Chaos: Making a New Science / Edition 20

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Overview

The million-copy bestseller by National Book Award nominee and Pulitzer Prize finalist James Gleick that reveals the science behind chaos theory

National bestseller

More than a million copies sold

A work of popular science in the tradition of Stephen Hawking and Carl Sagan, this 20th-anniversary edition of James Gleick’s groundbreaking bestseller Chaos introduces a whole new readership to chaos theory, one of the most significant waves of scientific knowledge in our time. From Edward Lorenz’s discovery of the Butterfly Effect, to Mitchell Feigenbaum’s calculation of a universal constant, to Benoit Mandelbrot’s concept of fractals, which created a new geometry of nature, Gleick’s engaging narrative focuses on the key figures whose genius converged to chart an innovative direction for science. In Chaos,Gleick makes the story of chaos theory not only fascinating but also accessible to beginners, and opens our eyes to a surprising new view of the universe.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Science readers who have gone through relativity theory, quantum physics, Heisenbergian uncertainty, black holes and the world of quarks and virtual particles only to be stunned by recent Grand Unified Theories GUTS will welcome New York Times science writer Gleick's adventurous attempt to describe the revolutionary science of chaos. ``Chaos'' is what a handful of theorists steeped in math and computer know-how are calling their challengingly abstract new look at nature in terms of nonlinear dynamics. Gleick traces the ideas of these little-known pioneersincluding Mitchell Feigenbaum and his Butterfly Effect; Benoit Mandelbrot, whose ``fractal'' concept led to a new geometry of nature; and Joseph Ford who countered Einstein with ``God plays dice with the universe. But they're loaded dice.'' Chaos is deep, even frightening in its holistic embrace of nature as paradoxically complex, wildly disorderly, random and yet stable in its infinite stream of ``self-similarities.'' A ground-breaking book about what seems to be the future of physics. Illustrations. QPBC alternate. October 20
The New York Times
Fascinating . . . almost every paragraph contains a jolt.
The New York Times Book Review
Taut and exciting . . . a fascinating illustration of how the pattern of science changes.
Chicago Tribune
Highly entertaining . . . a startling look at newly discovered universal laws.
Library Journal
Chaos-theory, touted as the third revolution in 20th-century science after relativity and quantum mechanics, uses traditional mathematics to understand complex natural systems with too many variables to study. Philosophically, it counters the Second Law of Thermodynamics by demonstrating the ``spontaneous emergence of self-organization.'' In this new science apparent disorder is meaningful; the structure of chaos can be mapped by plotting graphically the calculations of nonlinear mathematics using ``fractal'' geometry, a brainchild of Benoit Mandelbrot in which symmetrical patterns repeat across different scales. With jocular descriptions of eccentric characters such as the ``Dynamical Systems collective,'' a.k.a. Chaos Cabal of the University of CaliforniaSanta Cruz, Chaos offers an absorbing look at trailblazers on a new scientific frontier. Laurie Tynan, Montgomery Cty.-Norristown P.L., Pa.
Booknews
Reissue of the 1987 Viking ed. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143113454
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/26/2008
  • Edition description: Anniversar
  • Edition number: 20
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 141,883
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

James Gleick was born in New York City in 1954. He worked for ten years as an editor and reporter for The New York Times, founded an early Internet portal, the Pipeline, and has written several books of popular science, including The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood, which won the Pen/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. He lives in Key West and New York.   

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Table of Contents

Chaos Prologue

The Butterfly Effect
Edward Lorenz and his toy weather. The computer misbehaves. Long-range forecasting is doomed. Order masquerading as randomness. A world of nonlinearity. "We completely missed the point."

Revolution
A revolution in seeing. Pendulum clocks, space balls, and playground swings. The invention of the horseshoe. A mystery solved: Jupiter's Great Red Spot.

Life's Ups and Downs
Modeling wildlife populations. Nonlinear science, "the study of non-elephant animals." Pitchfork bifurcations and a ride on the Spree. A movie of chaos and a messianic appeal.

A Geometry of Nature
A discovery about cotton prices. A refugee from Bourbaki. Transmission errors and jagged shores. New dimensions. The monsters of fractal geometry. Quakes in the schizosphere. From clouds to blood vessels. The trash cans of science. "To see the world in a grain of sand."

Strange Attractors
A problem for God. Transitions in the laboratory. Rotating cylinders and a turning point. David Ruelle's idea for turbulence. Loops in phase space. Mille-feuilles and sausage. An astronomer's mapping. "Fireworks or galaxies."

Universality
A new start at Los Alamos. The renormalization group. Decoding color. The rise of numerical experimentation. Mitchell Feigenbaum's breakthrough. A universal theory. The rejection letters. Meeting in Como. Clouds and paintings.

The Experimenter
Helium in a Small Box. "Insolid billowing of the solid." Flow and form in nature. Albert Libchaber's delicate triumph. Experiment joins theory. From one dimension to many.

Images of Chaos
The complex plane. Surprise in Newton's method. The Mandelbrot set: sprouts and tendrils. Art and commerce meet science. Fractal basin boundaries. The chaos game.

The Dynamical Systems Collective
Santa Cruz and the sixties. The analog computer. Was this science? "A long-range vision." Measuring unpredictability. Information theory. From microscale to macroscale. The dripping faucet. Audiovisual aids. An era ends.

Inner Rhythms A misunderstanding about models. The complex body. The dynamical heart. Resetting the biological clock. Fatal arrhythmia. Chick embryos and abnormal beats. Chaos as health.

Chaos and Beyond
New beliefs, new definitions. The Second Law, the snowflake puzzle, and loaded dice. Opportunity and necessity.

Afterword

Notes on Sources and Further Reading

Acknowledgments

Index

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 20 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

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1 Star

(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2003

    Tough Going

    Unlike the reviewers above, I found the book to be a bit tough going at times. In addition, the focus on the personalities involved I found to be distracting. The math/science is good, the story somewhat less so.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2000

    A popular introduction to a complex topic

    A very good history of fractal dynamics, its origins and applications for the layman from its origins in skewed data during meteorological printouts at MIT to modern day applications and how seemingly irrational phenomena can be explained..

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2001

    Excellent Coverage

    The story of chaos is unwoven in this book in an interesting manner with few equations so the average reader can understand and comprehend the emergence of this science.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2013

    Kneacapen

    He buried his head in silvers chest and cries.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2013

    Zay

    Actually...my bros arent dead...they are...controlling me...my spirit...will become dark...and i...will eventually be finished...as long as they are alive...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2013

    Speed

    Runs in.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2013

    Link

    Sighs. She sits on a rock.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2013

    Silver

    (Oh. Well can you not be like nothing can hurt you because thats kind of unfair to everyone else.)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2013

    Darkshadow

    Wait my Zay! Zay wouldn't harm a fly!

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  • Posted October 28, 2011

    Disjointed

    This book is typical of those authors that provide a lot of fact and detail, but do not tie anything together. Other than saying that I read a book about "Chaos theory", it was of little value or entertainment.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Insightful but tedious

    Chaos: Making a New Science is intrinsically a bunch of short essays based on the author's research into a number of Chaos experiments and the scientists performing them. One after another with nothing tying them into some sort of progression or main point. Still, many of the stories were very interesting and thought provoking. Some even included insightful tidbits about the inspirations or influences that guided the scientists. But overall it was a tedious read with no real conclusion other than this theory can mathematically describe many seemingly random events.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2013

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