HAPP One-Day Conference "Order and Chaos"

Event Name: HAPP One-Day Conference "Order and Chaos"

Location: Mathematical Institute, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6GG

Date: Saturday, 3 June 2023

Time: 10:30 am - 17:00 pm (BST)

RSVP: Free to attend, book your ticket at the registration webpages given

Please contact happ-centre@stx.ox.ac.uk with any queries.

Order and chaos have been fundamental concepts in human thought from the earliest times. The ancient astronomers devised systems to explain the ostensibly chaotic motions of the stars and planets, later culminating in the apparently deterministic laws of Newton' theory of gravity. However, Poincaré's study of the three-body problem showed that chaos would invariably result from the inevitable uncertainty of the initial conditions. Building on this, Lorenz derived the Butterfly Effect whereby seemingly trivial, remote occurrences can result in huge chaotic outcomes.

The expression of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, most notably by Clausius and Kelvin, with the concept of entropy as well as Boltzmann's work in statistical mechanics demonstrated the inevitable increase in the disorder in physical systems. Most recently work on the quantum theory of chaos, in between order and disorder, promises to impact the development of quantum technologies including computing. This conference will examine the evolution of the theories of order and chaos across the centuries and their prospects for future advances.

Registration to attend this conference is free but booking is required to attend the conference as below.

In-person attendance including the conference dinner:

Online streaming on YouTube:


The programme for the day is below:

MORNING CHAIR: Professor Martin Kemp (University of Oxford)

10.30 am WELCOME

10.40 am Professor Phillip Horky (Durham University) - Order and Chaos in the Ancient Greco-Roman Philosophical Imagination [VIDEO]

11.30 am Professor Chris Budd OBE (University of Bath) - Chaos: From Celestial Mechanics to Climate [VIDEO]

12.20 pm Professor Esra Sorguven (University of Sussex) - Examples of Entropy: from Physics to Nature [VIDEO]


AFTERNOON CHAIR: Professor Roya Mohayaee (Sorbonne University)

2.15 pm Professor Karoline Wiesner (University of Potsdam) - The Role of Unpredictability in the Formation and Maintenance of Complex Systems [VIDEO]

3.05 pm Professor Sir Michael Berry FRS (University of Bristol) - Chaos, Quantum, Number [VIDEO]


4.30 pm SUMMARY OF THE DAY'S PROCEEDINGS - Professor Jim Al-Khalili CBE FRS (University of Surrey) [VIDEO]

There will be a special conference dinner at St Cross College in the evening following the end of the conference with an after-dinner talk by Professor Peter Stark (Royal College of Music) on order and chaos in music. Booking to attend the conference dinner can be made at: