Chaos: A Very Short Introduction

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OUP Oxford, Feb 22, 2007 - Mathematics - 180 pages
Chaos exists in systems all around us. Even the simplest system of cause and effect can be subject to chaos, denying us accurate predictions of its behaviour, and sometimes giving rise to astonishing structures of large-scale order. Our growing understanding of Chaos Theory is having fascinating applications in the real world - from technology to global warming, politics, human behaviour, and even gambling on the stock market. Leonard Smith shows that we all have an intuitive understanding of chaotic systems. He uses accessible maths and physics (replacing complex equations with simple examples like pendulums, railway lines, and tossing coins) to explain the theory, and points to numerous examples in philosophy and literature (Edgar Allen Poe, Chang-Tzu, Arthur Conan Doyle) that illuminate the problems. The beauty of fractal patterns and their relation to chaos, as well as the history of chaos, and its uses in the real world and implications for the philosophy of science are all discussed in this Very Short Introduction. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
 

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I'm not sure this one truly counts as read. If read is each sentence from cover to cover, then yes. I read is comprehended well enough to pass a test, then no. The trouble isn't with the book itself ... Read full review

Contents

1 The emergence of chaos
1
2 Exponential growth nonlinearity common sense
22
determinism randomness and noise
33
4 Chaos in mathematical models
58
5 Fractals strange attractors and dimensions
76
6 Quantifying the dynamics of uncertainty
87
7 Real numbers real observations and computers
104
statistics and chaos
112
does chaos constrain our forecasts?
123
can we see through our models?
132
11 Philosophy in chaos
154
Glossary
163
Further reading
169
Index
173
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About the author (2007)

Leonard Smith is Senior Research Fellow in Mathematics at the University of Oxford, where he lectures on nonlinear dynamical systems and chaos.

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