SOME SCIENTISTS SEE their work make headlines. But MIT meteorologist Edward Lorenz watched his work become a catch phrase. Lorenz, who died in April, created one of the most beguiling and evocative notions ever to leap from the lab into popular culture: the “butterfly effect,” the concept that small events can have large, widespread consequences. The name stems from Lorenz’s suggestion that a massive storm might have its roots in the faraway flapping of a tiny butterfly’s wings. more stories like this
Translated into mass culture, the butterfly effect has become a metaphor for the existence of seemingly insignificant moments that alter history and shape destinies. Typically unrecognized at first, they create threads of cause and effect that appear obvious in retrospect, changing the course of a human life or rippling through the global economy.
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