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how nature works: the science of self-organized criticality
 
 

how nature works: the science of self-organized criticality [Kindle Edition]

Per Bak
3.3 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (12 Kundenrezensionen)

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. . . In print, at least, what might seem arrogant comes across as a kind of innocent, childlike enthusiasm, a lack of concern for anything but the sheer joy of figuring things out. His ruthless simplifications of geology, evolution, and neurology pay off because, as Bak notes, his models describe behavior that is common across these domains. This universality means that trampling across others' turf is not only acceptable, but almost mandatory, if the underlying principles are to be exposed. Finally, for the most part, Bak wants the reader to grasp the basic logic of his arguments; only rarely does he try to persuade with flights of poetic language or brute intellectual authority.

Reason, Steven Postrel

. . . In print, at least, what might seem arrogant comes across as a kind of innocent, childlike enthusiasm, a lack of concern for anything but the sheer joy of figuring things out. His ruthless simplifications of geology, evolution, and neurology pay off because, as Bak notes, his models describe behavior that is common across these domains. This universality means that trampling across others' turf is not only acceptable, but almost mandatory, if the underlying principles are to be exposed. Finally, for the most part, Bak wants the reader to grasp the basic logic of his arguments; only rarely does he try to persuade with flights of poetic language or brute intellectual authority.

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Von Ein Kunde
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
In spite of its many faults: failure to acknowledge Prigogine's conclusions that foreshadowed most of Bak's; petty sniping at others, incredibly hit and miss editing, and some outright silly passages (such as the idea that people living somewhere where there haven't been earthquakes for a long time would want to buy earthquake insurance), Bak has something important to say, and at times says it well and eloquently.The fact that he has found a substantial number of natural systems that create a spoor of commmon properties, and has nailed some of them is important. But: he says he insisted on the title of his book, not the editors (permit me to doubt this)and then says not one word about how he came to the conclusion that power curves, fractals, 1/f distributions and Zipf's law apply to ALL of nature. Has he any evidence of natural processes that don't? Is anyone working this side of the problem? He has a refreshing view of what good science consists of, but does not display a scientist's attitude of disinterested pursuit of truth. This may be editorial inspiration to avoid qualifications in order to make stronger statements. I hope so, because I genuinely like the way he thinks, and find his ideas stimulating. But his claim to be the "discoverer" of self-organized criticality is close to fatuous.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Simply in a Class by Itself 30. Mai 2000
Format:Taschenbuch
I couldn't let the previous reviewer's comments stand without comment. I can't believe the reviewer read the same book that I did. Bak's treatment is detailed, clear, and balanced. When he is enthusiastic he let's you know exactly why, leaving you free to make up your own mind. The fact that most of the studies he describes were published in Physical Review Letters might tell you something about their quality. The book provides wonderful examples of the role of models in science, much better than any I've come across in rather extensive search for materials for a course on the Nature of Science I help teach. I'm reading the book for the third time (not because it is difficult to read, but simply because it repays rereading) and I admire it more with each reading. If you want to understand models that display Self Organized Criticality, this book is without question the place to go.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Great for a non-physicist like me 12. Oktober 2001
Von Ein Kunde
Format:Taschenbuch
Some of the other comments mentioned that the book isn't all too suitable for people experienced in the field and doesn't properly credit the work of others.
Well, I don't know very much about physics, someone recommended the book to me telling me a little about the ideas and I found the book very interesting and inspiring. In fact, I, after reading the first few chapters, started writing my own programs for simulating self-organized criticality, such as own variations of the sandpile.
The book is written in a loose style leading one into the life of a scientist, as well as covering the interesting topic of self-organized criticality.
While reading the book I did, however, get bored every so often, as many of the examples were in my opinion too similar to others and didn't offer anything really new. 4 stars because of that (I do wish there'd be 4.5 :-)
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Format:Taschenbuch
Per Bak came up with a nice theory for complex systems. Potentially it has wide ranging implications, however it remains speculative at the moment. I think SOC will in time come to be a useful tool for describing a broad class of complex systems however I doubt it will ever reach the hyperbole given in this book. Unfortunately Bak's turned this book into a sales pitch for his theory, forgotten any pretense of reasoned arguement and so spoiled what could of been a good popular science book on what is a extremely interesting are.
If you are of a slightly mathematical bent get Jensen's book. There you will get a reasoned account of what SOC has given us and what is has not even if you skip some of the derivations. Balance is something you won't find in Bak's book.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Simple, lucid presentation of a beautiful theory. 2. Februar 1998
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
If you believe in Occam's razor, you will probably like the idea of self-organized criticality (SOC). It is simple enough to be understood and appreciated by non-mathematicians, yet profound enough to make us look at phenomenons in nature and society in a different way. Per Bak presented SOC in a highly readable fashion. It is not the difficulty of the subject or the writing that makes the reader stop and ruminate, as is the case with many science writings, but the simple yet intriguing nature of the idea itself.
Is the author overreaching in some of his assertions and conclusions (as some people took exception to his choice of title)? Perhaps. But this book is short and highly enjoyable, and I think it is worth spending a few hours of one's time reading it.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Student response: SOC it to me! 12. Januar 2000
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I used this book (along with Stu Kauffman's "At Home in the Universe, Feynman's "The Character of Physical Law", and Cohen & Stewart's "Collapse of Chaos") for a freshman seminar at Duke University on "Emergence of Complexity". My students really enjoyed Bak's book. It gave them a whole new perspective on the nature of physical and biological systems and on the nature of scientific models. Most importantly, their short essays on various parts of the book showed that Bak's enthusiasm for his subject was contagious. Students appreciated Bak's creative use of simple models to introduce new ways of thinking about a wide range of phenomena.
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Die neuesten Kundenrezensionen
5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent book
Excellent book. Highly recommended to anyone interested in the underlying processes of nature and physics. Well explained and illustrated clearly.
Vor 6 Monaten von Dr. R. R. Newell veröffentlicht
1.0 von 5 Sternen Physicist Opens Lab Window
Science often progresses when physicists open their lab windows and look at the real world. Bak's book is a fun popular read for everyone. Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 26. November 1999 von Denis L. Norton
2.0 von 5 Sternen Good ideas, bad book
Per Bak's ideas (and ideas of others that are occasionally presented without quoting the original sources) are remarkably interesting, but the book itself seems to be a product of... Lesen Sie weiter...
Am 4. November 1999 veröffentlicht
2.0 von 5 Sternen no universality classes...
Universality classes for sandpile models (and complex adaptable systems) have never been defined. Without universality classes one cannot claim that an arbitrary mathematical model... Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 20. Januar 1999 von Professor Joseph L. McCauley
2.0 von 5 Sternen The Universe in a Grain of Sand: Self-Organized Criticality
Per Bak has made a glitzy try at explaining a number of natural phenomena. The idea of "self-organized criticality" is one that many disciplines grom geology to taxonomy... Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 22. Juni 1998 von Dr. Nancy L. Nicholson
4.0 von 5 Sternen A neat trick, applied many times to many phenomena
Bak and his fellow researchers have pioneered research in ``self-organizing criticality'', basically what happens when you have a system of loosely-coupled ``things'', each of... Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 13. August 1997 von dm@bbn.com
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