Ed Lorenz begins visiting, develops chaos theory (1961)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Edward Lorenz began visiting NCAR on a regular basis in the 1960s, collaborating with NCAR scientists through the 1990s. A meteorologist by training, Lorenz was the first to recognize what is now called chaotic behavior in the mathematical modeling of weather systems, when he realized that small differences in a dynamic system such as the atmosphere could trigger vast and often unexpected results. These observations ultimately led him to formulate what became known as the “butterfly effect.” His insights marked the beginning of a new field of study that impacted virtually every branch of science.