Sync: How Order Emerges from Chaos In the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life [NOOK Book]

Overview

The tendency to synchronize may be the most mysterious and pervasive drive in all of nature. It has intrigued some of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century, including Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Norbert Wiener, Brian Josephson, and Arthur Winfree.

At once elegant and riveting, Sync tells the story of the dawn of a new science. Steven Strogatz, a leading mathematician in the fields of chaos and complexity theory, explains how enormous systems can synchronize ...

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Sync: How Order Emerges from Chaos In the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life

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Overview

The tendency to synchronize may be the most mysterious and pervasive drive in all of nature. It has intrigued some of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century, including Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Norbert Wiener, Brian Josephson, and Arthur Winfree.

At once elegant and riveting, Sync tells the story of the dawn of a new science. Steven Strogatz, a leading mathematician in the fields of chaos and complexity theory, explains how enormous systems can synchronize themselves, from the electrons in a superconductor to the pacemaker cells in our hearts. He shows that although these phenomena might seem unrelated on the surface, at a deeper level there is a connection, forged by the unifying power of mathematics.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401304461
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 2/14/2012
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 490,086
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Steven Strogatz received his doctorate from Harvard University and served on the faculties of Harvard and MIT before becoming a professor of applied mathematics at Cornell Universitty in 1994. Widely recognized for his groundbreaking discoveries in chaos and complexity theory, he has received numerous awards throughout his career, including MIT's highest teaching prize and a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the White House. He lives in Ithaca, New York, with his wife, Carol, and their two daughters, Leah and Joanna.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 10, 2013

    Difficult material but worth a read

    Along the Meinam River in Thailand and at several other locations worldwide (including, perhaps, your backyard) fireflies or glowworms put on a remarkable display of synchronized flashing. Unlike the more common, apparently random flashing of fireflies on a northern hemisphere summer evening, those of Thailand in their countless millions flash on and off in perfect unison. One could ask, Why? And many have. The author of Sync, Steven Strogatz, asks, How?

    According to the author, the goal of Sync is to explore the causes of self-induced, repetitive, synchronized action in both animate and inanimate systems. The author, a mathematician currently on the faculty of Cornell University, makes a deliberate attempt to accomplish this explanation without resorting to mathematical formulae. That choice, ultimately, colors the overall impact of the book.

    Sync is divided into three main sections with 3 or 4 chapters in each - Part I (Living Sync) deals primarily with biological synchronicity; Part II (Discovering Sync) with inorganic synchronization, and, Part III (Exploring Sync) with the related issue of network analysis. Given that Sync was first published in 2003, this re-publication as an eBook may be related to the current media fascination with government surveillance of communications networks.

    Beginning the book with an analysis of biological synchronization struck this reader as rather odd - why take on such a complex subject when non-biological, synchronized system must, surely, be simpler? However, Strogatz' explanation, sans mathematics, is so good, one is left wondering how a mathematical exposition could have made things better. Then comes Part II. There are some strong points here - such as the exploration of Huygens' pendulum clocks, planetary interactions and power grids. But Strogatz' foray into quantum mechanics (to explain lasers, etc.) is, as is common for the topic, virtually incomprehensible. Most striking about Sync is that the author makes no mention of what is probably the most infamous of all quantum mechanical synchronous phenomena, namely quantum entanglement. Part III of Sync is a hodgepodge of topics (chaos theory, network analysis, etc.) woven into a somewhat autobiographical account of the author's career in science. Great reading for a young physicist or mathematician. But "scroll rings" and "singular filaments"? Brave attempt, but mathematical notation was created for good reason and many of the topics in this section are, perhaps, never to be explained easily in words alone.

    Forty pages of annotated bibliography, an Epilogue up-date and index round out this book.

    Richard R. Pardi Environmental Science William Paterson University

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2004

    Discover the origin of synchronization!!!

    The craving of nature for synchronization is fundamental. To understand the origin of this basic trait of nature you should also read Eugene Savov¿s book Theory of Interaction the Simplest Explanation of Everything. It appears that oscillations are intrinsic property of every bit of reality from atoms to galaxies and the universe as whole. Everything vibrates at frequencies of its own and looks for synchronization to unfold its structure as shown in the theory of interaction. This qualitatively new theory reveals why the vibrations become faster deeper into the structure of every body. For example, your heart beats faster than you breathe.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2003

    More than just popularized science

    SYNC is a romping good read! Developments in the physical and computer sciences and in nonlinear mathematics in the last two decades have spawned a genre of ¿popularized science.¿ Some books have been reasonably good and some have been awful. In SYNC, Steve Strogatz gives an example of the genre that is unreasonably good! As far as I can tell, the science and math are accurate, if not complete. The explanations are as clear as they are witty. The phenomena he describes are engaging and compelling. If that were all he did, that would be enough, but he goes even further. Seeing into the secrets of nature brings with it incredible joy. Some have this experience watching their children being born. Some feel it when building a logarithmic spiral and using it as a slide rule. People like Strogatz have this experience watching a computer simulation model confirm a hypothesis, discovering others who share the same questions, running across a set of tools or perspectives that shed new light on a thorny problem. In SYNC, Strogatz poignantly shares the excitement and satisfaction of those moments with readers. Some other popularized science writers have captured this experience in prose. Crick in The Double Helix comes to mind. SYNC is significantly different, though. Strogatz shows himself to be a truly generous and gentle spirit who recognizes and appreciates the community of scholars who feed into and feed from his work. He demonstrates a sociology of science that is about shared inquiry more than it is about competition for funding, position, or prizes. He makes it possible to imagine that synchrony, if there is such a thing in human systems, might emerge in a scientific community pursuing the difficult questions about nonlinear dynamics for which sync is one of the ¿simple cases.¿

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