Sensitive Dependence On Initial Conditions - Poem by Gary Witt
One stanza in the poetry of mathematics
Speaks of butterflies and building clouds,
Of reasoning toward a chasm, of quantifying chaos:
For, as a system becomes increasingly complex,
Small variations in data inputs over time will yield
Huge fluctuations in results, so that ultimately
A butterfly beats its wings in China and
Causes a storm to arise in the Atlantic
(Of which the butterfly is blissfully unaware) .
The poetry of mathematics does not speak
Of butterfly conscience, sympathy, or dread;
It does not deal with the romance of clouds.
But if our thoughts have wings what winds have they stirred?
What storms have our uttered words precipitated?
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