Sync investigates the concept of universal harmony. The drive to synchronization is one of the most far-reaching phenomena in the universe, encompassing people, planets, atoms, animals and a whole lot more. But the laws of Thermodynamics seem to dictate the opposite - that nature should degenerate toward entropy. This is not so, as magnificent small and large structures like galaxies and cells keep assembling themselves in perfect harmony. 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.
Although being a scientist myself, I always found it hard to imagine how research in mathematics is happening. What kind of people are they, how are they working, why are they excited about their field? Especially the latter is a constant theme in this book with the author trying to convey his own feelings of excitement and satisfaction of the successes of his field. 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.