Definition of catastrophe theory in US English:

catastrophe theory


  • A branch of mathematics concerned with systems displaying abrupt discontinuous change.

    • ‘Even more important was the debate over the so-called catastrophe theory.’
    • ‘The set of methods used for creating them is outside the bounds of conventional methods used in studying operations and it uses techniques of such mathematical disciplines as stability and bifurcation theory and catastrophe theory.’
    • ‘In this case, the ideas came from topology, and specifically from Rene Thom's work in catastrophe theory.’
    • ‘Thus, a number of psychological and social processes have been modeled using complex dynamical systems theories - such as Prigogine's dissipative systems, Rene Thom's catastrophe theory, and chaos theory in general.’
    • ‘But publications related to them contained scarce information of methodological nature and were mainly intended to illustrate the possibilities of using catastrophe theory tools in applied military studies.’
    • ‘René Thom is known for his development of catastrophe theory, a mathematical treatment of continuous action producing a discontinuous result.’
    • ‘Horace's sudden leaps to another plane were prophetic of catastrophe theory.’
    • ‘For twenty years I lived in a world with no catastrophe theory, no chaotic growth, no knots that wouldn't untie.’
    • ‘Of course, this is a risky path to chart; one thinks for instance of the hype surrounding catastrophe theory and the early claims for chaos theory.’
    • ‘Just imagine what he would do now with concepts like the Gödel Number, the catastrophe theory or the Mandelbrot Set.’
    • ‘We'll have to forgive him for forgetting that it's chaos theory, not catastrophe theory.’
    • ‘The author then shares his sources, which range from catastrophe theory, and quantum physics, to epistemology, and constructivism.’
    • ‘You know when things keep progressing in a satisfactory manner and then catastrophe theory dictates that everything switched round and the path is in some other direction.’
    • ‘True complexity involves the study of real-life processes and goes beyond the approximations of statistics, and methods such as chaos theory and catastrophe theory.’


catastrophe theory

/kəˈtæstrəfi ˈθɪəri/