Abstract and Keywords
This article examines the role of genericity in the development of dynamical systems theory. In his memoir ‘Sur les courbes définies par une équation différentielle’, published in four parts between 1881 and 1886, Henri Poincaré studied the behavior of curves that are solutions for certain types of differential equations. He successfully classified them by focusing on singular points, described the trajectories’ behavior in important particular cases and provided new methods that proved to be extremely useful. This article begins with a discussion of singularity theory and its influence on the first definitions of genericity, along with the application of the notions of structural stability and genericity to understand dynamical systems. It also analyzes the Smale conjecture and how it was proven wrong and concludes with an overview of changes in the definitions of genericity meant to describe the ‘dark realm of dynamics’.
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