational Image: Collected)

Although there is little controversy surrounding the butterfly effect, Edward Lorenz was the first to be credited with identifying this theory. Edward Lorenz was a mathematician and professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He combined his two areas of expertise, meteorology, and mathematics, and introduced chaos theory. In 1950 he was hoping to find a way to predict the weather conditions. Because the current model was common and very challenging to make accurate predictions. Through his study, he established the butterfly effect as a brand-new theory, with the help of mathematics.

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The Relationship of Butterflies with The Butterfly Effect

Lorenz uses a mathematical value of 0.506 as a prerequisite for forecasting the weather, which was based on the directions. The value of this fraction was a little wider, producing more numbers after the decimal, which was 0.506127. Upon counting the six values after the decimal he got a new result to forecast. But when he counted to three digits after the decimal, that result was very different from the previous result. Only three digits were omitted after the decimal point, but the result showed a lot of change.

Because of this, he assigns about 12 variables to the computer program (these values were typically temperature, wind speed, humidity, etc.). Thus, he realized that he was getting different results every time. He wasn't able to exactly recreate a specific outcome. He also analyzed the values from different sources a bit different but always ended up with a different outcome. Putting these values into a graph produces a graph that resembles a butterfly. This is why the name of the butterfly is associated with his theory.

From this, Lorenz concludes that the effect of a slight change in the quality of weather forecasting on it is not small at all but extensive. This is how the chaos theory or butterfly effect was born.

Edward Lorenz published his research ideas in the form of a paper entitled Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow, which got the award later.

What Are Historical Examples of The Butterfly Effect?

There are some historical examples of the butterfly effect. Some of the notable ones are-

Atomic Bombing in Nagasaki

It is difficult to find people who do not know the horrors of the U.S. atomic bombing in Nagasaki, Japan. But the fact is that U.S. pilots were not supposed to drop an atomic bomb on Nagasaki that day. Their target was Kuroko, another city in Japan. Kuroko's military base was their main target. But when the U.S. bomber flew over Kuroko, there were clouds in the sky. The pilots did not see the target through the clouds. They tried three times to hit the target. But that was not possible just because of the clouds. As a result, U.S. pilots decided to bomb Nagasaki. This little cloud saved the Kuroko from this terrible bombing, and it is considered a butterfly effect.

Hitler would never have been Hitler if the Fine Arts Academy in Vienna had accepted his application. When Hitler applied for admission to the Academy of Fine Arts, he was turned down. Not once, but twice. His application was rejected by a Jewish professor at the academy. If Hitler had been accepted into the academy for the second time, Hitler would still be known today as an artist, not as an authoritarian Hitler. There is also applicable the butterfly effect. The slightest rejection changed the course of Hitler's life.

Chernobyl Disaster

The butterfly effect has also been found in the case of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor explosion. Because of the carelessness and mistakes of the operators, Chernobyl is now a depopulated ghost town. Operators at Chernobyl reactor No. 4 wanted to conduct an unusual test. They tried to run the reactor with only 7% power by turning off the main power. This small mistake led to a disaster.

Final Words

For many years humans are looking for the answer to whether the Butterfly Effect theory is real? So far, we have discussed the concepts and some historical examples of the butterfly effect theory. The butterfly effect can also be applied to an individual's life path and decisions. It is a powerful reminder that the smallest change can have the biggest impact. By understanding the butterfly effect, you can better understand the consequences of your actions and make better choices for yourself and others. Let the butterfly effect take your life to new heights.

Source: United News of Bangladesh