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The End of Classical Determinism
J. C. Sommerer
Advanced Materials Technology Insertion
L. W. Hunter, D. D. Duncan, F. F. Mark, J. S. O'Connor, and J. W. White
Cover Information: Chaos theory shows that simple physical systems, like a ball moving in a potential well, can behave in ways that are almost unimaginably unpredictable, even without any intrinsic randomness. For example, the illustrated system has two possible qualitatively distinct outcomes, but the initial conditions leading to each of the outcomes are globally intermingled on arbitrarily fine scales, as shown by the mosaic-like panels. The cover also alludes to the analogy of continental drainage: when qualitatively distinct outcomes generically result from nearby starting conditions, it is as though the continental divide were everywhere. The article in this issue by J. C. Sommerer entitled "The End of Classical Determinism" explores how such conterintuitive behavior arises in simple systems, including those of engineering interest. (Cover illustration by Kenneth R. Moscati.)
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