Chaos

Course No. 1333
Professor Steven Strogatz, Ph.D.
Cornell University
Share This Course
4.7 out of 5
102 Reviews
94% of reviewers would recommend this product
Course No. 1333
Video Streaming Included Free

Course Overview

It has been called the third great revolution of 20th-century physics, after relativity and quantum theory. But how can something called chaos theory help you understand an orderly world? What practical things might it be good for? What, in fact, is chaos theory? "Chaos theory," according to Dr. Steven Strogatz, Director of the Center for Applied Mathematics at Cornell University, "is the science of how things change." It describes the behavior of any system whose state evolves over time and whose behavior is sensitive to small changes in its initial conditions.

The 24 lectures of Chaos take you to the heart of chaos theory as it is understood today. Taught by Professor Strogatz, an award-winning Ivy League professor and a scientist described by Nature magazine as "one of the most creative biomathematicians of the past few decades," Chaos introduces you to a fascinating discipline that has more to do with your everyday life than you may realize.

A Revolutionary Way of Thinking

Surprisingly, you have already encountered chaos theory before, although you might not have recognized it at the time. From the flapping of a butterfly's wings to the dripping of a leaky faucet, chaos theory draws a wealth of unordinary insight from the most ordinary of occurrences.

Chaos theory affects nearly every field of human knowledge and endeavor, from astronomy and zoology to the arts, the humanities, and business. It can:

  • help analysts understand price fluctuations in the stock market,
  • ensure a smooth flow of data traffic on the Internet, and
  • show insurance companies how to manage the risks of natural catastrophes.

This course shows you the importance of this revolutionary field and how it has helped us come closer than ever to solving some of life's mysteries. Today, the underlying mathematics of science's major unsolved problems—including the nature of consciousness, the origin of life, and cancer—are essentially nonlinear; express any of these problems as a mathematical system and you learn that the whole may be either more or less than the sum of its parts.

In its ability to tackle bewilderingly complex problems, chaos theory has revolutionized the way we perceive the world around us. It allows scientists to reach beyond a dependency on the analytical limitations of the deterministic, "clockwork" universe that was the legacy of thinkers like Galileo, Kepler, and especially Newton.

Throughout the lectures, Professor Strogatz makes the case for why chaos theory marks such a radical departure from traditional science:

  • It asks unusual questions at the everyday scale of human life.
  • It shifts the focus off the laws of nature and onto their consequences.
  • It uses the computer not as a calculating tool but as a means of amplifying intuition.
  • It does not reduce complex problems into their separate parts but puts the parts back together to help understand the whole.
  • It is radically interdisciplinary in an era of increasingly specialized disciplines.
  • It paints a topsy-turvy picture of the world in which simple systems can show complex behavior.
  • It is a scientific field in which change came about suddenly.

Follow the Exciting Story of Chaos

As you delve into this ever-evolving field, you learn the surprising tale of how chaos theory was discovered—a story that Professor Strogatz likens to a detective novel filled with twists and turns.

First glimpsed by the French mathematician Henri Poincaré, the notion of chaos theory was lost for nearly a century before being rediscovered—almost accidentally. It was revived by a mathematically oriented meteorologist named Edward Lorenz, whose development of the butterfly effect (the extreme sensitivity of a chaotic system to tiny changes in its initial conditions) had little impact until the 1970s and 1980s, when the wave of chaos theory finally crashed onto the shores of the scientific community.

As you follow the story of chaos theory's development, you approach the core ideas of chaos in the same way the world's greatest thinkers, grounded in their historical contexts, once did. This story not only helps you understand the fundamentals of this field, but it also helps you appreciate the extraordinary intellectual feat that chaos theory represents.

Learn Chaos Theory Visually

This course offers you a unique opportunity to get an expert's instruction on the field of chaos theory and is one of the only places outside the halls of academia where you can follow along with detailed computer graphics—specifically developed for this course—as visual aids.

"For understanding these core concepts [of chaos theory], pictures turn out to be much more powerful than formulas," notes Professor Strogatz. Forgoing a heavy reliance on advanced math, he uses clear and powerful computer graphics to clarify chaos theory's core concepts.

A large portion of the course explores the intimate relationship between chaos theory and fractals: shapes or processes whose structures repeat ad infinitum such that the tiniest parts resemble the original whole. You see how fractals are unique from more commonly known shapes like circles and cubes and how they can be used to describe a variety of processes and phenomena like the jagged coastline of Norway or the drip paintings of Jackson Pollock.

Find the Unordinary in the Ordinary

Professor Strogatz's expert guidance lays bare the complexities of chaos theory in a way that any interested layperson can understand. With the insights he provides in Chaos, news stories about key scientific discoveries and new directions in research take on a fresh importance.

Professor Strogatz is a teacher repeatedly honored by institutions and students alike. During his tenure at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he received the E. M. Baker Memorial Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the university's only institute-wide teaching prize selected and awarded solely by students. In 2007, he received a lifetime achievement award for the communication of mathematics to the general public from the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics, which represents the four major American mathematical societies.

Whether charting the exciting history of the field, focusing on fractals as "the footprints of chaos," or journeying to the frontiers of chaos research, this course shows you new ways to think about and view the world around you.

Hide Full Description
24 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    The Chaos Revolution
    Chaos was once ignored by traditional science but is now both a pop sensation and a tremendously important field. But what is the science of chaos and why is it revolutionary and important? x
  • 2
    The Clockwork Universe
    The scientific revolution launched by Galileo, Kepler, and Newton left a great legacy: the idea of an orderly universe ruled by mathematical laws. But is there something disquieting in the idea of a vast, impersonal, clockwork universe of determinism with no room for chance? x
  • 3
    From Clockwork to Chaos
    By the late 19th century, three cracks appeared in determinism's foundations: relativity, quantum mechanics—and chaos. The "three-body problem" was considered the mathematical challenge of the era, and its solution, involving a still-unimagined chaos, eluded some of mathematics' greatest minds. x
  • 4
    Chaos Found and Lost Again
    Henri Poincaré's groundbreaking work on the three-body problem implied that a system governed by deterministic laws could still be unpredictable; chaos had crept into the clockwork. Although Poincaré invented a new, visual way of thinking about the mathematics involved, his brilliant discovery was quickly forgotten. x
  • 5
    The Return of Chaos
    For 70 years, chaos remained a scientific backwater. The calm ended with a thunderclap from a man fascinated by storms and weather. You see how Edward Lorenz discovered chaos in a model of weather patterns that allowed him to happen upon the "butterfly effect." x
  • 6
    Chaos as Disorder—The Butterfly Effect
    The butterfly effect—the extreme sensitivity of a chaotic system to tiny changes in its initial conditions—has become part of popular culture but is frequently misunderstood. You begin to understand not only its importance and power but also its limitations. x
  • 7
    Picturing Chaos as Order—Strange Attractors
    Your introduction to chaos has highlighted its unpredictable, random side, as exemplified by the butterfly effect. But there is also an amazing order inherent in chaos, and you learn how this can be visualized through the infinitely complex image known as a "strange attractor." x
  • 8
    Animating Chaos as Order—Iterated Maps
    If a strange attractor is analogous to an image created through time-lapse photography, Lorenz's "iterated map" might be the product of a series of strobe-light photographs. But despite its profound implications, Lorenz's discovery failed to attract the scientific community's notice. x
  • 9
    How Systems Turn Chaotic
    By the 1970s, there was an unprecedented convergence of disciplines. Researchers in mathematics, ecology, and fluid mechanics found themselves asking the same question: How does an orderly system suddenly turn chaotic? You see how a famous iterated map known as the logistic map reveals the most basic route. x
  • 10
    Displaying How Systems Turn Chaotic
    You deepen your understanding of the logistic map with the icon of chaos known as the orbit diagram. Its breathtaking imagery amounts to a Rosetta Stone for making sense of certain forms of chaos in the natural world. x
  • 11
    Universal Features of the Route to Chaos
    In 1978, physicist Mitchell Feigenbaum made a stunning breakthrough, showing that the logistic map displayed universal features so generic that they must also occur in nature, even though no laws of nature are built into it. You begin to understand how such universality arises. x
  • 12
    Experimental Tests of the New Theory
    In the early 1980s, painstaking experiments on such disparate systems as swirling fluids, electronic circuits, and oscillating chemical reactions confirmed the predictions of chaos theory. Overreaching by some advocates, however, has provoked a backlash of skepticism to this day. x
  • 13
    Fractals—The Geometry of Chaos
    The pioneers of chaos were bewildered by the fantastic shapes they encountered while trying to visualize chaos. In the first of several lectures devoted to these intricate shapes—now called fractals—you learn why they are so inextricably connected to chaos. x
  • 14
    The Properties of Fractals
    You are introduced to the two most distinctive properties of fractals—inexhaustible structural richness and "self-similarity," or the resemblance of the parts to the whole—before learning how the science of fractals came into being and its situation in the broader scientific landscape. x
  • 15
    A New Concept of Dimension
    Using some idealized geometric examples, you learn how to define the dimension of a fractal—discovering that the usual categories of one-, two-, or three-dimensional usually do not apply, and that fractals are so convoluted they fall somewhere in between, such as 1.26-dimensional! x
  • 16
    Fractals Around Us
    Fractals are not merely static geometric shapes but also can represent erratic processes in time, such as fluctuating stock prices, Internet data bursts, or earthquakes. You learn that their gyrations are wilder and more frequent than conventional statistical methods would predict and make their management more complex. x
  • 17
    Fractals Inside Us
    From lungs to nervous systems to the nutrient supply systems of plants, all living things are built from fractal networks. You examine this geometry of life, including a recent theory that invokes fractal architecture to explain one of the most comprehensive laws in biological science. x
  • 18
    Fractal Art
    This lecture shows you some of the manifestations of fractals in art, including the controversial drip paintings of Jackson Pollock. Some have suggested that they contain fractal characteristics that changed over the course of his career in a very systematic way. x
  • 19
    Embracing Chaos—From Tao to Space Travel
    Does chaos have practical applications? Because tiny nudges to a chaotic system can have potent effects, these systems are exceptionally responsive. You see the advantages of harnessing chaos in the dramatic story of how a NASA mathematician "surfed" the gravitational field to salvage a Japanese lunar mission gone wrong. x
  • 20
    Cloaking Messages with Chaos
    Although the feasibility of encrypting electronic messages by cloaking them in chaotic "noise" has been verified in real-world tests, questions remain. Could an eavesdropper crack the chaos? This lecture shows you what such an application could mean in a world of growing concerns about cyberterrorism, national security, and cell phone and Internet privacy. x
  • 21
    Chaos in Health and Disease
    Building on decades of biological research, chaos theorists have been asking questions about the dynamics of bodily rhythms. Can the mathematics of chaos help predict an epileptic seizure? Quell or prevent cardiac arrhythmias? Perhaps most controversially, can chaos in the body ever be a sign of health rather than of sickness? x
  • 22
    Quantum Chaos
    Can chaos theory coexist with quantum theory? Can it survive the descent to the strange world of the atom, where Newtonian trajectories dissolve into a haze of quantum probability waves? You see how scientists reconcile two radically different views of reality. x
  • 23
    Synchronization
    Large, complex systems having many interacting parts often display a remarkable capacity for organizing themselves, with their individual parts becoming synchronized. This lecture shows you systems as diverse as pendulum clocks, fireflies, heart cells, and menstrual cycles and takes you inside the opening-day swaying of London's Millennium Bridge. x
  • 24
    The Future of Science
    You review what you've learned and examine the future role of chaos theory. In a world where most of the major unsolved issues facing science—including cancer, consciousness, the origin of life, and AIDS—involve fundamentally nonlinear systems, chaos theory can be a crucial first step toward their solution x

Lecture Titles

Clone Content from Your Professor tab

What's Included

What Does Each Format Include?

Video DVD
Video Download Includes:
  • Download 24 video lectures to your computer or mobile app
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 24 lectures on 4 DVDs
  • 152-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 152-page printed course guidebook
  • Photos & illustrations
  • Suggested readings
  • Questions to consider

Enjoy This Course On-the-Go with Our Mobile Apps!*

  • App store App store iPhone + iPad
  • Google Play Google Play Android Devices
  • Kindle Fire Kindle Fire Kindle Fire Tablet + Firephone
*Courses can be streamed from anywhere you have an internet connection. Standard carrier data rates may apply in areas that do not have wifi connections pursuant to your carrier contract.

Your professor

Steven Strogatz

About Your Professor

Steven Strogatz, Ph.D.
Cornell University
Professor Steven Strogatz is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics and Professor of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics at Cornell University. He graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University with a B.A. in Mathematics and received his Ph.D. from Harvard University. Before joining Cornell University in 1994, Professor Strogatz was a faculty member at MIT. Professor Strogatz's books include Nonlinear...
Learn More About This Professor
Also By This Professor

Reviews

Chaos is rated 4.6 out of 5 by 102.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from More Natural Presentation I feel I learned the basics of Chaos Theory and Fractals. However, I will likely view it again to make sure. I particularly like manner and style of presentation. It was like attending a lecture to a small class. The setting was simple and the teacher seemed unrehearsed, even backtracking at times. The newer Great Courses suffer from too great a resemblance to Hollywood productions and the the teachers seem to be using teleprompters.
Date published: 2018-03-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Mixture of good ideas and unnecessary jargon! I liked the new ideas introduced in the course. Some of the lectures were very organized while others were mere repetition. There is too much redundancy and unnecessary jargon. Good course if you are an old retired person who is trying to find ways to pass his/her time.
Date published: 2018-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good Job on a Difficult Topic I bought and listened to two Great Courses which are still offered as a bundle: Complexity and Chaos. Professor Strogatz's course on Chaos is twice as long as the course on Complexity (four DVDs vs two; 12 full hours of lecture). His course also seemed mathematically more rigorous than the course on complexity. Both of these are relatively new fields in science (they hadn't yet INVENTED chaos, when I was in school!) and rather interdisciplinary in nature, with contributions from pure mathematicians and from many other disciplines which suddenly recognized that these topics really applied to their own fields too (biology, sociology, economics, and others). Is it coincidental or is there something fundamental that about the same time we realized it is impossible to precisely predict all outcomes in science (with the "uncertainty principle" and other contributions from quantum mechanics) we suddenly awoke to the fact that there is really a science to the somewhat-predictable, the often-but-not always predictable, the uncertain? Complexity and chaos are closely related, though not quite the same. Both courses are worth the study, although sometimes the material may seem a little slow, and then suddenly you're presented with findings you have to struggle a bit to understand. I preferred this longer course, with its more in-depth and mathematically based look at the world of the chaotic, in its many manifestations and interesting insights. If you're interested in learning something about the topic, go for it.
Date published: 2018-01-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from chaos is just complexity The entire course is semantic hogwash. The course wastes time with history. The history of chaos is meaningless. Using Newton as making the universe completely predictable is the logical fallacy of setting up a straw target just to knock it down. Newton is irrelevant since his theories are only approximations. So who cares if Newton’s theories have cracks in them. Try Einstein if you want to truly understand gravity. We all know Newton’s theories are limited. The problem with calculating the weather or the three body problem isn’t chaos, we just can’t gather all the data and do the math, not even with a dozen super computers. This isn’t like the uncertainty principle that appears to be fundamental. If we had the technology to track all the data and the computing capacity to do the math we could determine anything in the macro world subject to the limitations that quantum mechanics imposes on reality. I had high hopes for this course. What a disappointment. Complexity imposes limits because we aren’t yet smart enough to deal with it. Big deal. How novel a thought. We need a branch of science for this idea? In a hundred years or less chaos theory will be considered quaint.
Date published: 2018-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Riding the scientific new wave A very enjoyable and thought provoking course. As Professor Strogatz himself explains "chaos" is actually a misnomer; chaos is not just randomness but actually the result of completely deterministic systems that just look random - until you look at them the right way, when all sorts of amazing patterns and structures emerge. Professor Strogatz is a very personable presenter, with a cheerful, relaxed manner, I couldn't decide whether he was using a teleprompter or not most of the time! He is also one of the world's leading researchers in the field and seems to have met, or knows, many of the other leading players, such as Edward Lorenz, who got the chaos ball rolling again in the 1960s. Professor Strogatz uses a lot of graphics to get his ideas over as opposed to bombarding the viewer with equations. So while the course does not require great facility with mathematics (although knowing something about logarithms would be useful at times) it does require a certain degree of concentration to understood the importance of the diagrams and how they function. This is perhaps the only caveat - if you a person expecting a math heavy course, you will be disappointed. However, speaking or myself, even though I had read a couple of books on chaos and fractals, and I have no fear of mathematics, this was an eye-opening course and I learned a tremendous amount, especially about present or future applications of the theory.
Date published: 2018-01-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from This was both interesting and disappointing. I liked the content, but the professor was too long winded and sometimes slow to get to the point. I did like that, at least at times, he didn't appear to read from a prompt screen behind the camera, but actually lectured as though he really knew what he was talking about. I have been a customer of your lectures for many years and have several hundred hours of lectures. I don't like the trend to go toward the lecture reading from a prompt screen! Some are actually poor readers!
Date published: 2017-12-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Engaging and fun! Professor Stogatz is a down-to-earth, engaging teacher. His wit and humour make the course so much fun. He talks TO the student, not AT them, using examples the average person can well understand. The fluidity of the course, beginning with the difficulties in getting chaos theory recognized, the persistence of researchers to further their study, the variable real-world applications of chaos theory today to exciting future applications, makes this course complete This is a great course taught by an even greater instructor!
Date published: 2017-11-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very interesting discussion, thought provoking! The discussion and examples were excellent. I would say due to the enthusiasm of the instructor. His enthusiasm is contagious. The explanations of how non-linear systems are related to chaos, plus the mathematical definition of chaos explains a lot in the real world that is often/usually considered random, but is really complexity that goes unrecognized. This course is seriously worth taking if you are even a little interested in the "why" of the world. I expected more technical mathematics to appear, but it is probably good that he didn't present such detail here. I will buy his books so I can study this more. To be sure any reading this understands my enthusiasm for this course - I have a degree in engineering physics, but have not previously studied this area directly.
Date published: 2017-07-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An excellent introduction to a complex topic This excellent course is presented by one of the leaders in the study and development of the theories about chaos. While this topic can be daunting, especially for those without a background in mathematics, Prof. Strogatz is able present the concepts with a minimum of mathematical complexity. This is an overview of the field of study and not a university-level class in mathematics, and some viewers may find a few segments a bit difficult, but they are worth repeating, and it is possible to move on without losing on the overall flow and development of the topics. Practical examples, graphics, and simulations are used to highlight many of the concepts, and the professor never strays very far into dry mathematical theory. I highly recommend this course to anyone with even a slight interest in mathematics and anyone wanting to gain an overview of a new area of science and mathematics which has already impacted our everyday life.
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Challenging This is a challenging course, one that will require you to stretch your mind and your imagination in order to understand some unusual scientific findings and concepts. The professor’s enthusiasm for the subject is contagious and I found myself looking forward to each new lecture. No math is required but a grasp of how math is used to prove scientific concepts well be very helpful. The computer graphics and animations are excellent. I also liked the way the lectures illustrated how scientists and mathematicians build on each other’s work to create a new branch of science with interdisciplinary applications. One caveat; this course was recorded in 2008 and it is likely that in a fast-moving field such as chaos theory there have been new developments and perhaps even some breakthroughs that will not be covered in this course. However, these lectures are a great starting point even if the science has moved on.
Date published: 2016-10-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best I've gone through many courses with the teaching company and of the math courses, this one was the most memorable and they have all been good. The professor seems like someone you would really like to meet. He's knowledgeable, clear, and entertaining as well.
Date published: 2016-06-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Chaos and Life: Expand Your Horizons Excellent. Every lecture was very interesting. Professor Strogatz obviously enjoys the topic very much which makes it more fun for the viewer. This course covers a wide range of topics which apply to every day life and to deep philosophical issues. You look at the world differently after watching this. I highly recommend it to those interested in math, physics, philosophy, art, system behavior, and patterns of nature. You learn how chaos affects all of life. It is one fascinating lecture after the other, presented so that anyone can understand. The graphics and explanations are very good. Expand your horizons with Chaos!
Date published: 2016-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thoroughly Engaging Wo knew? I took this as I like math and this would be a totally new experience. Indeed it was. The concept was a bit esoteric in the beginning but quickly began to make sense. Towards the end, when the real world use and adaptations of chaos were made clear, the value of this course and the future potential of the chaos model should be on everyone's learning bucket list.
Date published: 2016-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Startling inisights When I earned my engineering degree in the late '60s, non-linear systems were believed to be beyond our ability to model, analyze or even understand. My singular course in graduate school, titled "Non-linear Problems", gave valuable insights into the real world and techniques for solving a limited class of problems. Most non-linear systems and multi-variable problems were simply too difficult, and yet most problems are non-linear in nature. For this reason engineers and scientists model and work with systems in the linear part of the operating curve. Ignoring this fact can result in disaster. Dr. Strogatz does an excellent job of describing how Chaos and fractal analysis have emerged to address an amazing range of phenomena and engineering problems that seem to defy explanation. To be sure Chaos and fractals are an extremely complex area of study so my primary goal was to gain an appreciation for these analytical tools and how they can be applied to solving real-world problems. Dr. Strogatz’ course certainly achieved this.
Date published: 2015-11-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is Order and not Random Video format is essential and it looks like this is the only option-good. This is another example of the the sum being greater than its parts. He is a good lecturer but not great with some minor irritations. He is both enthusiastic and knowledge on the subject of Chaos. He takes a very complicated subject and breaks it down in segments that you can understand. If you are a math whiz, you won't like it; yet he does put in some math at appropriate times. I almost gave him a four star rating because I was disappointed with the last few lectures. I thought with the build up that it was going to be 'mind blowing'- instead it was more of a tease for the future. Still that is probably where chaos theory is. He devotes several lectures to fractals- all good. If you have an interest in this subject and don't know everything about it already, this is a very good course.
Date published: 2015-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Welcome to Chaos! Prof. Strogatz has opened up a really difficult area of study to mathematically-challenged people like me. Although mathematics is the basis of chaos theory, he has managed somehow to keep the math to a minimum and to get the concepts across, and with such clarity and enthusiasm! A really fine course.
Date published: 2014-10-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Chaos This wonderful course opened my eyes to fractals; it is a delightful glimpse into tomorrow-land! Thanks!
Date published: 2014-07-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eager to teach Professor Strogatz is not only enthusiastic about the subject, but has a palpable eagerness to get YOU to understand what is so exciting about it. Throughout, I had the pleasant sensation of trusting the teacher not to lose me during complicated topics. The computer animations and physical demonstrations were especially helpful. The course covers a remarkable range of topics, giving a sense of how fertile this new approach is. Because of this, many lectures seem unfinished, with interesting topics only briefly introduced. This is not surprising for a 12 hour course. The course notes contain additional material not presented in the lectures, such as a glossary of terms and capsule biographies.
Date published: 2014-06-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Course for a Difficult Subject Several decades ago when I was working on my undergraduate work in Mathematics, I was continuously taught to keep the problem and solution within “well defined constraints”. While this works the majority of the time, it does not work all of the time because nature is not constrained by limits imposed by man. This had almost bothered me but nobody cause explain why except to say that the results are unpredictable. In this course, Professor Strogatz finally provided answers to those doubts that I have had for many years. These results are not unpredictable, they are non-deterministic (i.e., sometimes the answer is “a” and sometimes the answer is “b” but there is a probability for the “a” answer and for the “b” answer). This course material was presented in a very interesting and logical fashion. This course also shows that there is beauty in chaos as demonstrated on the lectures on fractals. You do not have to have any degrees or any background in Mathematics to understand and appreciate the concepts of this course. This course also provided me with excellent background material for two other excellent Great Courses; namely, the “Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, 2nd Edition” by Professor Filippenko and “Einstein's Relativity and the Quantum Revolution: Modern Physics for Non-Scientists, 2nd Edition” by Professor Wolfson. The information on non-deterministic results would very beneficial in understanding the concepts of Einstein’s theories of relativity and the general principles of quantum mechanics presented in these additional courses. This course is highly recommended.
Date published: 2014-04-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Superb course, highly recommended A fascinating subject that at times leaves you in awe of hidden connections between things you would never have expected. Very well presented by a professor who clearly knows and loves his subject. Thank you!
Date published: 2014-01-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excelent overview of Chaos Professor Strogatz presents the subject of Chaos in an extremely informative manner, making excellent use of examples and historical aspects of the subject. Practical applications and limitations are highlighted in later lectures and are fascinating.
Date published: 2014-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fabulous Dr. Strogatz is fantastic. His style is fun, his explanations are very, very clear (and you don't have to be a mathematician - that's not just something they say to convince you to buy the course#, and the illustrations he uses really help the course. He's also self-deprecating; he's not out to toot his own research horn or a point of view. He even eats a chunk of romanesco that he uses to illustrate fractals in nature. #You had to be there.) His very human style of teaching makes this topic easy to grasp, but he still challenges viewers at the same time. It's just the way I want these courses to be - challenging, but not so abstruse that I can't understand them.
Date published: 2013-09-15
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disorganized. Chaotic... Chaos. That sums up Dr. Strogatz course. He wanders in his lectures. He did not pin down his definition of "chaos theory" until well into his second disc. His delivery style was disorganized and at times painful to watch. Overall, it would be easier to read a book that deals with chaos theory than listen to this chaotic presentation.
Date published: 2013-06-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Intro course; could be more interesting. For those with only a little history of math background and want to gain some introductory insight into the world of mathematics, this course might prove interesting. However if your are more experienced and knowledgeable you might find the course structure a little slow moving and boring. Having taken a number of courses here, I found this not as interesting as I had hoped. The topics start out slow and take a while to get into. The teachers presentation skills are at best mediocre despite what has been said of his speaking abilities. He often stumbles in his speech and appears a bit nervous at times. He is probably a likable professor, but I was looking for a bit more challenge to his topics. He did gives some websites to check out. This is what I will probably review next.
Date published: 2013-05-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating and Stimulating Prior to this course, chaos to me was disorder. However, once exposed to this fascinating and stimulating course, I learned that chaos is order within a non-linear system. Dr. Strogatz exudes enthusiasm for his subject and works hard to make certain that foreign concepts are clear. He illuminates the elegance of Lorenz equations, the Mandelbrot fractals and synchronization within systems. Dr. Strogatz concludes the course with a view of the future for chaos in the understanding of electrical engineering, neuroscience, oncogenesis and economic systems. This is an emerging field in mathematics, physics, biology and economics that will continue to foster new discoveries and better understanding of existing concepts. This course enables the lay person (like myself) to have a small grasp of this field. Although the course does not require knowledge of higher mathematics, I think it would be helpful to complete "Differential Equations: The Visual Method" prior to this course. I would have appreciated Dr. Strogatz providing some of the underlying differential equations (without spending time for explanation) that satisfy the concepts of chaos.
Date published: 2013-04-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fascinating stuff ! If chaos theory had come up in conversation prior to my viewing this course, I would have been rather lost! Now, while I am very far from being an expert, I could take part in a discussion on the subject in a modest way. Chaos theory has applications in many disciplines, even finance, philosophy and politics. Dr Strogatz is easy to listen to, makes his points clearly, has no weird tics. Step by step, he goes through a logical explanation of chaos theory, maintaining a brisk pace. You'll learn quickly that "chaos" does not mean "randomness". The great scientist Dr Edward Lorenz defined chaos as: When the present determines the future, but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future. Newton figures prominently in this course, but you don't have to be an expert in physics or mathematics to understand and follow the lectures; high-school algebra is enough. F=MA and "the butterfly effect" will become familiar to you if you don't already know about them. I enjoyed learning about those mystifying fractals in the final lectures! Several reviewers advise running this course twice or more, and I endorse that strongly. Happily, of course, you can choose specific lectures to re-run if only certain areas need reinforcement. Thoroughly recommended.
Date published: 2013-04-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Why you need this course "Chaos" may seem a threatening subject. But understanding the principles will have a revolutionary benefit for the student economically, intellectually, and it will reinforce you spiritually. You will wonder why you have not been taught to think about the world like this before. The graphic demonstrations are absolutely essential to the course and the guide is excellent. Appreciation of the rationale behind differential equations is helpful but not necessary. However, a math phobic will probably have difficulty. There are so many good things about this course. Strogatz nails Newtonian/Enlightenment limitations in his discussion of the 2-body problem. Lecture 8 uses photography to cleverly illustrate the mechanics of differential equations, strange attractors, and iterated maps. Strogatz is mindful of the limitations of current chaos solutions [lecture 12's "thermometer of complexity" is extraordinarily helpful]. By Lecture 14, you will clearly understand the difference between irregularities in time [chaos] and irregularities in space [fractals]. Lectures 16 & 17 discuss real world examples. I loved the outrageous improbabilities stock market crashes impose on a Bell curve model! The remaining lectures are clear sailing with less vital discussions of recent applications. Along the way, you will understand on why understanding that the internet doesn't act like voice traffic is important. You will better analyze earthquake predictions, the weather, and why insurance company payouts are critical data. Also exciting is Belbruno's salvage of a Japanese moon mission by combining 3 body chaotic solutions to gravity wells. This sounds intimidating but Strogatz easily shows how it was done, opening the way to low cost space travel. After showing why quantum mechanics and chaos should not co-exist, Strogatz unites them. The Rieman hypothesis of quantum chaos was an intellectual high but could be skipped if over-whelming. Cons, none of which diminish the importance of the course: 1. Positive feedback loops were nearly avoided. For example, known biochemical positive feedback gateways are an important basis for the non-linearity of heartbeats and neural firing discussed in the lectures. 2. The F-16 fly-by-wire example needed to show how its computers respond to predictable non-linearity rather than simple randomness, ie: what is its periodic behavior? 3. In lecture 19 (pp 85-6) an unneeded jab at 70% of his audience occurs. Here Strogatz oddly comments on creation stories: "...the void of the Hebrews, the malevolent disorder of the Christians...". He is factually wrong: both the Hebrews and the Christians have exactly the same books in their creation story. His quote from Lao Tzu might indicate an interest in Taoism because it finds order behind chaos. Tzu's quote ends: "I do not know its proper name but will call it Tao". The Pauline "unknown god" argument that might resolve Tzu's question wherein the ordering entity is all knowing, not unknown. If you are going there, please clarify "malevolence". No student should be allowed to graduate from university without understanding some version of this course. Lighthill's apology for misleading the public about the determinism of systems satisfying Newtonian dynamics needs to be etched in stone at the entrance to every university.
Date published: 2013-02-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Bravo! One of the best, or, possibly, the best out of all TC courses I listened to. Difficult concepts presented in engaging manner. Science teaching at its best! Bravo!
Date published: 2013-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Experience the "butterfly effect" for yourself! Chaos is the 18th course that I have purchased from “The Great Courses” and the 17th one that I have thoroughly enjoyed. Watching the content as presented by Professor Strogatz was captivating, so much so that I watched many of his presentations 2 or 3 times. That is how enjoyable I found him to be and the way he was able to explain the content in a reachable manner held my interest from one lesson to the next. He didn’t lecture me; he took me on a journey. If you don’t have a rigorous mathematical background, then you are in good hands. The graphs, diagrams, computer simulations and hands-on demonstrations make clear the material being taught. His child-like enthusiasm (and I mean that in the most complementary way) was infectious and kept ME excited to want to learn more. He is certainly an important participant and pioneer in this third great revolution of 20th-century mathematics and physics, the science of Chaos Theory. Yet you can still see awe and wonder in him during his presentations. It took the first few lectures for me to get used to his style of presentation but once I did, it was full speed ahead. Each lesson was lucid. You may not even realize that he is a mathematician given how easy it is to “get” what he is saying. His comments were insightful throughout as he explained the dynamics of chaotic systems. Many times I found myself turning my head and letting out an interested “really!” In a nutshell, chaos theory is defined at the science of how things change, describing the behaviour of any system whose state evolves over time and whose behaviour is sensitive to small changes in its initial conditions, the so-called “butterfly effect”. The practical applications of chaos theory amazed me, as did the fact that so many real world happenings in so many different disciplines can be described and analyzed using chaos. The practical things that chaos applies to is so diversified yet there are interdisciplinary commonalities between these disciplines. Chaos theory affects nearly every field of human knowledge and endeavour, from astronomy to population ecology to the arts and business. It is a member of the spectrum between order and randomness. You are told that chaos and randomness are not the same and shown in a (visual) manner that makes the concepts clear. At times we feel like we are listening to a mystery story as Strogatz narrates how the notion of chaos theory was first glimpsed by the French mathematician Henri Poincare, then lost for nearly a century before being rediscovered, or rather revived, by a meteorologist named Edward Lorenz. It was through Lorenz that the term “butterfly effect” came in to being, despite the fact that it almost became the “seagull” effect. I hope that Professor Strogatz makes a volume 2 of this course, digging deeper into the mathematics and physics of chaos. He has a few books available and I have 3 of them on my wish list. By the end of lesson 24 you will understand why he is repeatedly honoured by institutions and students alike. I highly recommend this course. It has made me a more interested and interesting person!
Date published: 2012-09-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Chaos This course would greatly benefit by the inclusion of some more math, either in the course itself or as an appendix in the book. The professor's attempt to make the subject understandable to those with a limited math background is admirable, but for others the qualitative and graphic explanations could be frustrating. Perhaps a separate, accompanying booklet at a more advanced level would also be useful. Having said this, the course is to be recommended, even as an introduction for those who wish to continue at a more advanced level.
Date published: 2012-06-16
  • y_2019, m_6, d_23, h_6
  • bvseo_bulk, prod_bvrr, vn_bulk_2.0.12
  • cp_2, bvpage2n
  • co_hasreviews, tv_10, tr_92
  • loc_en_US, sid_1333, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_teachco
  • bvseo_sdk, p_sdk, 3.2.0
  • CLOUD, getContent, 183.2ms
  • REVIEWS, PRODUCT

Questions & Answers

Customers Who Bought This Course Also Bought

Buy together as a Set
and
Save Up To $214.00
Choose a Set Format
$48.90
$70.90