BILLIARDS-the most visual dynamical systems (from ORDER to CHAOS and COMPLEXITY)

ACO Student Seminar
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 - 13:30
1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 171
School of Mathematics, Georgia Tech
Billiards is a dynamical system generated by an uniform motion of a point particle (ray of light, sound, etc.) in a domain with piecewise smooth boundary. Upon reaching the boundary the particle reflected according to the law "the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection". Billiards appear as natural models in various branches of physics. More recently this type of models were used in oceanography, operations research, computer science, etc. I'll explain on very simple examples what is a regular and what is chaotic dynamics, the mechanisms of chaos and natural measures of complexity in dynamical systems. The talk will be accessible to undergraduates.