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attractor

[uh-trak-ter]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a person or thing that attracts.
  2. Physics. a state or behavior toward which a dynamic system tends to evolve, represented as a point or orbit in the system's phase space.

Origin of attractor

First recorded in 1645–55
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for attractor

Historical Examples

  • Shall one of us get in the airlock, or shall we bring it in with an attractor?

    Skylark Three

    Edward Elmer Smith

  • "There, we can see what they're doing now," and DuQuesne anchored the vessel with an attractor.

    Skylark Three

    Edward Elmer Smith

  • As an attractor of Negative Thought he is a glittering success.

    Nuggets of the New Thought</p>

    William Walker Atkinson,

  • As the Skylark leaped away, Seaton focussed an attractor upon the one who had apparently signaled the attack.

    Skylark Three

    Edward Elmer Smith

  • Rapidly, but with unerring precision, the two ships were brought into place and held together by the attractor.

    The Skylark of Space</p>

    Edward Elmer Smith and Lee Hawkins Garby


attractor in Science

attractor

[ə-trăktər]
  1. A set of states of a dynamic physical system toward which that system tends to evolve, regardless of the starting conditions of the system.♦ A point attractor is an attractor consisting of a single state. For example, a marble rolling in a smooth, rounded bowl will always come to rest at the lowest point, in the bottom center of the bowl; the final state of position and motionlessness is a point attractor.♦ A periodic attractor is an attractor consisting of a finite or infinite set of states, where the evolution of the system results in moving cyclically through each state. The ideal orbit of a planet around a star is a periodic attractor, as are periodic oscillations. A periodic attractor is also called a limit-cycle.♦ A strange attractor is an attractor for which the evolution through the set of possible physical states is nonperiodic (chaotic), resulting in an evolution through a set of states defining a fractal set. Most real physical systems (including the actual orbits of planets) involve strange attractors.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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