Mitchell Feigenbaum

Mitchell Feigenbaum

Mitchell Feigenbaum

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Description:
Mitchell Jay Feigenbaum (born December 19, 1944) is a mathematical physicist whose pioneering studies in chaos theory led to the discovery of the Feigenbaum constants.

Biography

Feigenbaum was born in New York City, to Polish and Ukrainian Jewish immigrants. He attended Samuel J. Tilden High School, in Brooklyn, New York, and the City College of New York. In 1964 he began his graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Enrolling for graduate study in electrical engineering, he changed his area to physics. He completed his doctorate in 1970 for a thesis on dispersion relations, under the supervision of Professor Francis E. Low.

After short positions at Cornell University and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute, he was offered a longer-term post at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico to study turbulence in fluids. Although that group of researchers was ultimately unable to unravel the currently intractable theory of turbulent fluids, his research led him to study chaotic maps.

Work

Some mathematical mappings involving a single linear parameter exhibit the apparently random behavior known as chaos when the parameter lies within certain ranges. As the parameter is increased towards this region, the mapping undergoes bifurcation at precise values of the parameter. At first there is one...
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