How Nature Works: The Science of Self-Organized Criticality / Edition 1

How Nature Works: The Science of Self-Organized Criticality / Edition 1

by Per Bak, P. Bak
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0387947914

ISBN-13: 9780387947914

Pub. Date: 08/29/1996

Publisher: Springer New York

Self-organized criticality, the spontaneous development of systems to a critical state, is the first general theory of complex systems with a firm mathematical basis. This theory describes how many seemingly desperate aspects of the world, from sk market crashes to mass extinctions, avalanches to solar flares, all share a set of simple, easily described properties.

Overview

Self-organized criticality, the spontaneous development of systems to a critical state, is the first general theory of complex systems with a firm mathematical basis. This theory describes how many seemingly desperate aspects of the world, from sk market crashes to mass extinctions, avalanches to solar flares, all share a set of simple, easily described properties.
"...a'must read'...Bak writes with such ease and lucidity, and his ideas are so intriguing...essential reading for those interested in complex systems...it will reward a sufficiently skeptical reader." -NATURE
"...presents the theory (self-organized criticality) in a form easily absorbed by the non-mathematically inclined reader." -BOSTON BOOK REVIEW
"I picture Bak as a kind of scientific musketeer; flamboyant, touchy, full of swagger and ready to join every fray... His book is written with panache. The style is brisk, the content stimulating. I recommend it as a bracing experience." -NEW SCIENTIST

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780387947914
Publisher:
Springer New York
Publication date:
08/29/1996
Edition description:
1996
Pages:
226
Sales rank:
428,067
Product dimensions:
6.42(w) x 9.46(h) x 0.95(d)

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
1 Complexity and Criticality
—The Laws of Physics Are Simple, but Nature Is Complex
—Storytelling Versus Science
—What Can a Theory of Complexity Explain?
—Power Laws and Criticality
—Systems in Balance Are Not Complex
—Chaos Is Not Complexity
—Self-Organized Criticality
2 The Discovery of Self-Organized Criticality
—Science at Brookhaven
—Where Does 1/f "Noise" Come From?
—Susan Coppersmith's Dog Model
—On Coupled Pendulums
—The Philosophy of Using Simple Models: On Spherical Cows
—The Pendulums Become Critical
3 The Sandpile Paradigm
—The Sandpile Model
—Life in the Sandpile World
—Can We Calculate the Power Laws with Pen and Paper?
4 Real Sandpiles and Landscape Formation
—Real Sand
—Norwegian Rice Piles
—Vicsek's Landslide Experiment: The Origin of Fractals
—Himalayan Sandpiles
—Sediment Deposition
—Geomorphology: Landscapes Out of Balance
5 Earthquakes, Starquakes, and Solar Flares
—Self-Organization of Earthquakes
—A Misprint Leads to Progress
—Rumbling Around Stromboli
—The Crust of the Earth Is Critical
—Pulsar Glitches and Starquakes
—Black Holes and Solar Flares
6 The "Game of Life": Complexity Is Criticality
7 Is Life a Self-Organized Critical Phenomenon?
—The Santa Fe Institute
—Sandpiles and Punctuated Equilibria
—Interacting Dancing Fitness Landscapes
8 Mass Extinctions and Punctuated Equilibria in a Simple Model of Evolution
—Can We Model Darwin?
—A Science Project for a Sunday Afternoon
—Life at a Cold Place
—Comparison with Real Data
—On Dinosaurs and Meteors
—Dante Chialvo's Evolutionary Game
—Self-Organized Criticality and Gaia
—Replaying the Tape of Evolution
9 Theory of the Punctuated Equilibrium Model
—What is a Theory?
—The Random Neighbor Version of the Evolution Model
—The Self-Organization Process
—The Critical State
—Revisiting the Game of Life
—Revisiting Earthquakes
10 The Brain
—Why Should the Brain Be Critical?
—The Monkey Problem
—The Brain and River Networks
11 On Economics and Traffic Jams
—Equilibrium Economics Is Like Water
—Real Economics Is Like Sand
—Simple Toy Model of a Critical Economy
—Fluctuations and Catastrophes Are Unavoidable
—Traffic Jams
Bibliography
Index

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