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Few writers distinguish themselves by their ability to write about complicated, even obscure topics clearly and engagingly. James Gleick, a former science writer for the New York Times, resides in this exclusive category. In Chaos, he takes on the job of depicting the first years of the study of chaos--the seemingly random patterns that characterize 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.
Gleick here adventurously attempts to describe the revolutionary science of "chaos," a challengingly abstract new look at nature in terms of nonlinear dynamics. "A ground-breaking book about what seems to be the future of physics," praised PW. Illustrated. 100,000 first printing; author tour.
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This book by James Gleick is an eye opener on the real world out there. It tries to tell us-in a sort of indirect way-that we need not worry about 'chaos', 'cause therein lies the... Read morePublished on Nov. 20 2012 by Paulo
The subject of the book is intriguing and fascinating. However, James Gleick seems torn here between writing a book about chaos and researching the lives of chaos scientists. Read morePublished on May 29 2012 by Anastasia Prozorova
This book is more of an history book than a science book by volume. It drags on and on over the history of the scientists, however when it gets to explain the chaos characteristics... Read morePublished on Jan. 20 2004 by Luigi
Chaos is a great book, however for an under-achiever (not passed calculus) person, it can and will be difficult in some chapters. Read morePublished on Jan. 12 2004 by kceezie
I'm on the heels of 72 other reviewers so there's not much sense saying more. I found the book understandable and enjoyable. A rare combination where physics is concerned.Published on Sept. 15 2003 by Jack Purcell
This book is an excellent book. It clearly explains the concepts and the history of chaos theory. This book shows the reader some very interesting and deep insights into the way... Read morePublished on July 14 2003 by "tjg_79"
This is good coda and accompaniement to Gleick's recent book on Isaac Newton and is a classic chestnut in this subject, the 'later career' of the mechanics, born to such exactitude... Read morePublished on July 1 2003 by John C. Landon
The book provides insight into the science of complexity and chaos. The author presents the field in an easy to understand language and provides fascinating observations from real... Read morePublished on June 17 2003 by Anand Nair