Jurassic World and Math?

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is the sequel of 2015 Jurassic World. This movie is part of a well-loved universe – it’s the fifth movie in the Jurassic Park series. In today’s post I want to talk a little bit about the mathematician Ian Malcolm and chaos theory.

Ian Malcolm is a a mathematician at University of Texas that specializes in chaos theory. Chaos theory is a very interesting, but complex branch of mathematics that is focused on the behavior of specific systems, which change very quickly to slight changes in initial conditions. These systems are called dynamical systems and they basically consist of a function which describes the connection – and dependence – of a point in space and time. Some examples for dynamical systems include pendulum, the flow of water in a pipe, the number of fish in a spring, but also the number of dinosaurs on Isla Nublar. In the movie, there is a scene where Dr. Ian Malcolm discusses whether Isla Nublar’s dinosaurs should be saved or not and that island is a good example of a dynamic system. In that debate, he believes that nature is correcting a cloning mistake, which is an interesting aspect of the whole chaos theory. Broadly speaking, we can consider the island a dynamic system and the cloning a change or introduction to some initial conditions and everything else is just the result of pure chaos theory.

He predicted through his theory that the island will quickly proceed to behave in “unpredictable fashion” and that it was “an accident waiting to happen”.

dr malcom

Here are some quotes from the movie about Dr. Malcom’s opinion of life and all the dinosaur situation on the island:

“These creatures were here before us and, if we’re not careful, they’re gonna be here after.”

“Life cannot be contained.”

“Life breaks free.”

“Life… finds a way.”

Recently I found out that his character has been inspired by two incredible mathematicians: Ivar Ekeland and Heinz-Otto Peitgen. Ivar Ekeland is a French mathematician who has written many popular books on mathematics. He is well known for the Ekeland’s variational principle – a theorem that asserts that there exists nearly optimal solutions to some optimization problems – and other applications in optimization theory. One of his books (Mathematics and the Unexpected) has influence Michael Crichton for the novel Jurassic Park. Moreover, it is believed that the actor who plays Dr. Malcom (Jeff Goldblum) has consulted Ekeland to prepare for the role.

The second mathematician, Heinz-Otto Peitgen, is a German mathematician, who was one of the leading researcher in the study of fractals and chaos theory. Moreover, he  wrote an incredibly, full of illustrations book on fractals: The Beauty of Fractals.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, I think you should give it a try:

Have a great day. If you have ideas for future blog posts, let us know (for topic for June is Math and Nature). Don’t forget to check our last post: #inspirational with a Mathematician. You can find us on Facebook,  Tumblr,  Google+Twitter and Instagram. We will try to post there as often as possible.

Lots of love and don’t forget that maths is everywhere! Enjoy!


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