A plot of the Lorenz attractor for values r = 28, σ = 10, b = 8/3.

In common usage, "chaos" means "a state of disorder". However, in chaos theory, the term is defined more precisely. Although there is no universally accepted mathematical definition of chaos, a commonly used definition says that, for a dynamical system to be classified as chaotic, it must have the following properties.

1. it must be sensitive to initial conditions;

2. it must be topologically mixing; and

3. its periodic orbits must be dense.

The requirement for sensitive dependence on initial conditions implies that there is a set of initial conditions of positive measure which do not converge to a cycle of any length. The Lorenz attractor displays chaotic behavior. These two plots demonstrate sensitive dependence on initial conditions within the region of phase space occupied by the attractor.

In physics, classical mechanics is one of the two major sub-fields of mechanics, which is concerned with the set of physical laws describing the motion of bodies under the action of a system of forces. The study of the motion of bodies is an ancient one, making classical mechanics one of the oldest and largest subjects in science, engineering and technology.

The following introduces the basic concepts of classical mechanics. For simplicity, it often models real-world objects as point particles, objects with negligible size. The motion of a point particle is characterized by a small number of parameters: its position, mass, and…