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am 11. Dezember 2012
Hot Damn, dass war mal nen interessantes Buch.
Ich hab es im Rahmen meines Studiums gelesen und war echt beeindruckt, wie gut es Gleick gelingt diese schwierige Thematik runterzubrechen und verständlich zu erklären.
Allerdings kommt man hier mit Schulenglisch nicht sehr weit ;-)

Wer der Physik nicht abgeneigt ist und gerne mehr (viel mehr) über Chaostheorie erfahren möchte, wird von diesem Buch sehr gut begleitet.
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am 12. Januar 2015
The book is exactly what one of the reviews said: A good history. If you want to learn something about chaos, you will probably be disappointed. Gleick has a way of jumping around between topics that never satisfies the curiosity of the reader.

To give one example: In one chapter he starts out with a story of some scientist submitting results to a journal only to get rejected because his discovery -- Julia sets -- have been discovered 50 years before. Gleick then continuous with fractality of the Newton algorithm, goes over to Mandelbrot and his set, which he developed with the goal in mind of indexing Julia sets, and ends the chapter with several nice and interesting anecdotes about fractals and their discoverers. At the end of the chapter one neither knows one single thing about Julia sets (other than they are fractal), one does not know whether Mandelbrot succeeded (and there is a relation between the Mandelbrot set and the Julia sets), nor does one know how the story about the rejected manuscript ended.

To summarize: If you are interested only in scientists rather than in science, this book is good for you (it has all the famous names in it: Mandelbrot, Feigenbaum, Lorenz, Ruelle, Yorke, May, etc.). If you know NOTHING about chaos theory, then the book might give you something, too: The concepts are explained in a very superficial, non-mathematical way to give you enough material to talk about during cocktail parties. If you already know concepts like strange attractors, sensitive dependence on initial conditions, and fractality, this book might not be the right one for you (unless you are interested in the history behind these concepts).
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am 2. September 1999
I read this book when it was first published, and it was the beginning of a journey that led me to my present job (at a Santa Fe Institute spinoff company), so I must admit to feeling a debt of gratitude to Gleick! He writes engagingly about the people who founded "chaos theory" and explains their discoveries in easy-to-understand terms -- other "popular science" works (e.g., "Goedel, Escher, Bach") from the same era were beyond me mathematically, but I feel that Gleick gave me a clear and accurate sense of what the theory was all about. On the other hand, he seems to focus too much on the "who" and not the "what" of chaos theory, a habit that, unfortunately, has persisted in other authors' books on the subject -- granted, some amazing "characters" work in the field, but I think emphasizing their eccentricity detracts from the solid science they're doing and the real-life applicability of the theory. To me, the best overall introduction to this subject is Mitchell Waldrop's "Complexity"; Gleick deserves credit for piquing everyone's interest, but this book is, to my mind, only an appetizer.
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am 13. Juni 1996
BOOK REVIEW of Chaos: Making a New Science.
We humans,by nature, desire order and predictability in our world. Perhaps thispartly explains the apparent negligence of non-linear systems and aperiodic phenomena and the stubborn resistance to attempts to explain or model them. In his book, Chaos, James Gleick chronicles the emergence of chaos theory from the first romantic insights to the dire ordeals endured by a few courageous thinkers.
The scientists Gleick presents weren't quite as comfortable following the well-trodden paths. They realized the shortcomings of science in explaining nature's most elusive behaviors and were driven by the desire to understand them. These brave and curious few listened to the voice of these neglected behaviors and heard a strangely magical song that entranced them, and they could not turn away.
Gleick explains how Edward Lorenz's first computer weather model demonstrated the unpredictability of aperiodic systems like the weather. Previously, modern science held that very small influences had little effect, a belief perhaps arising form the successes like the accurate forcasting of missile and spacecraft tragectories. But Lorenz discovered simple systems that were not predictable. His waterwheel is one. The other he produced by putting a simple three-equation system into motion. It never repeated itself, defying predictability, but it produced an image of order.
Inspired by Lorenz's paper "Deterministic Nonperiodic flow," James Yorke and Robert May cried out for recognition of non-linear systems and a re-thinking of the linear mathematic education that misleads students and scientists about the true nature of our world.
Gleick explains how Benoit Mandlebrot's study of a perplexing noise in a telephone line transmission led him to the development of a new geometry that mirrors nature's complexity. His work culminated in the book Fractals: Form, Chance, and Dimension. The book provides a way of thinking about the irregular shapes of things and appreciating the wildness of nature.
Along the way, Gleick leads the reader through a journey into theories of turbulence that includes a discussion of phase space and strange attractors. This section is a bit obscure and hard to understand, but perhaps that just reflects the nature of the scientists' findings.
The discussion of Feigenbaum's universality theory is long on history but short on explaination. It does, however, give the reader a clear impression of the stubborn dogmatism and resistance to change exhibited by the scientific community.
D'arcy Thompson makes an appearance as a neglected biologist who wrote eloquently on the constrained unity of all things, shaped partly, he believed, by physical forces. His views were largely rejected by his contemporaries who clung to Darwinian notions and teleology, asserting that shape arose solely from function or purpose. But it seems the more we learn, the more valid Thompson's speculations appear.
Gleik devotes a significant portion of the book to the tale of the rebellious graduate students at Santa Cruz. This section alone is so interesting and entertaining that it could be made into a movie.
A clear voice radiating from these pages of struggle and discovery advocates reform of a dogmatic and compartmentalized scientific community that resists change and ignores that which appears difficult, unexplainable, or seemingly unimportant. Gleick's book also calls on scientific education to provide instruction that reflects the full complexity of things. For by continuing to resist wrestling with challenging ideas and implementing educational reform, we only act to thwart new discoveries that, like the ones of chaos theory, may help us understand and control such things as the human malady of epidemic disease. Possiblities that, by our actions, we can make infinite or reduce to zero.
^M --Shaun Calhoun
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am 20. Juli 2000
Gleick's "Chaos" will change the way you look at the world. Not once, not twice, but three times, I found myself, jaw agape, staring through the text into infinity and pondering the immensity of what I had just read. This is as much a testament to Gleick's powerful prose as it is to the profound implications of chaos theory.
Gleick accomplishes an impressive feat in his chronicle of chaos' brief history. He skillfully interweaves the characters, their ideas, and the interactions among characters and ideas into a seamless story so as to give the reader an accurate sense of how chaos theory evolved over the course of a couple of decades.
While "Chaos" does not delve into the mathematics, it provides enough detail for readers with technical backgrounds to make the appropriate connections and develop a more complete understanding of chaos. Gleick also provides a thorough list of endnotes for additional reading.
Enjoy. This book will both entertain and astound you.
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am 9. April 2000
I found this book in a second hand clothes store under a pile of paisley print ties. It would be no exaggeration to say that it changed my whole way of viewing the Universe. I had heard of the "Butterfly Effect", (although I had even that wrong.) But I read with a mixture of awe and elation, that occasionally brought me close to tears. I promise you, after reading this book, you will never look at a cloud speckled sky, or raindrops suspended on a washing line (yes, go have a closer look at the intervals!) the same again. I read it three times, not because the first time was too hard to grasp, but just for the sheer joy of the journey. However, I did find the last sections, about the applications a little dull. It was like the final flat straight coming into the station after a thrilling roller-coaster ride. Anyone can make a simple subject complicated. Gleick has made a complex subject simple and appealing. Read this book and start seeing again.
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am 23. August 1999
There is no other reasonable way to approach and even begin to appreciate and understand the function of any biological system without being familiar with chaos theory. In writing "The Care and Feeding of Your Brain" chaos theory had a key role in bringing me to some workable explaination of how this beautiful organ functions and how we as individuals can influence it. This book by James Gleick was my first intro to chaos theory that was understandable and yet fully comprehensive. Since then I have gone much further but the insights provided by this book have proven invaluable in my further studies of the chaos inherent in complex biological systems. I have now gone back to it twice in the interim and have recommended it to several colleagues. It is very well written and was fun to read even on the third go-around. All the best to Jim Gleick...Kenneth Giuffre MD, author, "The Care and Feeding of Your Brain", Career press, 1999.
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am 19. Juni 2000
Well, this is a pretty good read that introduces how and why this weird theory called Chaos came about to explain things that are too complicated for reductionistic science to handle. It's long on history and short on theory, so for some that may be a selling point and for others (masochists who want the nitty-gritty of the theory) that fact may be a drawback. At any rate, as far as science books go this one is pretty readable - most are about as interesting as a missionary's bachelor party. Could use a bit clearer organization and it left me thirsty for a little more meat in terms of explanation of the Theory itself - but you can extract it from the narrative to an extant. I liked it b/c it shows how little we REALLY know about the universe and its design. enjoy...
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am 27. Januar 1999
I read the other reviews and I hope this reaches at least one enthusiast because it is a required first-read for all. The whole point of chaos is a deviation from traditional science. James Gleick paints a vivid picture of Chaos science and its revolutionary change to the world. Chaos brings an element of truth to endless formulas and departmentalized science. It puts every branch of study on life into a full-perspective. The point of this book was not to give the reader a math book, it was to descibe the revamping of modern science and what it took for the world to get there. To truely understand the math you must first realize its purpose. Chaos is about life,motion and flow, it takes the lab back to nature... where it belongs!
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am 25. September 1998
This is a great book if you're looking for the "natural history" of the chaos theory. There are a lot of anecdotes about the major contributors to the theory, presented in a sort of random fashion. I would have liked to see more organization in the writing, and a better sense of direction; I was never sure where he was going with any particular topic, and then was disappointed many times when I found that he really wasn't going anywhere.
Taken as a whole, however, the book is a nice read for anyone looking for a general understanding of what the chaos theory is about, and the men and women who put their research energy into it.
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