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.