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Robert L. Devaney: “Chaos Games and Fractal Images”

Professor Robert L. Devaney, 2011 Moody Lecture Speaker

Professor Robert L. Devaney of Boston University presented the third lecture in The Michael E. Moody Lecture Series on “Chaos Games and Fractal Images”

He is the author of over one hundred research papers in the field of dynamical systems as well as a dozen pedagogical papers in this field, and has delivered over 1500 invited lectures on dynamical systems and related topics in all fifty US states and over thirty countries on six continents worldwide. He has also been the “Chaos Consultant” for several theaters' presentations of Tom Stoppard's play Arcadia and in 2007 he was the mathematical consultant for Kevin Spacey's Twenty One.

Bob has received many awards for teaching and research from institutions including Boston University, the MAA, and the NSF, and directs the NSF's Dynamical Systems and Technology Project, which aims to show students and teachers how ideas from modern mathematics such as chaos, fractals, and dynamics, together with modern technology, can be used effectively in the high school and college curriculum.

He is president-elect of the MAA in 2012, and will serve as president in 2013–2014.

More information about Bob Devaney is available from the biographical sketch on his website.

The lecture took place on Friday, September 30, 2011, at 7:00 PM, in HMC's Galileo McAlister lecture hall.

As with all of the college's evening speaker lectures, the talk was aimed at a wide audience and was open to all.


In this lecture we will describe some of the beautiful images that arise from the “Chaos Game”. We will show how the simple steps of this game produce, when iterated millions of times, the intricate images known as fractals. We will describe some of the applications of this technique used in data compression as well as in Hollywood. We will also challenge students present to “Beat the Professor” at the chaos game and maybe win his computer.

Fall 2011 Moody Lecture Poster (#1) Download the Poster

Fall 2011 Moody Lecture Poster (#2) Download the Poster