- Taschenbuch: 380 Seiten
- Verlag: Random House UK; Auflage: New Ed (7. Oktober 1997)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0749386061
- ISBN-13: 978-0749386061
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 12,9 x 2,3 x 19,8 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 45 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 3.708 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
- Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen
CHAOS: Making a New Science (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 7. Oktober 1997
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Few writers distinguish themselves by their ability to write about complicated, even obscure topics clearly and engagingly. In Chaos, James Gleick, a former science writer for the New York Times, shows that he resides in this exclusive category. Here he takes on the job of depicting the first years of the study of chaos--the seemingly random patterns that characterise many natural phenomena.
This is not a purely technical book. Instead, it focuses as much on the scientists studying chaos as on the chaos itself. In the pages of Gleick's book, the reader meets dozens of extraordinary and eccentric people. For instance, Mitchell Feigenbaum, who constructed and regulated his life by a 26-hour clock and watched his waking hours come in and out of phase with those of his coworkers at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
As for chaos itself, Gleick does an outstanding job of explaining the thought processes and investigative techniques that researchers bring to bear on chaos problems. Rather than attempt to explain Julia sets, Lorenz attractors and the Mandelbrot Set with gigantically complicated equations, Chaos relies on sketches, photographs and Gleick's wonderful descriptive prose. --Christine Buttery
"Fascinating... Almost every paragraph contains a jolt" (New York Times)
"Highly entertaining...a startling look at newly discovered universal laws" (Chicago Tribune)
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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).
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.
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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