Catastrophe Theory Quotes (3 quotes)
An announcement of [Christopher] Zeeman’s lecture at Northwestern University in the spring of 1977 contains a quote describing catastrophe theory as the most important development in mathematics since the invention of calculus 300 years ago.
Catastrophe Theory is a new mathematical method for describing the evolution of forms in nature. … It is particularly applicable where gradually changing forces produce sudden effects. We often call such effects catastrophes, because our intuition about the underlying continuity of the forces makes the very discontinuity of the effects so unexpected, and this has given rise to the name.
Catastrophe Theory is—quite likely—the first coherent attempt (since Aristotelian logic) to give a theory on analogy. When narrow-minded scientists object to Catastrophe Theory that it gives no more than analogies, or metaphors, they do not realise that they are stating the proper aim of Catastrophe Theory, which is to classify all possible types of analogous situations.