Yakov Sinai is a mathematician whose work has revolutionised the fields of dynamical systems, statistical mechanics, probability theory and statistical physics. He is renowned for his work in ergodic theory — the study how mathematical and physical systems tend to ‘visit’ all of their available states over time. Yakov’s research has important applications in topics as diverse as planetary motion, ocean currents, population dynamics and electrical networks.
His work on order and chaos was groundbreaking. He showed that chaos can appear in deterministic systems, which do not experience randomness when moving from one state to another. In turn, definite predictions can arise from the statistical analysis of chaotic systems.