• Barry Parker


A solar eclipse is an awe-inspiring event. The disk of the moon cuts off more and more of the sun. The sky begins to darken, then total darkness descends as the corona bursts into view. What is equally amazing about an eclipse is that we can predict the exact time at which it will occur years in advance. In fact we can predict to an exceedingly high accuracy the positions of all the planets for years into the future. It’s easy to see, however, that this is not the case with all phenomena in nature. All you have to do is look upward at the clouds drifting overhead. As you watch them break up and reform, try to predict what will happen to a small section; you will soon find that most of the time you are wrong. The changes that take place are random. If you watch a leaf fall from a tree, you see it sway back and forth in the wind as it falls. If you try to calculate its zigzagging path to the ground, you will soon find you can’t; it’s an impossible task.


Black Hole Solar Eclipse Leaf Fall Chaos Theory Mountain Stream 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  1. Gleick, James, Chaos: Making a New Science ( New York: Viking, 1987 ).MATHGoogle Scholar
  2. Stewart, Ian, Does God Play Dice? ( Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell, 1989 ).Google Scholar

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© Barry Parker 1996

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  • Barry Parker

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