Demonstrating the Butterfly Effect IRL With a Laser and Cylindrical Mirrors

Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?
Loukia Papadopoulos

You've likely heard about the Butterfly Effect. You may have even experienced it without knowing. What is this elusive effect?

In the case of Chaos Theory, the term "The Butterfly Effect" was created to attempt to explain a very complex thing through a simple metaphor. 

The metaphor goes:

“Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?”

The metaphor isn't meant to imply that this could actually happen in reality. It just points to the fact that even a small uneventful event, such as a butterfly flapping its wings, at the right time and place could, in theory, trigger a set of incidents that will ultimately culminate in the formation of a hurricane on the other side of the globe. 

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The metaphor was coined by Edward Lorenz almost 45 years ago during the 139th meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Science and has since been quite popular particularly in popular culture.

Still, most people feel that they don't quite understand this concept. Lucky, for us YouTuber The Action Lab has come up with a new video using cylindrical mirrors and a laser to explain the effect. Don't miss the video if you want to finally truly understand the Butterfly Effect

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