Chaos: Making a New Science
The highly entertaining New York Times bestseller, which explains chaos theory and the butterfly effect, from the author of The Information (Chicago Tribune).
For centuries, scientific thought was focused on bringing order to the natural world. But even as relativity and quantum mechanics undermined that rigid certainty in the first half of the twentieth century, the
Gleick only gives an introduction about the actual science and beauty of Chaos. Instead he focusses on giving a poetic account of the scientists who first stumbled on it -- and their great surprise and their struggles form the narrative crux of the book.
While some may say this makes it a less informative book, for me this made it one of the most intriguing non-fiction books I have read. Gleick's way of telling the stories makes the reader share in the wonder and ...more
Tom Stoppard, Arcadia
The unpredictable and the predetermined unfold together to make everything the way it is.
Tom Stoppard, Arcadia
Half of what draws me to physics, to theory, to Feynman and Fermat, to Wittgenstein and Weber, is the energy that boils beyond the theory. The force living just beyond the push. I'm not alone. Many of my favorite authors (Cormac McCarthy, Thomas Pynchon, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe) and musicians (Mahler, Beethoven, etc) all dance around ...more
Why? Because it GETS ME, MAN.
Just kidding. I'm not anthropomorphizing a breakthrough in science. Although, if I was, I'd DEFINITELY be cuddling with this stream of seemingly random information that keeps repeating in regular ways, forming order from seeming chaos.
Give me a seed and I will make you a universe. Or one hell of a trippy fractal.
I think I'll leave butterflies out of this.
Small changes affect great extrapolations.
Our physics ...more
This book gives a wonderful explanation of the Butterfly Effect - one of those ideas in science that everyone thinks they know and understands, but that generally people have upside down and back to front.
I really do like popular science books, particularly if they are well written, relatively easy to follow and ...more
One of the compelling features of the chaos story is that this scientific breakthrough wasn't a physics, mathematics, chemistry, astronomy, or biology breakthrough; it was all of them. A ...more
James Gleick's Chaos is possibly one of the most overrated books ever written. The first two pages are quite good, before rapidly declining to dullness and staying there. The content consists of a few badly written half-biographies, a few pretty pictures and ...more
If you haven't studied science ...more
I also like two scenes from movies, one from "Mr. Nobody" that rain scene which washed away the address : ...more
This book was a disappointment. The author spent too much time in repeating the same terminology and concepts like 'strange attractors' and 'sensitive dependence on initial conditions' and not enough time making it tangible by using real examples that would have made it more meaningful. For instance, what does chaos theory/nonlinear science mean for weather forecasting, predicting asset class returns, crime statistics, economic growth, timing of natural disasters? The author mentions these ...more
The mathemetics of chaos (and order) has literally remade our moder world. From weather prediction to materials production to medicine, there's not a realm of technology that hasn't changed with our new understandings of the patterns that ...more
Gleick gives an unorganized overview some fun mathematical concepts like fractals, strange attractors, and chaos theory.
But he exaggerates the importance of these topics, presenting them as a holistic revolution in physics, overthrowing reductionism, which just isn't the case.
The last chapter was incomprehensible hippie mysticism, then the book just ended leaving me wondering what the whole point was.
It seems to me like this ...more
All in all I can say I have a better grasp of what chaos is all about... but on a bit of reflection... well, no, not really. A good history I guess, I'm now all fired up to read textbooks on this stuff (:
Gleick is great at capturing the excitement of new discoveries, mainly be introducing the quirky contributors who wouldnt shut up, play nice and stay in their lanes. These men and women crossed academic disciplines of math, physics. biology and meteorology (is that a thing? oh, sorry) because the seeming chaos they all encountered in ...more
James Gleick's Chaos is an introductory text that takes you through the development of this field of scientific inquiry from its origins to its current state in 1987, when the book was written. To be fair on Gleick, this subject feels so vast that one doesn't know where to start and how to start talking about it. With that in mind, this is a brilliant effort in *trying* to make a relatively new subject accessible to a large audience.
At 300+ pages, it is suspiciously dense. I could only ...more
I can only imagine how difficult this book would have been to follow, if it was plagued by the long-winded and dry writing that befalls many science books... Thankfully, it does not. The author relates conceptually complicated ideas in an easily-accessible style.
Gleick conveys the importance of Chaos early on:
I read it now a page at a time some days as a bleak substitute of night prayers, trying to make it stick in my brain.
P.S. This was an assigned schoolwork. GAH! But I enjoyed it? I know, everything going loopy up here.
Some chapters had me on the edge of my seat, or thinking "Ah ha! That's how that works." The overall sense that chaos has a sometimes deeply hidden pattern (that applies to all things) is interesting, but I didn't need ...more
Gleick's examination of the emergence of chaos theory is well written, and relatively easy to read (relative when one compares it to the technical and academic articles on the subject upon which he draws). However, his focus is not so much on explaining the theory of chaos than on telling the story of chaos's transition from the fringe to the mainstream. In this, his work is an excellent complement to Kuhn's work on the The Structure of ...more
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|Science and Inquiry: * May 2015 - Chaos||52||109||Jun 30, 2015 01:53AM|
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Born in New York City, USA, Gleick attended Harvard College, graduating in 1976 with a degree in ...more