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3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A little bit of everything
How do you file a book like "The Quark and the Jaguar?" I could file it with books discussing quantum physics. That would certainly be appropriate. Then, again, I could file it with books on evolution. That would be equally appropriate. But then I might decide to file it in the section on public policy toward the environment, and environmental...
Veröffentlicht am 15. Juni 1999 von Duwayne Anderson

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1 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen A disappointingly dull, and lackluster work.
Gell-Mann writes that this is his first and only book -- and that he came to write it to express to a wider audience his ruminations on "complex adaptive systems" (a phrase he seems happy to repeat again and again ...) and their relation to the fundamental world of physics. In this he fails, for his main points (which he has a hard time presenting concisely) are...
Veröffentlicht am 16. Juni 1998 von Erik Schimek (daedalus@skypoin...


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3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A little bit of everything, 15. Juni 1999
Von 
Duwayne Anderson (Saint Helens, Oregon) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
(REAL NAME)   
How do you file a book like "The Quark and the Jaguar?" I could file it with books discussing quantum physics. That would certainly be appropriate. Then, again, I could file it with books on evolution. That would be equally appropriate. But then I might decide to file it in the section on public policy toward the environment, and environmental protection. Certainly, that is an appropriate place for this book. But wait. It also belongs in the section dealing with artificial intelligence and complex adaptive systems. So, where would you put it? I'm still not sure.
Murray Gell-Mann's "The Quark and the Jaguar" takes us on a whirlwind tour from the "simple" construct of quantum physics to the complex adaptive system in a coat of spots moving stealthily through the forest in search of game. Through all this, Gell-Mann ties the entire tapestry into the unifying concepts of complex adaptive systems leaving the reader in awe at the wonder and complexity that arises from the natural evolutionary processes governing the universe in which we live.
The book is organized in four parts. The first is a general-purpose section that discusses everything from information theory to the scientific method and the power of scientific theories. It's always a pleasure to read a description of science and the scientific method from a leading scientist such as Gell-Mann. The sections dealing with falsifiability, selection pressure on the scientific enterprise, unifying characteristics of scientific theories, and the power of theory give a clear and illuminating explanation of the essence of science.
The second part of the book deals with quantum physics. Here you will find Gell-Mann's own story about the (theoretical) discovery of the quark and how it fits into the standard model. Gell-Mann's discussion about the standard model is among the clearest I've seen for the general reader. I found his explanation of all the so-called quantum paradoxes especially well done. From the standard model Gell-Mann explains some of the ideas within superstring theory and the hope that this may provide the unification of physics that has been anticipated for so long.
I always hesitate to differ with anyone of Gell-Mann's stature. Especially in public. It invariably leads to embarrassment. Still, I'm just as loath to read a book and find myself in complete agreement with all its points. On the subject of complexity I found myself out of sorts with the trend followed by Gell-Mann. He begins by describing complexity as algorithmic complexity. This is essentially the length of the shortest binary code that can describe the phenomena. Gell-Mann then points out some rather obvious deficiencies with this definition. For example, it is a maximum for a completely random string of bits, yet we don't typically associate complexity with randomness. From there Gell-Mann takes us to something he calls effective complexity. Yet Gell-Mann laments that this still seems inadequate because it would use the genomes of living things to assess their effective complexity, yet we know (or do we?) that humans are far more complex than apes, even though we share well over 90% of our genetic code.
This apparent desire leads eventually to something Gell-Mann calls "potential complexity." Now, I cannot argue specifically against these definitions. They seem perfectly intuitive and obvious. Still, I cannot shake the feeling that I'm seeing the same process that led scientists in the 19'Th century to define characteristics for the human skull that led to conclusions that whites were more intelligent than blacks. The entire scheme was ultimately based on subconsciously working toward a desired conclusion by manipulating definitions.
Are we more complex than apes? I'm not so sure. Especially when one considers the next effect of humanity on the earth. True, for what it's worth we have an extensive and (is it really?) complex culture. Then again, we are the cause of the greatest mass extinction since the K/T boundary. If you add it all up, I wonder if we really are responsible for more complexity than random destruction.
Sections three and four differ fundamentally from the first two parts. The first two parts deal with what Gell-Mann would call simple systems. Things like quantum physics and the general theory of relativity. The really complicated stuff is in biology. Part three deals with that and more, including general discussions about how complex adaptive systems learn. I found the part on creative learning especially interesting. This section purports to explain how to enhance one's ability to think creatively. The section is only  page long. Interestingly, creative thinking correlates with what often appears to be random thought processes. I couldn't help wondering about the conclusions regarding algebraic complexity and randomness.
The book ends with section four, which is really Gell-Mann's views on various social issues, particularly those associated with the environment. I could not help wishing, as I read these last few pages, that our species could not have a few more men like Gell-Mann. What a difference it would make if his level of intellect, honesty, compassion, and logic could be brought to focus on more issues. It left me with a renewed determination to follow his lead in doing more to preserve biodiversity on earth for the earth, and for future generations.
If you find wonder in the world, and excitement in a journey of discovery, then I recommend Gell-Mann's book wholeheartedly.
Duwayne Anderson
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Is Consilience Becoming a Reality?, 22. April 2000
Von Ein Kunde
The author presents a background in quantum mechanics(QM) with its obvious offspring of chaos theory well within the grasp of an interested layman in how the laws of physics in a non mathematical presentation effect varied disciplines and life itself.
The book in itself is a very interesting presentation of a particle physicist life in a somewhat auto biographical prose. There are numerous experiences which deal with creativity, the scientific method, and facing social and cultural obstacles.
Life of an individual and the community is analyzed within the context of QM as a framework for explaining its simplicity and how complexity arises from an apparent chaos. The chaos is the limitations that all humans and organisms face in their interpretation of the information within their immediate enviroment in their quest for survival and reproduction.
Discussed is the consilience of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, philosophy, psychology, and socialogy by means of institutes like Santa Fe and other similar organizations throughout the world where scientists exchange varied inputs of their specific expertise. Some of these excerpts of how experts meet and discuss ideas is very stimulating. These institutes foster so called crazy ideas. The author digresses into past history of crazy ideas and finds a few of those as normal in today's context.
The book is a fairly easy read. It is lengthy with chapters appearing to be a bore except in later chapters the reference to past readings suddenly become very interesting. The reader should give the author leeway in these slow developing chapters.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A book that makes a difference, 17. Dezember 1998
Von Ein Kunde
This book contains nothing really new, neither is very funny and nor will the language make it a classic. Still, this is one of those books that make a difference. Many young scientists will read this book and many will be sceptical. However, some of them will also become intrigued and fascinated by the potential of complexity theory which is so well mediated by Gell-Mann. Some of these may eventually change the world...
I will not be surprised the day when a laureate, that just received the prize from the hands of the swedish royalties, tells us:
- It all started when I read Gell-Mann's book about complexity. I just couldn't get it out of my head...
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4.0 von 5 Sternen "It's good for us__chaos and color, I mean.", 3. Februar 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Whean a scientist reaches to a certain calibre, the fields of knowledge begin to converge and get integrated..same is the case with Mr. Gell-mann.., In this bookm I have found new paths to discover and new challenges to ponder..The balance between the chaos and order, the simple and the complex is the key to survival for a dynamic complex adaptive system..,the fundamental question is "Why and What I am doing on this planet Earth." Gell-mann has effectively tried to explain the relation between all complex systems including humans as we call from the simplest scale to the most complex one..from the shortest particle to the expanding universe..
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2.0 von 5 Sternen A disappointingly dull, and lackluster work., 16. Juni 1998
Gell-Mann writes that this is his first and only book -- and that he came to write it to express to a wider audience his ruminations on "complex adaptive systems" (a phrase he seems happy to repeat again and again ...) and their relation to the fundamental world of physics. In this he fails, for his main points (which he has a hard time presenting concisely) are -- quite frankly -- rather obvious. (In this dismissal of his ideas I might well be mistaken; there may indeed be a treasure trove of ideas here. But if there is treasure to be found, it is buried well).
What this book does offer is a concise summary of the complex world of particle physics which Gell-Mann helped to discover. This summary, taking up only a few short chapters near the middle of the book, is excellent. If Gell-Mann had maintained this level of precision throughout the book, it would have helped immeasurably.
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The Quark and the Jaguar. Adventures in the Simple and the Complex
The Quark and the Jaguar. Adventures in the Simple and the Complex von Murray Gell-Mann (Taschenbuch - 7. September 1995)
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