A Clear Simulation of the Inevitable Chaos Within a Three-Body Problem

Astrophysicist Dr. Danail Obreschkow of Scientificus, who made the amazing short film “Cosmic Eye”, explained the concept and the chaos of a “Three-Body Problem” through a precise simulation.

The simulation shows how Newton’s laws of motion and gravitation come into play as each free mass starts at equal distances from each other, moving the gravity of the other two. As they complete their revolutions, they pull apart from one another with chaotic results that are not advantageous to anyone.

This video shows a high-precision simulation of the special three-body problem, where three identical point masses are initially at rest at the vertices of a Pythagorean triangle of axes ratios 3:4:5. As in almost all three-body problems, one of the bodies gets eventually kicked out of the system, while the other two remain stuck together forever.

This physics dilemma has become more familiar as of late, particularly with the popularity of the Liu Cixin novel The Three-Body Problem and the Netflix adaptation of the same name. In fact, a similar chart is used in the series.

More Information About the Three-Body Problem

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.