TiltAWhirl Chaos
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Ivars Peterson (MathTrek)  
The amusement park TiltAWhirl spins its passengers in one direction, then another... A rider never knows exactly what to expect next. Yet these complicated, surprising movements arise from a remarkably simple geometry. A passenger rides in one of seven cars, each mounted near the edge of its own circular platform but free to pivot about the center. The platforms, in turn, move at a constant speed along an undulating circular track that consists of three identical hills separated by valleys, which tilt the platforms. To model dynamical systems like the TiltAWhirl, mathematicians, scientists, and engineers use equations that describe how the positions and velocities of a system and its components change over time in response to certain forces. See also Peterson's followup article, TiltAWhirl Chaos (II).  


Levels:  High School (912), College 
Languages:  English 
Resource Types:  Articles 
Math Topics:  Dynamical Systems, Chaos 
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