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Visualizing the invisible: Performing chaos theory

Weitkamp, Emma

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Emma Weitkamp
Professor of Science Communication


Edward Lorenz, a pioneering figure in the field of chaos theory, coined the phrase “butterfly effect” and posed the well-known question “Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?” In posing the question, Lorenz sought to highlight the intrinsic difficulty of predicting the long-term behavior of complex systems that are sensitive to initial conditions, for example, the weather and climate; these systems are often referred to as chaotic. Taking Lorenz’s butterfly as a starting point, the author’s science theater project Chaos Cabaret seeks to explore the nuances of chaos theory through performance and music.


Weitkamp, E. (2021). Visualizing the invisible: Performing chaos theory. Leonardo, 54(3), 289-293.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 16, 2019
Online Publication Date Feb 13, 2020
Publication Date Jun 2, 2021
Deposit Date May 22, 2019
Publicly Available Date May 30, 2019
Journal Leonardo
Print ISSN 0024-094X
Publisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press (MIT Press)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 54
Issue 3
Pages 289-293
Keywords science theatre, chaos theory, science communication
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Additional Information Additional Information : This is the authors accepted manuscript. It has been accepted for publication in Leonardo.


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