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Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick

Chaos: Making a New Science (edition 1988)

by James Gleick

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4,89645941 (3.88)74
Title:Chaos: Making a New Science
Authors:James Gleick
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (1988), Edition: Reprint, Paperback
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Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick

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    The Arrow of Time: A Voyage Through Science to Solve Time's Greatest Mystery by Peter Coveney (Sylak)
    Sylak: I purchased these two books as companion reads. Others may find this a useful pairing too.

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Read some time ago as part of my "physics book of the year" goal. It was interesting at the time, but I didn't invest a lot of brain-power in remembering details. Need to get an up-to-date book on the subject. ( )
  librisissimo | Jul 3, 2016 |
The science of chaos cuts acroass traditional scientific disciplines, looking at disparate things such as how clouds form and why every snowflake is different.
  PendleHillLibrary | Jun 9, 2016 |
I suppose that this book got its classification in part because the author was a science journalist rather than a scientist and his discussions are often about the people who formulated chaos theory and their methods, their interactions with one another, and the multi-disciplinary applications rather than the mathematics involved. In fact, there is little mathematics in the form of equations but a lot of illustrations and description. At any rate, I really enjoyed Gleick's book and would recommend it to those who are interested in the subject of chaos theory or in how a new science might come into being.
  hailelib | Jan 22, 2016 |
An attempt to depict the first years of the study of chaos, random patterns that characterize many natural phenomena. It focuses as much on the scientists studying chaos as on the chaos itself. In the pages of Gleick's book, the reader meets dozens of extraordinary and eccentric people. As for chaos itself, Gleick does an outstanding job of explaining the thought processes and investigative techniques that researchers bring to bear on chaos problems.
  paamember | Jan 13, 2016 |
Chaos studied here. The author makes the new way of understanding, well, everything, remarkably transparent. In the sense that I can see it, but still, I don't understand it. (!) This is not like Hofstadter's "strange loops". This is order of an even eerier take. He sort of starts with Lorenz' "butterfly effect" underlying the weather, jumps into the box of broken glass produced by Feigenbaum's nonlinear number calculations drawn from art and Nature, and then falls upon the sword of Mandelbrot's fractals. Birth pangs of a new science. New. Author is an editor/reporter for the New York Times.

The failure to mention Hilbert's "Entscheidungs", posed as building blocks of mathematics, is nothing more than a personal disappointment. I am also keening over the failure to limn the shadowing "strange loops" of Hofstadter and the ramble Bertrand Russell made of Godel, but that probably just dates me. Highest marks for taking on Nature and our Understandings of It, with sympathy, clarity and grace. Filled with snappy, even snarky biographical material. Science, made plummy. ( )
  keylawk | May 15, 2015 |
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James Gleickprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adelaar, PattyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gamarello, PaulCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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human was the music,

natural was the static...

--John Updike
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The police in the small town of Los Alamos, New Mexico, worried briefly in 1984 about a man seen prowling in the dark, night after night, the red glow of his cigarette floating along the back streets.
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Che cosa determina la forma di una nuvola? Perché nel mondo "i conti non tornano mai"? Questo libro racconta come da una quindicina d'anni un gruppo di studiosi stiano formulando un nuovo codice di lettura dell'universo e della realtà che ci circonda: un'avventura intellettuale che attira lo sguardo non solo di scienziati, ma anche di analisti, politici e industriali alle prese con un mondo sempre più globalmente omogeneo ma localmente frantumato, sospeso in un instabile equilibrio tra ordine e caos. L'autore illustra questa nuova frontiera e ci racconta le vicende dei suoi pionieri, uomini fuori dagli schemi spesso osteggiati dalla scienza ufficiale.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140092501, Paperback)

Few writers distinguish themselves by their ability to write about complicated, even obscure topics clearly and engagingly. James Gleick, a former science writer for the New York Times, resides in this exclusive category. In Chaos, he takes on the job of depicting the first years of the study of chaos--the seemingly random patterns that characterize many natural phenomena.

This is not a purely technical book. Instead, it focuses as much on the scientists studying chaos as on the chaos itself. In the pages of Gleick's book, the reader meets dozens of extraordinary and eccentric people. For instance, Mitchell Feigenbaum, who constructed and regulated his life by a 26-hour clock and watched his waking hours come in and out of phase with those of his coworkers at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

As for chaos itself, Gleick does an outstanding job of explaining the thought processes and investigative techniques that researchers bring to bear on chaos problems. Rather than attempt to explain Julia sets, Lorenz attractors, and the Mandelbrot Set with gigantically complicated equations, Chaos relies on sketches, photographs, and Gleick's wonderful descriptive prose.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:46 -0400)

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The author describes how scientists studying the growth of complexity in nature are discovering order and pattern in chaos. He explains concepts such as nonlinearity, the Butterfly Effect, universal constants, fractals, and strange attractors, and examines the work of scientists such as Mitchell J. Feigenbaum, Edward Lorenz, and Benoit Mandelbrot.… (more)

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