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Revista mexicana de física E

Print version ISSN 1870-3542


NUNEZ-YEPEZ, H. N.  and  SALAS-BRITO, A. L.. Poincaré, la mecánica clásica y el teorema de la recurrencia. Rev. mex. fís. E [online]. 2013, vol.59, n.2, pp.91-100. ISSN 1870-3542.

This work commemorates the 101th anniversary of Henri Poincaré's death. We pinpoint his main contributions to classical mechanics while enlivening the discussion with a brief remembrance of his academic career. We employ a physical pendulum for illustrating his techniques for analysing properties of solutions to differential equations without actually solving them. We next use an elastic pendulum for exhibiting how Poincaré maps allow us to distiguish the periodic from the chaotic solutions, a type of solutions which Poincaré himself discovered while studying the famous three body problem. We also give a heuristic proof of his extraordinary recurrence theorem according to which every bound solution of a conservative dynamical system should return, after a time, Tr, to be as close as we like to its initial conditions. We regard this as a very important result that ought to be known by all physics students.

Keywords : Poincaré and classical mechanics; qualitative methods; recurrence theorem.

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