Weak Links: The Universal Key to the Stability of Networks and Complex Systems

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Springer, Jun 11, 2009 - Science - 392 pages

How can our societies be stabilized in a crisis? Why can we enjoy and understand Shakespeare? Why are fruitflies uniform? How do omnivorous eating habits aid our survival? What makes the Mona Lisa’s smile beautiful? How do women keep our social structures intact? – Could there possibly be a single answer to all these questions? This book shows that the statement: "weak links stabilize complex systems" provides the key to understanding each of these intriguing puzzles, and many others too. The author (recipient of several distinguished science communication prizes) uses weak (low affinity, low probability) interactions as a thread to introduce a vast variety of networks from proteins to economics and ecosystems. Many people, from Nobel Laureates to high-school students have helped to make the book understandable to all interested readers. This unique book and the ideas it develops will have a significant impact on many, seemingly diverse, fields of study.

 

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User Review  - PointedPundit - LibraryThing

It is an intriguing concept. Weak links, invisible in many networks, are critical to its stability. In this book, Peter Csermely shows that all networks, from the universe to molecules are governed by ... Read full review

Contents

The Granovetter Study
1
Network Stability
53
Weak Links as Stabilizers of Complex Systems
101
Atoms Molecules and Macromolecules
117
Weak Links and Cellular Stability
131
Weak Links and the Stability of Organisms
163
Social Nets
187
Networks of Human Culture 225
224
The Global Web
249
The Ecoweb
271
Conclusions and Perspectives 285
284
A Useful Links
323
References
339
Index 389
388
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Peter Csermely (50) is a professor at the Semmelweis University in Budapest. A former Fogarty Fellow at Harvard University, his main fields of study are molecular chaperones and networks. In 1996 Dr. Csermely launched a highly successful initiative providing research opportunities for more than 10,000 gifted high school students. He also established the Hungarian National Talent Support Council and the Network of Youth Excellence, www.nyex.info, promoting similar activities in 33 countries. He has published 11 books and more than 200 research papers. Dr. Csermely holds several distinguished appointments including membership of the Wise Persons' Council of the Hungarian President, vice-president of the Hungarian Biochemical Society and has been recipient of numerous international fellowships and awards, for example the 2003 Science Communication Award of the European Molecular Biology Organization and the 2004 Descartes Award of the European Union for Science Communication.

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