新概念三Lesson 33中的主人公真是倒霉。好像因为一件小事招致了一连串的霉运。现实生活中好像也会这样呢!从结果往前推的话,往往会发现成因是很偶然很小的一件事儿或者一个物体甚至是一句话……这样子的连锁反应可以称之为蝴蝶效应吗?文化大爆炸为大家介绍一下啥是蝴蝶效应。

What is the butterfly effect?

The butterfly effect is a term used in chaos theory to describe how small changes to a seemingly unrelated thing or condition (also known as an initial condition) can affect large, complex systems. The term comes from the suggestion that the flapping of a butterfly's wings in South America could affect the weather in Texas, meaning that the tiniest influence on one part of a system can have a huge effect on another part.
蝴蝶效应是混沌学中的一种现象,指的是在一个动力系统中,初始条件下微小的变化能带动整个系统的长期的巨大的连锁反应。这个名字来自于一个举例:一只南美洲亚马逊河流域热带雨林中的蝴蝶,偶尔扇动几下翅膀,可以在两周以后引起美国德克萨斯州的一场龙卷风。

Origins in Weather Prediction

The concept of the butterfly effect is attributed to Edward Norton Lorenz, a mathematician and meteorologist, who was one of the first proponents of chaos theory. Lorenz was running global climate models on his computer one day and, hoping to save himself some time, ran one model from the middle rather than the beginning. The two weather predictions, one based on the entire process, including initial conditions, and another based on a portion of the data, starting with the process already part way completed, diverged drastically. Lorenz, along with most scientists of his time, had expected the computer models to be identical regardless of where they started. Instead, tiny, unpredictable variations caused the two models to differ.
蝴蝶效应是气象学家,同时也是首位提出混沌学的数学家洛伦兹提出来的。这位气象学家制作了一个电脑程序,可以模拟气候的变化。为了节省时间,他从中间开始了这个电脑程序。他发现两次天气的预告结果完全不一样,一次是根据原始数据,运行全过程的程序得出的;另一次是从已经完成的分析开始的。和大多数同行的科学家一样,洛伦兹认为不论从程序的哪一步开始运行,计算机模型的结果应该是一样的。然而,事实上,微小的不可预料的变量会造成不同的结果。

Intrigued by the results, Lorenz began creating a mathematical explanation that would show the sensitive dependence of large, complex systems like the weather. Sensitive dependence means that the development of the system depends on a wide number of factors. To simplify his findings, Lorenz coined the butterfly explanation that has since become so widely known.
对实验结果感到非常好奇,洛伦兹开始尝试用数学原理解释大型复杂的系统(如气候)对初始条件敏感性的依赖现象。对初始条件敏感的依赖性指的是系统中大量的变量都能对系统的发展产生影响。为了让他的理论更为简单易懂些,洛伦兹运用了现在人人皆知的那个蝴蝶比喻。

Other Systems

In human behavior, it may be possible for small initial changes to render behavior unpredictable. For example, someone who has committed suicide are often left wondering what could have caused the death. They might agonize over the myriad small details they did not see, but which could have predicted the suicide. The butterfly effect might suggest that a huge range of experiences, dispositions, and genetic, physical, and emotional factors were too many to account for in the person's actions.
在人类的行为中,可能开头很小的变化会导致难以预测的行为。例如,有些自杀的人让他人无法理解为什么他会选择自杀。可能会是因为旁人无法发现的无数苦恼的小细节,但它们的确是自杀的预示。蝴蝶效应可能表明人的行动会受到很多很多的因素影响:经历,性情,基因,身体状况,情绪状况等。