full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Fabio Pacucci: Newton's three-body problem explained

Unscramble the Blue Letters

But what does it actually look like for objects in our universe to move according to analytically unsolvable equations of mtooin? A system of three stars— like Alpha Centauri— could come crashing into one another or, more likely, some might get flung out of orbit after a long time of apparent stability. Other than a few highly improbable stable connitfiugaors, almost every possible case is unpredictable on long timescales. Each has an astronomically large range of potential outcomes, dependent on the tiniest of differences in position and velocity. This behaviour is known as chaotic by pshycisits, and is an important characteristic of n-body systems. Such a syetsm is still deterministic— meaning there’s nothing random about it. If mpulilte systems start from the eaxct same cnontdoiis, they’ll always raech the same result. But give one a little shove at the start, and all bets are off. That’s clearly relevant for human space missions, when complicated orbits need to be calculated with gerat precision.

Open Cloze

But what does it actually look like for objects in our universe to move according to analytically unsolvable equations of ______? A system of three stars— like Alpha Centauri— could come crashing into one another or, more likely, some might get flung out of orbit after a long time of apparent stability. Other than a few highly improbable stable ______________, almost every possible case is unpredictable on long timescales. Each has an astronomically large range of potential outcomes, dependent on the tiniest of differences in position and velocity. This behaviour is known as chaotic by __________, and is an important characteristic of n-body systems. Such a ______ is still deterministic— meaning there’s nothing random about it. If ________ systems start from the _____ same __________, they’ll always _____ the same result. But give one a little shove at the start, and all bets are off. That’s clearly relevant for human space missions, when complicated orbits need to be calculated with _____ precision.

Solution

  1. conditions
  2. configurations
  3. system
  4. physicists
  5. reach
  6. exact
  7. motion
  8. great
  9. multiple

Original Text

But what does it actually look like for objects in our universe to move according to analytically unsolvable equations of motion? A system of three stars— like Alpha Centauri— could come crashing into one another or, more likely, some might get flung out of orbit after a long time of apparent stability. Other than a few highly improbable stable configurations, almost every possible case is unpredictable on long timescales. Each has an astronomically large range of potential outcomes, dependent on the tiniest of differences in position and velocity. This behaviour is known as chaotic by physicists, and is an important characteristic of n-body systems. Such a system is still deterministic— meaning there’s nothing random about it. If multiple systems start from the exact same conditions, they’ll always reach the same result. But give one a little shove at the start, and all bets are off. That’s clearly relevant for human space missions, when complicated orbits need to be calculated with great precision.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
solar system 3
unknown variables 3
general solution 2

Important Words

  1. alpha
  2. analytically
  3. apparent
  4. astronomically
  5. behaviour
  6. bets
  7. calculated
  8. case
  9. chaotic
  10. characteristic
  11. complicated
  12. conditions
  13. configurations
  14. crashing
  15. dependent
  16. differences
  17. equations
  18. exact
  19. flung
  20. give
  21. great
  22. highly
  23. human
  24. important
  25. improbable
  26. large
  27. long
  28. meaning
  29. missions
  30. motion
  31. move
  32. multiple
  33. objects
  34. orbit
  35. orbits
  36. outcomes
  37. physicists
  38. position
  39. potential
  40. precision
  41. random
  42. range
  43. reach
  44. relevant
  45. result
  46. shove
  47. space
  48. stability
  49. stable
  50. start
  51. system
  52. systems
  53. time
  54. timescales
  55. tiniest
  56. universe
  57. unpredictable
  58. unsolvable
  59. velocity