- Taschenbuch: 352 Seiten
- Verlag: Hachette Books; Auflage: Reprint (14. April 2004)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0786887214
- ISBN-13: 978-0786887217
- Vom Hersteller empfohlenes Alter: Ab 13 Jahren
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 10,5 x 2,2 x 20,3 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 32.335 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Sync: How Order Emerges from Chaos in the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 14. April 2004
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The story of a dazzling kind of order in the universe, the harmony that comes from cycles in sync. The tendency to synchronize is one of the most far-reaching drives in all of nature. It extends from people to planets, from animals to atoms. In "Sync" Professor Steven Strogatz considers a range of applications - human sleep and circadian rhythms, menstrual synchrony, insect outbreaks, superconductors, lasers, secret codes, heart arrhythmias and fads - connecting all through an exploration of the same mathematical theme: self-organization, or the spontaneous emergence of order out of chaos. Focused enough to present a coherent world unto themselves, Strogatz's chosen topics touch on several of the hottest directions in contemporary science. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch.
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Steven Strogatz received his doctorate from Harvard University and served on the faculties of Harvard and MIT before becoming a professor of applied mathematics at Cornell Universitty in 1994. Widely recognized for his groundbreaking discoveries in chaos and complexity theory, he has received numerous awards throughout his career, including MIT's highest teaching prize and a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the White House. He lives in Ithaca, New York, with his wife, Carol, and their two daughters, Leah and Joanna.
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Drawing on Chaos & Complexity Theory, Strogatz examines the connections linking the phenomena of the mathematics of self-organization, where trillions of interactions result in order emerging from chaos. There is a steady and insistent pulse at the heart of the cosmos that resonates from the nucleus of the cell to the largest galaxy in a chorus of synchronized cycles that pervade all of nature.
The author refers to the work of scientists from many disciplines, including Einstein, Richard Feynman, Brian Josephson, Norbert Wiener, Paul Erdos, Stanley Milgram, Boris Belousov Edward Lorenz and Arthur Winfree. Part One, Living In Sync, deals with these manifestations in for example human brainwaves and the behaviour of fireflies, whilst Part Two, Discovering Sync, looks at the universe as a whole and at quantum theory. Part Three, Exploring Sync, investigates synchronization, chaos and small world networks.
There are some black and white illustrations, copious notes and an index. This book is a fascinating journey through the strange and beautiful phenomenon of synchronization, the harmonious music of the universe that builds and sustains life.
The book will not give you the feeling to read about math. There are no formulae, not complicated theories, just pictorial descriptions and analogies. This is a good thing. After all, mathematics as the back-bone of the exact science is dull in descpription, and if you want to marvel at seeing it in action, you better decribe what you can do with math, than how. And so, the book talks much more about mathematicians than about mathematics. And about non-mathematicians, i.e. other scientists applying it. So, you will not learn about math, but about how research works.
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One of the more fascinating sections of the book deals with synchronization in human beings. It covers current research in areas such as sleep rhythms, circadian rhythms, the tendency for women to match menstrual cycles over time, body temperature rhythms, and various other normal cycles of the human experience.
This is a very academically oriented text that many with only a passing interest in such things might find too detailed and scientific for their likes. On the other hand, for those with a keen interest in the cycles of the natural world and current research into this emerging field this is one of the foremost texts on the subject. It is a highly recommended read for anyone with a desire to learn about how natural tendencies toward synchronization move us to spontaneous order.
Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, IEEE Senior Member and author of over 3500 articles.
Two thumbs up! This entertaining and informative book is one of the few I would read twice. You know those lists of books you'd want to have if you were stranded on a desert island? Sync made my list.
While Sync is fact-filled, it's far from dry. Throughout the text, Strogatz made me laugh out loud-reminding me very much of the engaging, "can't put it down" writing style used by Bill Bryson (author of Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail and The Lost Continent).
Strogatz takes a complex topic, and explains it in a way that even folks with no innate interest in the topic will find enjoyable. I learned quite a bit about how and why everything from atoms to planets will suddenly act in unison-or not do so. My newly-gained understanding of the relationship between sleep cycles and body temperature cycles has already helped me make some positive changes. Then there's the explanation of traffic....
Not once did Strogatz use an intimidating equation-or any equation at all. Instead, he treats the reader to rich metaphors, analogies, and examples. And instead of dry history on how sync got where it is today, Strogatz shares the frustrations, peculiarities, and human drama of the people behind the developments. Strogatz keeps a pace that is more in line with a Tom Clancy novel than a book focused on a science topic.
The ending made me go back to the beginning-to the dedication, actually. I never cared about dedications, before. However this one really meant something to me after I read Sync. Strogatz dedicated Sync to his departed friend Art Winfree, without whom Strogatz would never have taken his fabulous journey and without whom such a marvelous book would not have been possible.
So I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes pop science, but there were a couple of things I wish Strogatz had done differently. First, there were many times when, after reading a key paragraph and grokking what it meant, I thought "why didn't he give us a diagram showing ...?" There are a few diagrams in the book, but not many -- perhaps one fifth of what I personally feel was warranted.
The other disappointment -- and in all fairness I have felt this way about many other books as well -- I wish the author had not tried so hard to shield us from the math. I'm pretty sure publishers consider explicit formulas the "kiss of death" for such books, but hey, couldn't you squirrel off in the appendix a section or two about "The Math of Sync" for those who are not allergic? Just a sample -- something to give the idea. As it is, I feel like I got the aroma of the soup but didn't actually get to taste it.
Still, it's a good read, and I congratulate the author.
These cells have the amazing power to synchronize their activity to each other and to the cycle of day and night. Their combined effect is to regulate your bodily functions along a fixed 24-hour cycle. Your body temperature, hormone secretions, and a myriad other functions are regulated by this internal clock. And so is your sleep-wake cycle. Your day contains two "forbidden zones," for most people around 10 am and 10 pm, when your brain dictates that you can hardly fall asleep. Slightly after lunch your brain says it's a good time for a nap, as so many cultures discovered on their own. Between 3:00 and 6:00 am, it's so hard to stay awake that shift workers call this time the "zombie zone". Most catastrophic accidents that depend on human error, like Three Miles Island and Chernobyl, occur at this time.
For all of their importance in helping people sleep well and avoid accidents, understanding the neural clock is among the most difficult problems facing science today. It requires understanding how thousands of cells, connected together in complicated ways, manage to coordinate their behavior. New mathematical concepts have been developed over the last few decades to tackle this kind of problem. Synchronization is exhibited by stock markets, brains, and many other things we'd love to understand better. Studying synchronization is part of the larger enterprise of understanding complexity. One of this field's pioneers is Steven Strogatz. His book Sync is the first popular introduction to this groundbreaking investigation. The book is as delightful a read as its topic is timely.
Complexity is fashionable today. Plenty of books about complexity address the general public. In 2002, Stephen Wolfram made a big splash with his A New Kind of Science, in which he argued that complexity demands a radically new scientific approach invented by Wolfram, which uses simple computer programs to understand everything. On close examination, A New Kind of Science turned out to contain few new ideas, and those few turned out to be unpersuasive. To make matters worse, Wolfram's book is repetitive, self-aggrandizing, and poorly written. Like Wolfram's, Strogatz's book is about complexity. Fortunately, the similarities stop here. In every other respect, Sync is diametrically opposite to A New Kind of Science.
In spite of his brilliant achievements, which are documented throughout the book, Strogatz is refreshingly modest. He acknowledges the role of his mentors, colleagues, and students.
Strogatz motivates his choice of topics, links them beautifully to one another, and repeats definitions and explanations when they are needed without ever being verbose. He also respects the general public of nonscientists. He stresses that even the most curiosity-driven scientific research often has life-saving applications. And in his acknowledgements, he thanks the American public for supporting the funding agencies that make science possible. To top it all off, Strogatz is an awesome writer.
PS: Please, let's not attempt to bring intelligent design into serious scientific discussion. Intelligent design is the view that some things were created by one or more non-human intelligent designers. It is a charming hypothesis with no scientific credentials, for the simple reason that there is no scientific evidence that non-human intelligent designers exist, no story about where non-human intelligent designers come from, and no shadow of a theory of how non-human intelligent designers function and manage to create.
Developments in the physical and computer sciences and in nonlinear mathematics in the last two decades have spawned a genre of "popularized science." Some books have been reasonably good and some have been awful. In SYNC, Steve Strogatz gives an example of the genre that is unreasonably good! As far as I can tell, the science and math are accurate, if not complete. The explanations are as clear as they are witty. The phenomena he describes are engaging and compelling. If that were all he did, that would be enough, but he goes even further.
Seeing into the secrets of nature brings with it incredible joy. Some have this experience watching their children being born. Some have it when they construct a logarithmic spiral and use it as a sliderule. People like Strogatz have this experience watching a computer simulation model confirm a hypothesis, discovering others who share the same questions, running across a set of tools or perspectives that shed new light on a thorny problem. In SYNC, Strogatz poignantly shares the excitement and satisfaction of those moments with readers.
Some other popularized science writers have captured this experience in prose. Crick in The Double Helix comes to mind. SYNC is significantly different, though. Strogatz shows himself to be a truly generous and gentle spirit who recognizes and appreciates the community of scholars who feed into and feed from his work. He demonstrates a sociology of science that is about shared inquiry more than it is about competition for funding, position, or prizes. He makes it possible to imagine that synchrony, if there is such a thing in human systems, might emerge in a scientific community pursuing the difficult questions about nonlinear dynamics for which sync is one of the "simple cases."
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