catastrophe theory


Also found in: Medical, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to catastrophe theory: Chaos theory

catastrophe theory

n
(Mathematics)
a. a mathematical theory that classifies surfaces according to their form
b. the popular application of this theory to the explanation of abruptly changing phenomena, as by the discontinuity of a line on the topmost fold of a folded surface
References in periodicals archive ?
The Toba catastrophe theory relating to this eruption suggests the event caused a decade-long global volcanic winter that was possibly followed by 1,000 years of cooling.
To expand knowledge of the methods available, international contributors discuss the latest statistical analysis tools including catastrophe theory models, random coefficient models, nonlinear growth models, social network analysis, latent class analysis, and data mining techniques.
Conducting the paleontological equivalent of crime scene investigations on the bonebed, its fossil specimens and the surrounding geological data, Pyenson and his colleagues Randall Irmis and Jere Lipps were able to disprove the one-time catastrophe theory.
Darwin also changed views on catastrophe theory - pointing out that really big events kick start really big changes.
According to the Toba catastrophe theory, a supervolcanic event 75,000 years ago at Lake Toba, on Sumatra, triggered an ice age that changed the course of human history by creating a bottleneck in evolution.
Can catastrophe theory explain the properties of school reform as well as the dynamics of physical systems?