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July 5, 2019 12:18 PM   Subscribe

Mitchell Feigenbaum, physicist who pioneered chaos theory, died in New York City on June 30 at the age of 74. Among his many accomplishments, he was the first to discover that many different physical systems follow a common “periodic doubling” path to chaos, paving the way for the emergence of the discipline known today as chaos theory.

A portrait: My Encounter with the Late Mitchell Feigenbaum, Chaos Pioneer and Critic. (Excerpted from The End of Science by John Horgan.)

Feigenbaum's page at Rockefeller University.

His 1984 MacArthur Fellow announcement, and his 1983 paper in Physica D on universality in dynamical systems.

Here are the Wikipedia pages on universality and the Feigenbaum constants, and a friendly-ish video on the topic.

A bit more intense Scholarpedia article on universality (period doubling).

A grad-level lecture by Steve Strogatz on renormalization, period doubling route to chaos, and the Feigenbaum number. (Here's Strogatz's own page, if you don't already know who he is.)
posted by mondo dentro (12 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
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posted by oonh at 12:21 PM on July 5, 2019


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posted by doctornemo at 12:43 PM on July 5, 2019


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posted by tarshish bound at 1:03 PM on July 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


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posted by mordax at 1:10 PM on July 5, 2019


Here are the Wikipedia pages on universality and the Feigenbaum constants
In the case of the Mandelbrot set for complex quadratic polynomial

{\displaystyle f(z)=z^{2}+c} f(z)=z^{2}+c
the Feigenbaum constant is the ratio between the diameters of successive circles on the real axis in the complex plane (see animation on the right).
mindblown.gifmindblown.gifmindblown.gifmindblown.gifmindblown.gifmindblown.gif
posted by Jpfed at 1:40 PM on July 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


For those who want to be mind blown too go here and scroll down a bit.
posted by njohnson23 at 2:25 PM on July 5, 2019


I knew him from his work in the 70s on chaos theory. His work on cartography is mentioned in other contexts. RIP.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 3:32 PM on July 5, 2019


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posted by aws17576 at 5:08 PM on July 5, 2019 [7 favorites]


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posted by lalochezia at 7:16 PM on July 5, 2019


Can we just say that Mitchell Feigenbaum discovered the remarkable universality property of iterated maps which bears his name, and was one of the modern pioneers of chaos theory. The founder and most important pioneer would have to be Henri Poincaré, followed in rough chronological order by Jacques Hadamard, Pierre Fatou, Gaston Julia, George Birkhoff, John von Neumann, Mary Cartwright, John Littlewood, Andrey Kolmogorov, Vladimir Arnold, Jürgen Moser, Dmitri Anosov, Yakov Sinai, Marina Ratner, Stephen Smale, Edward Lorenz, Benoit Mandelbrot, David Ruelle, John Milnor, John Mather, Hillel Furstenburg, Donald Ornstein, Benjamin Weiss, and many others.
posted by metaplectic at 12:49 AM on July 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


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posted by filtergik at 6:15 AM on July 6, 2019


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posted by crocomancer at 6:37 AM on July 6, 2019


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