Intro to Chaos and Fractals: Final Questions

For paper guidelines, click here.

Your paper should address one of the following questions. If you want to write about some other topic, you must send me a short paragraph stating what you plan on writing about by Monday evening, 6 March.

  1. Write a persuasive essay arguing that chaos and/or fractals should be taught in high school and/or elementary school. Your target audience should be a principal or math teacher. Do not assume that your audience knows what chaos and fractals are. Thus, you'll need to do some explaining. Be sure to state clearly why you think chaos and/or fractals should be taught. (There are lots of good arguments.)

  2. Write a persuasive essay arguing that chaos and/or fractals should not be taught in high school or elementary school. Follow the same guidelines as in the above question.

  3. A friend of yours approaches you and says that she read somewhere about how some recent math is concerned with "deterministic chaos". Your friend thinks that this sounds like an oxymoron, but, knowing you took a class on chaos, wants to know what you think. Is "deterministic chaos" a contradiction? To answer this question, you'll need to very clearly state how you're using the terms "deterministic" and "chaos". (This question is based on a suggestion from Jim Crutchfield.)

  4. Al Gore is a fairly well educated guy who may soon be our nation's president. He has quite an interest in science and technology. Knowing that you've taken a course on Chaos and Fractals, he has asked you to prepare a short document discussing what the big deal about these new topics are. In particular, he's wondering if these new fields have any important lessons for him, or if they're not that important for a president to know. Be sure to take the time to explain any technical terms you use. If you don't have space to address both chaos and fractals, feel free to discuss only one of these topics. Also, if you'd rather address some other politician -- Jill Goldthwaite, Angus King, Lionel Jospin, etc. --- go ahead.

  5. Consider the following quote, by George Santayana: Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds. Discuss this in the context of the mathematical phenomena of chaos. In so doing, you'll need to define chaos and also say what you think Santayana means by "order".

  6. More topics may appear here shortly. If you have any ideas for a good question, please let me know.

[Dave] [Chaos and Fractals] [COA]

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