Edward N. Lorenz

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Edward Norton Lorenz
Born(1917-05-23)May 23, 1917
DiedApril 16, 2008(2008-04-16) (aged 90)
Alma materDartmouth College (BA, 1938)
Harvard University (MA, 1940)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (SM, 1943; ScD, 1948)
Known forChaos theory
Lorenz attractor
Butterfly effect
AwardsSymons Gold Medal (1973)
Crafoord Prize (1983)
Kyoto Prize (1991)
Lomonosov Gold Medal (2004)
Scientific career
FieldsMathematics and Meteorology
InstitutionsMassachusetts Institute of Technology
ThesisA Method of Applying the Hydrodynamic and Thermodynamic Equations to Atmospheric Models (1948)
Doctoral advisorJames Murdoch Austin
Doctoral studentsKevin E. Trenberth
William D. Sellers

Edward Norton Lorenz (May 23, 1917 – April 16, 2008) was an American mathematician and meteorologist. He was one of the first to work in the field of Chaos theory. He was the first to use the term Butterfly effect for dynamic systems that are very sensitive to starting conditions. In the 1960s, he used a simple model for weather prediction, which he simialated on a computer. With this setup, he discovered that only a slight change of the values he used for the model could lead to totally different results. This is known as Butterfly effect. In numerical weather predicion, values are often rounded, so that in each step, a small error is added.

He also discovered and developed the mathematical foundations. For his simulations he used a system of equations, which is now named after him.