strange attractor

noun

mathematics
: the state of a mathematically chaotic system toward which the system trends : the attractor of a mathematically chaotic system
Unlike the randomness generated by a system with many variables, chaos has its own pattern, a peculiar kind of order. This pattern is known whimsically as a strange attractor, because the chaotic system seems to be strangely attracted to an ideal behavior.Gary Taubes, Discover, May 1989

Word History

First Known Use

1971, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of strange attractor was in 1971

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Cite this Entry

“Strange attractor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/strange%20attractor. Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

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