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Hardcover Chaos: 2the Making of a New Science Book

ISBN: 0670811785

ISBN13: 9780670811786

Chaos: 2the Making of a New Science

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

The million-copy New York Times bestseller and finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award that reveals the science behind chaos theory A work of popular science in the tradition... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

The book was the butterfly in my life

A butterfly's wings flapping causing global warming. The laws of attraction. The shadow of your personality affecting your waking life. This book quantifies the butterfly effect- known as chaos theory- as true science. Order comes from chaos, and if your life feels chaotic, the smallest changes can cause the biggest results. A great read.

The stories that switch on the lights!

Gleick introduces chaos in an easy and understandable way, not relying on lots of mathematics. His descriptions of deterministic chaos are accurate and he recounts several stories to help the reader understand the context of the discoveries. Not a book for mathematicians, but rather a book for everybody else that loves a good story about where our current science views are coming from. Read this before you get into Holland and the rest of the manic gang.

Must Reading

Being written in a comprehendible language, it is really a nice intelligent book presented and further inspired an innovative complex field of modern science. No clue, whether a Chaos inventor was bestowed with any prize upon at all.

Science Meets Nature

Have you ever wondered why a leaf or tree is shaped the way it is? Can science explain the seemingly randomness of nature? This book will make your imagination run wild. Pure science meets Mother Nature. I would read from this book each night before I went to bed and then just dream about the possibilities. This is one of the most thought provoking books I have ever read. I grab this book off the shelf at least once a month and just thumb through it again to revisit some of the ideas. His explanation and discussions about nonlinear dynamics were very eye opening for me. The author also did a great job of providing a brief background of each scientific breakthrough along the way. This provided allot of additional and interesting facts that directly contributed to ones understanding. You don't have to be a genius to comprehend and enjoy this book. Some of the reviews for this book complain about there not being enough math to support the theory. The lack of advanced math made this book even more enjoyable for me. The average person will appreciate this book just as much as anyone else. This book also has some very nice full color illustrations. Nothing was spared for this book. You won't be disappointed.

Excellent qualitative introduction to chaos

1987 was the right time for a book like "Chaos," about the recent developments of a relatively new and exciting mathematical phenomenon that might interest a general public for whom higher mathematics normally has slightly less appeal than a root canal. It seems a little dated in 2002, especially with regard to the enormous interim advances in computing power, but James Gleick's book still provides valuable insight into potentially one of the most effective and revolutionary mathematical tools that may solve complex problems in science and engineering that have been baffling mankind for centuries. Many processes and systems in nature can be modeled mathematically with differential equations, which are useful to scientists and engineers to predict and design things to improve the standard of living. Unfortunately, most of these systems are nonlinear, meaning that adding to an input does not produce the same addition to the output and that scaling an input does not scale the output in proportion, and the equations they yield cannot be solved in closed form without applying some judicious and optimistic simplifications. In particular, most systems have what is called "sensitive dependence to initial conditions" -- small changes in the input to the system can lead to large, unpredictable, and uncontrollable changes in the output, a phenomenon summarily called the Butterfly Effect. The main point Gleick makes is that chaos is not total randomness, but rather randomness within certain generalities. For example, summers can be expected to be generally warm and winters generally cold, but specifics like thunderstorms and blizzards can't be predicted due to turbulence and the nonlinear nature of the Navier-Stokes equation, the defining equation of fluid dynamics. There is indeed order in chaos (as illustrated by fractals); it just needs to be identified and codified. To that effect, the book offers many pretty, colorful pictures of various representations of chaos: the Lorenz attractor, the Mandelbrot set, the Koch snowflake (a paradoxical finite area surrounded by an infinite perimeter), the Sierpinski carpet, and the Menger sponge (a paradoxical solid of infinite surface area yet zero volume). Gleick discusses the origins of the study of chaos and its applications to different sciences -- physiology (heart rhythms, dimensions of organs), biology (animal populations), even economics. The writing is very good, explanatory without resorting to textbook-like rigidity, and not at all math-intensive -- very few equations are presented (in fact, I would have liked to have seen more). A reader who is familiar with differential equations (and how they describe physical systems) and calculus (and how it is used as a tool to solve linear differential equations) will have an easier time with the concepts, but rest assured this is a book for everybody.

Making Chaos Clear

This is one of the finest books I have ever read. It explains a difficult subject with clarity and enthusiasm. It should open your eyes to an entirely new way of viewing the world around you - not the linear world of cause and effect, but a world where things are not always as they appear. Gleick compells you along with his fine writing and obvious love for the subject. A great read for the scientifically inclined and the curious.
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