Floris Takens

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Floris Takens (November 12, 1940-June 20, 2010) was a Dutch mathematician known for contributions to the theory of chaotic dynamical systems.

Together with David Ruelle he predicted that fluid turbulence could develop through a strange attractor, a term they coined, as opposed to the then-prevailing theory of accretion of modes. The prediction was later confirmed by experiment. Takens also established the result now known as the Takens' theorem, which shows how to reconstruct a dynamical system from an observed time-series.

Takens was born in Zaandam in the Netherlands. He attended schools in The Hague and in Zaandam before serving in the Dutch army for one year (1960-1961). At the University of Amsterdam he concluded his undergraduate and graduate studies. He was granted a doctorate in mathematics in 1969 under the supervision of Nicolaas Kuiper for a thesis entitled The minimal number of critical points of a function on a compact manifold and the Lyusternik–Schnirelmann category.

After his graduate work, Takens spent a year at the IHES, in Bures-sur-Yvette, near Paris, where he worked with David Ruelle, René Thom, and Jacob Palis. His friendship with Palis has taken him many times to the Instituto de Matemática Pura e Aplicada, IMPA, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Their collaboration produced several joint publications.

Takens was a professor at the University of Groningen, in Groningen, Netherlands from 1972 until he...
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