# This Week at Physics

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**Chaos & Complex Systems Seminar**

**Chaos in the Three-Body Coulomb Problem**

**Date:**

**Tuesday, February 22nd**

**Time:**12:00 pm

**Place:**4274 Chamberlin Hall

**Speaker:**Vladimir Zhdankin, UW-Madison Dept. of Physics

**Abstract:**The three-body problem is one of the most famous examples of a chaotic system. In the traditional case, the goal is to determine the motion of three massive bodies interacting through Newton's law of universal gravitation. Similarly, the goal in the three-body Coulomb problem is to determine the motion of three electrically charged particles interacting through Coulomb's law. Among other things, this can be used as a classical model of the helium atom (where the effects of quantum mechanics are neglected). This talk will describe and present some numerical solutions to the three-body Coulomb problem. The general solution has a short transient chaotic phase until one particle is ejected from the system, but special initial conditions are found to give chaotic orbits that remain bounded.