Chaos et l'harmonie
For 300 years, Trinh Xuan Thuan writes, since the time of Isaac Newton, scientists saw reality as a giant clock--a sterile mechanism in which one part acts on another in a deterministic fashion. But the discoveries of the last few decades have changed all that, conjuring up instead a universe brimming with unpredictability, creativity, and chance.
Writing with exceptional grace and clarity, Thuan vividly describes these important scientific discoveries, intriguing new theories about chaos, gravity, strange attractors, fractals, symmetry, superstrings, and the strangeness of atoms. Equally important, he reveals how these discoveries have shaped our view of the universe--for instance, how quantum mechanics brought indeterminism to the subatomic universe. Thuan deftly describes quantum mechanics, discusses its relationship to the theories of relativity (which deal inability to accept it. Indeed, throughout Chaos and Harmony, he makes clear as never before the mind-bending ideas of modern physics, such as the effect of gravity on time (it slows it down), the impossibility of crossing the speed-of-light barrier (it would actually reverse time), the role of fractals as "the language of nature," and the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in understanding the universe.
From the subatomic world to the vast realm of quasars and galaxies, from the nature of mathematics to the fractal characteristics of the human circulatory system, Trinh Xuan Thuan takes us on a breathtaking tour of the universe. With striking examples and clear, plain language, he shows how science has actually restored mystery to the world around us--a world of symmetry and chaos, contingency and creativity.
What people are saying - Write a review
Truth and Beauty
Chaos in the Cosmic Machinery
The Austere Beauty of Symmetry
5 other sections not shown
Other editions - View all
accelerators antimatter asteroid astronomers atmosphere atomic nucleus beauty become behavior billion black hole body brain called cause celestial century chaos chaotic chemical colors comet completely cosmic describe dimension discovered disk disorder distance Earth Einstein electrical charge electromagnetic force electron elementary particles emitted energy entire equations evolution existence extremely Figure fractal galaxy gravitational waves happens human hydrogen idea initial conditions interactions Jules Jules's Jupiter kilometers Laplace laws of physics longer magnetic mass massive mathematical mathematician matter messenger particles Milky molecules Moon motion movements Nature neutrino neutrons Newton objects observer oceans orbit percent phase space physicists planetesimals planets Pluto Poincare precisely predict principle protons quantum mechanics quarks radiation reality remain result rotation solar system space-time speed of light spin stars strong nuclear force superstrings surface symmetry temperature theory tidal forces tion turn universe velocity weak nuclear force wormhole