James A. Yorke
|James Alan Yorke|
|Born||James Alan Yorke
August 3, 1941
|Fields||Math & Physics (theoretical)|
|Institutions||University of Maryland|
|Doctoral students||Tien-Yien Li|
- This article is about the 20th century mathematician. There is also an 18th century clergyman James Yorke
James A. Yorke (born August 3, 1941) is a distinguished University Professor of Mathematics and Physics and chair of the Mathematics Department at the University of Maryland, College Park. He and Benoit Mandelbrot were the recipients of the 2003 Japan Prize in Science and Technology. Yorke was selected for his work in chaotic systems.
Born in Plainfield, New Jersey, United States, Yorke attended The Pingry School, then located in Hillside, New Jersey. He and his co-author T.Y. Li coined the mathematical term chaos in a paper they published in 1975 entitled "Period Three Implies Chaos", in which it was proved that any continuous function
F:R → R
that has a period-3 orbit must have two properties:
(1) For each positive integer P, there is a point in R that returns to where it started after P applications of the map and not before. (Of course this means there are infinitely many periodic points, different points for each period P.) This turned out to be a special case of Sharkovsky's theorem.
The second property requires some definitions. A pair of points x and y is called “scrambled” if as the map is applied repeatedly to the pair, they get closer together and later move apart and then get closer together and move apart, etc., so that they get arbitrarily close together without staying close together. Picture an egg being scrambled forever. You would expect typical atoms x and y to behave in this way. A set S is called "scrambled" if every pair of distinct points in S is scrambled. Scrambling is a kind of mixing.
(2) There is an uncountably infinite set S that is scrambled.
A map satisfying property 2 is sometimes called "chaotic in the sense of Li and Yorke".
Yorke is known for his jovial character and frequently dresses like Santa Claus at department holiday parties.
- A.N. Sharkovskii, Co-existence of cycles of a continuous mapping of the line into itself, Ukrainian Math. J., 16:61-71 (1964)
- T.Y. Li, and J.A. Yorke, Period Three Implies Chaos, American Mathematical Monthly 82, 985 (1975).