Chaos by James Gleick


By James Gleick

  • Release Date: 2011-03-22
  • Genre: Science & Nature
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The blockbuster modern science classic that, two decades ago, introduced the butterfly effect to the world and became an international sensation—now updated with video and modern graphics

In the 1960s, a small group of radical thinkers upset the rigid foundation of modern scientific thinking by placing new importance on the tiny experimental irregularities that scientists had long learned to ignore. Miniscule differences in data, they said, would eventually produce massive ones—and complex systems like the weather, economics, and human behavior suddenly became clearer and more beautiful than they had ever been before. In this updated version of his seminal work, James Gleick lays out that new vision of a chaotic universe. Interviews with leading theoreticians, a video introduction from the author, and motion graphics depicting concepts such as the famous Lorenz attractor—the concept that birthed chaos theory—complement Gleick’s elegant prose. Never before has chaos been so easy to grasp. “Beautifully lucid . . . Gleick has a novelist’s touch for describing his scientists and their settings, an eye for the apt analogy, and a sense of the dramatic and the poetic.”—San Francisco Chronicle “There is a teleological grandeur about this new math that gives the imagination wings.”—Vogue “Gleick's Chaos is not only enthralling and precise, but full of beautifully strange and strangely beautiful ideas.”—Douglas Hofstadter, author of Gödel, Escher, Bach Born in New York City in 1954, James Gleick is one of the nation’s preeminent science writers. Upon graduating from Harvard in 1976, he founded Metropolis, a weekly Minneapolis newspaper, and spent the next decade working at the New York Times. Gleick’s prominent works include Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman, Isaac Newton, and Chaos: Making a New Science, all of which were shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize. His latest book, The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood,was published in March 2011. He lives and works in New York.


  • Great! Gripping! Gorgeous!

    By Tonythewonderful
    I’ve read it in one breath. I first heard about this book from Robert Sapolsky’s lecture, and decided to check it out. Chaos, strange attractors, patterns in seemingly random data. In particularly reading the chapter on how Mitchell Feigenbaum discovered Universality and constant rate of bifurcation, I just could not stop, I felt I am going to learn The secret :) The electronic book takes advantage of the format, and has embedded videos, explaining some of the material in the book, which I found really helpful and colourful, especially the fractals. On the other hand, graphs and pictures are just digitized versions of low resolution drawings, which is a bit strange. This book will be a good fascinating reading for anyone interested in science, there is no need for special mathematical background at all. There are just a handful of simple formulas, you do not need to understand any of them to enjoy the book. By the way, I could not help it, I actually plotted the output of one of the functions in a simple Excel graph. Yep, it works – extinction, then steady state, then regular oscillations, then multiplication of oscillations, and then – Chaos! :)