Can Chaos Save Lives?

An abstract theory could have some very practical consequences

According to the emerging science of chaos theory, many natural systems that appear utterly random -- tumbling waterfalls, roiling weather patterns, clusters of earthquakes -- are really governed by underlying mathematical patterns. Now an experiment reported in Science has shown that understanding chaos could one day save lives.

The problem in question is cardiac arrhythmia, an irregular beating of the heart that can be deadly. Some cardiac arrhythmias bear the telltale signs of chaos. By delivering a series of precisely timed electrical pulses, four scientists at UCLA, the College of Wooster in Ohio and the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Maryland...

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