Gleick, James - Chaos: Making a New Science - ( Item 113917 )
Published in London by Folio Society. 2015. First Thus. Fine Hardback. No inscriptions or bookplates. Fine slipcase. Dazzling colour images illuminate this award-winning story of game-changing scientific theory. James Gleick's chronicle, written in 1987, reveals a fascinating world of fractals, strange attractors and smooth noodle maps. He captures the astonished determination of its pioneers and explores its exciting and sometimes startling impact on our quest for knowledge. Today it is understood that chaos is not opposed but integral to the two other revolutionary theories of the 20th century – relativity and quantum mechanics. Moreover, it is now known that chaos has a hand, not just in the workings of the world we inhabit, but in the wider universe: the sun, black holes, and even the big bang. As well as Gleick's 2008 afterword, this edition features colour illustrations that visualise the intricate beauty of chaos theory. Chaos: Making a New Science book. Quarter-bound in cloth with printed paper sides, with a design by Raquel Leis Allion. Set in Haarlemmer with Century Gothic display. 368 pages. Frontispiece and 24 pages of colour plates, and integrated black & white diagrams. 9 ½" x 6¼". A new world of understanding unfolds. 'Beautifully lucid … Gleick has a novelist's touch for describing his scientists and their settings, an eye for the apt analogy, and a sense of the dramatic and the poetic'. SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE. 'Where chaos begins, classical science stops.' This sentence, from the prologue to Gleick's enthralling book, conveys the dramatic impact of a theory that initially appeared to subvert the very laws of nature. Those laws were predicated on a degree of 'special ignorance' about the disorder inherent in every aspect of our world – from Earth's atmosphere to the human heart. They assumed that Newton's rules of motion provided 'a bridge of mathematical certainty', and that in any system – be it cotton prices, a waterwheel or a measles epidemic – small disturbances had minor effects. These ideas were first challenged in the 1960s by the meteorologist Edward Lorenz and his game-changing experiments. His weather simulators revealed the existence of ostensibly erratic patterns, infinitely varied but operating within specific parameters. What's more, these patterns were enormously sensitive to subtle changes in input; a phenomenon popularly known as the Butterfly Effect. The early chaoticists, whose ideas were greeted variously with exhilaration, laughter and animosity, pushed towards a new paradigm that embraced the complex 'orderly disorder' in the collective behaviour of every entity and substance known to mankind. 'Reading it gave me the sensation that someone had just found the light switch'. DOUGLAS ADAMS. From the Folio Society description.
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