"Researchers crack Newton's elusive three-body problem" - Dr. Nicholas Stone

22 December, 2019
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For the first time, the Three-Body Problem has an analytical solution. This problem dates back to Newton's Principia paper where he presented his laws of motion and laid the foundations to describe the dynamics of the Solar System. The statistical solution was discovered by Nicholas Stone from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and by Nathan Leigh from la Universidad de Concepción in Chile.  The paper was recently published in Nature under the title "A statistical solution to the chaotic, non-hierarchical three-body problem" (see full article here or a news article at phys.org)

Dr. Nicholas Stone just joined HUJI as a senior lecturer at the Racah Institute of Physics.  He studies a wide variety of problems in theoretical astrophysics, including sources of gravitational waves, flares from stars consumed by black holes, and unusual exoplanet systems. Regarding the recent paper he explains that “we hope that this solution will be useful to astrophysicists and others who want a practical way to study triples of stars, black holes, or other objects in the Universe.  But more than that, we are happy to have made some progress on this venerable problem.  Having a pen-and-paper solution, even a statistical one, is always useful for physicists who need to visualize a complicated process.  And in this case, I think everyone can find some satisfaction in how chaos — which has frustrated attempts to find an analytic, deterministic solution to the three-body problem — wound up being the tool that provided us with an analytic, statistical solution.”