Chaos: Making a New Science

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Open Road Media, Mar 22, 2011 - Science - 360 pages
27 Reviews

The “highly entertaining” New York Times bestseller, which explains chaos theory and the butterfly effect, from the author of The Information (Chicago Tribune).

For centuries, scientific thought was focused on bringing order to the natural world. But even as relativity and quantum mechanics undermined that rigid certainty in the first half of the twentieth century, the scientific community clung to the idea that any system, no matter how complex, could be reduced to a simple pattern. In the 1960s, a small group of radical thinkers began to take that notion apart, placing new importance on the tiny experimental irregularities that scientists had long learned to ignore. Miniscule differences in data, they said, would eventually produce massive ones—and complex systems like the weather, economics, and human behavior suddenly became clearer and more beautiful than they had ever been before.

In this seminal work of scientific writing, James Gleick lays out a cutting edge field of science with enough grace and precision that any reader will be able to grasp the science behind the beautiful complexity of the world around us. With more than a million copies sold, Chaos is “a groundbreaking book about what seems to be the future of physics” by a writer who has been a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, the author of Time Travel: A History and Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman (Publishers Weekly).
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - librisissimo - LibraryThing

Read some time ago as part of my "physics book of the year" goal. It was interesting at the time, but I didn't invest a lot of brain-power in remembering details. Need to get an up-to-date book on the subject. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - keylawk - LibraryThing

Chaos studied here. The author makes the new way of understanding, well, everything, remarkably transparent. In the sense that I can see it, but still, I don't understand it. (!) This is not like ... Read full review

Contents

Prologue
Edward Lorenz and his toy weather The computer misbehaves Longrange
Lifes Ups and Downs
A Geometry of Nature
A discovery about cotton prices A refugee from Bourbaki Transmission errors
Universality
The Experimenter
Helium in a Small Box Insolid billowing of the solid Flow and form in nature
sprouts
Inner Rhythms
A misunderstanding about models The complex body The dynamical heart
Afterword
Acknowledgments
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Born in New York City in 1954, James Gleick is one of the nation’s preeminent science writers. Upon graduating from Harvard in 1976, he founded Metropolis, a weekly Minneapolis newspaper, and spent the next decade working at the New York Times. Gleick’s prominent works include Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman, Isaac Newton, and Chaos: Making a New Science, all of which were shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize. His latest book, The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood,was published in March 2011. He lives and works in New York.


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