Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Out of Chaos Comes Order

Was Nietzsche right? Gosh I hope not (or there is no purpose or meaning in the world); anyway, here's an interesting physics experiement concerning order and chaos that has a non-intuitive result.

Chaos = Order: WUSTL physicists make baffling discovery: "According to a computational study conducted by a group of physicists at Washington University in St. Louis, one may create order by introducing disorder.

While working on their model — a network of interconnected pendulums, or 'oscillators' — the researchers noticed that when driven by ordered forces the various pendulums behaved chaotically and swung out of sync like a group of intoxicated synchronized swimmers. This was unexpected — shouldn't synchronized forces yield synchronized pendulums?

But then came the real surprise: When they introduced disorder — forces were applied at random to each oscillator — the system became ordered and synchronized."

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