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Turbulent Mirror: An Illustrated Guide to Chaos Theory and the Science of Wholeness [Paperback]

John Briggs , David Peat
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 29 1990 0060916966 978-0060916961 Perennial Library ed

Until recently, such phenomena as the volatility of weather systems, the fluctuation of the shock market, or the random firing of neurons in the brain were considered too "noisy" and complex to be probed by science. But now, with the aid of high-speed computers, scientists have been able to penetrate a reality that is changing the way we perceive the universe. Their findings -- the basis for chaos theory -- represent one of the most exciting scientific pursuits of our time.

No better introduction to this find could be found than John Briggs and F. David Peat's Turbulent Mirror. Together, they explore the many faces of chaos and reveal how its law direct most of the processes of everyday life and how it appears that everything in the universe is interconnected -- discovering an "emerging science of wholeness."

Turbulent Mirror introduces us to the scientists involved in study this endlessly strange field; to the theories that are turning our perception of the world on its head; and to the discoveries in mathematics, biology, and physics that are heralding a revolution more profound than the one responsible for producing the atomic bomb. With practical applications ranging from the control of traffic flow and the development of artifical intelligence to the treatment of heart attacks and schizophrenia, chaos promises to be an increasingly rewarding area of inquiry -- of interest to everyone.

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From Library Journal

Unlike James Gleick's Chaos: Making a New Science ( LJ 8/87), which focused heavily on mathematics, Briggs and Peat look at how chaos theory--the idea that turbulent phenomena actually contain organizing patterns--has also influenced other scientific disciplines, offering a model, for example, for understanding the human brain and developing computer systems for artificial intelligence. The book's chapter heading quotations from Chinese Taoist texts and Alice in Wonderland are clues that readers are being led into abstruse territory. But encouraging readers to appreciate nuances of truth rather than to seek a reductionist version of truth may be what chaos theory--and this book--is all about. For comprehensive public and academic library collections.-- Laurie Tynan, Montgomery Cty.
Norristown P.L., Pa.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

John Briggs, Ph.D., is a professor of English and the journalism coordinator at Western Connecticut State University. He lives in Danbury, Connecticut.

F. David Peat holds a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Liverpool and has written dozens of books on art, science, and spirituality.They are the authors of Turbulent Mirror.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
MAPS OF CHANGE Our journey through the mirror-worlds of order and chaos begins on the side of the mirror where we will view from various vantage points what scientists have recently learned about the way chaos arises in orderly systems. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A step deeper guild of Chaos Theory to layman Oct. 28 2001
I've finished this book's Chinese version today. In the last year, I'm trying my best effort to absorb knowledge of Chaos Theory, Complexity, and Catastrophe Theory. It's quite hard to get a in-depth guild of the above knowledge to common people in Hong Kong.
My purpose to get the above knowledge is just in order to find the hidden order of financial market, and, of course, to make profit from the market. That's why I find this book is good to serve my purpose. It explained clearly on fractals, the relationship between chaos and order, and non-linearness.
I knew E. Peters has using fratals / Elloit Wave Theory to analyze financial market. Of course, it needs more intra-day data to try to find such fratals in a small scale period, e.g. in a 5-minute charts. But I guess that, such fractal are existing in the market, if you watching index movement everyday.
On another aspest, the technique of plotting data in a phase space is a tool to get the picture of financial market to me. This tools can be compared with weighted moving average, MACD, or other technical indicators. Though, phase space analysis is quite uneasy to a man without advanced mathematics. I'm quite sure such mathematical technique may apply to financial trading.
Besides, the idea of "quasi-periodic" is likely describing financial market. Though I got less knowledge from the book on this topic. It sounds like some ideas from William Gann, and other cyclist writings.
Hince, I'm benefitted from the book to enlighten new view point to see the world, and the market. I recommend any financial market practitioner to read this Chaos Theory guild and then reread some technical analysis classics, and reviewing their trading strategies. I believe that shall be worthy in one's trading life.
N.B. The picture 2.7 is missing (P.76), and there is some printing errors in its Chinese version which printed in 20.6.1997
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1.0 out of 5 stars Science or Science Fiction Feb. 2 2001
While this book does make some interesting points about chaos, I found that the book's blatant disregard for accepted science very hard to stomach. I currently attend Harvey Mudd College, a small, but highly regarded science and engineering school, so I like to think that I know something about the subject.
For example, at one point the authors are describing solitons (a term I had never heard before), states a theory that by generating an extra bit of energy we could put the universe out of the unstable equilibrium it currently exists in and cause it to "begin to boil." While this is all well and good, it makes vast assumptions that the authors neglect to mention. Most importantly it assumes that the universe is in an unstable equilibrium, a fact which although highly unlikely is not impossible. Secondly it assumes that the universe is completely clean of these bits of extra energy currently. They draw this parallel to an example of superheating water because without external particles to build upon no bubbles can form to release the steam. This is also true, but it is still impossible because it is impossible to have a perfect system like this. There are always going to be minute cracks in the pot, or imperfections in the water (fractal theory, covered earlier in the book, even states this!), and so while this might be theoretically possible it will not happen in any real world environment. The book has many other places like this where the authors conveniently leave out details that might weaken their arguments. I find this to make the book as a whole very frustrating to read, even if some of their points are valid.
Another reason that I find the book to be very frustrating is that everything is very sensationalized.
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5.0 out of 5 stars IGNORE CHAOS AT YOUR PERIL June 4 2000
Very well thought out survey of chaos theory presents a metaphorical mirror as a means to magnify and project into view the hidden world of turbulence. The advent of the computer has brought chaos and fractals out of the closet. Here the authors teach the reader how to navigate in the turbulent world from the submicroscopic realms to the distant galaxies. The authors dish up a huge concept list: fractal dimensions, strange attractors, holograms, soliton bubbles, bifurcation, quantum phase locking, coevolution of species and the earth as Gaia -- all in an attempt to teach the reader the folly of allowing the part/whole dichotomy to rule your perception of the universe.
The book is a stark attack on those the authors term reductionists -- those who seek answers in breaking the whole into ever smaller parts. The authors' pet writers are David Bohm, Lynn Margulis, and Llya Prigogine but they toss in another hundred ideas for irregular stepping stones to get where they are going. Where is that? They composed an evangelical message -- that man now has the tools and knowledge to step through Alice's Looking Glass into an entirely new and mystical perception of the whole. They see chaos as a source of future evolution and life.
I give the authors a high mark for original thought. Although using a hundred other science writers to frame their ideas, they direct the reader to go beyond existing theories and strike a path for the center of the turbulent mirror. The diagrams and illustrations also were very helpful. They pictured the brain as a strange attractor, with thought arbitrating between the two realms of order and chaos.
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