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Chaos: Making a New Science de James Gleick
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Chaos: Making a New Science (edição: 1988)

de James Gleick

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5,990561,234 (3.9)101
The "highly entertaining" New York Times bestseller, which explains chaos theory and the butterfly effect, from the author of The Information (Chicago Tribune). For centuries, scientific thought was focused on bringing order to the natural world. But even as relativity and quantum mechanics undermined that rigid certainty in the first half of the twentieth century, the scientific community clung to the idea that any system, no matter how complex, could be reduced to a simple pattern. In the 1960s, a small group of radical thinkers began to take that notion apart, placing new importance on the tiny experimental irregularities that scientists had long learned to ignore. Miniscule differences in data, they said, would eventually produce massive ones--and complex systems like the weather, economics, and human behavior suddenly became clearer and more beautiful than they had ever been before. In this seminal work of scientific writing, James Gleick lays out a cutting edge field of science with enough grace and precision that any reader will be able to grasp the science behind the beautiful complexity of the world around us. With more than a million copies sold, Chaos is "a groundbreaking book about what seems to be the future of physics" by a writer who has been a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, the author of Time Travel: A History and Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman (Publishers Weekly).… (mais)
Membro:Dixon
Título:Chaos: Making a New Science
Autores:James Gleick
Informação:Penguin (Non-Classics) (1988), Edition: Reprint, Paperback
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
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Etiquetas:Nenhum(a)

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Chaos: Making a New Science de James Gleick

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In 2012, for the 50th anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, New Scientist shortlisted 25 popular science books and asked readers to select the top ten. The original list is gone from their site and the ten selected behind a paywall, but I saved it a list on Goodreads. (I didn't know how lists here worked at the time, that they could be voted on by members, changing the order. Nor did I know that readers could add their own titles, so I put the original lists in the description here.) Anyway... this book ended up #7 on the final 10. It's one I had for years, losing my copy to a fire in 2013, and one I thought I'd read back in the 1980s but as I made my way slowly through it, I realized I hadn't. (My replacement paperback, found used, had an inscription I like:" To Korey on Christmas 1988 Hope you can make sense of this ... Dad")

Reading this, I was surprised when I looked up Gleick's bio. the depth of knowledge and understanding needed to write it is incredible. I've been fascinated with chaos theory for decades. My graduate fluid dynamics professor put up a picture of a waterfall on the first day of class and said that the ultimate goal of fluid dynamics was to model it. I don't remember his name, but I do remember that. That and the challenges of the Navier–Stokes equations. Chaos (like turbulence, and Lorenz's study of climate) is a difficult science, and there are profoundly difficult concepts related here in an admirably readable way. Doesn't make understanding them easier! but it does help to relieve some of the academic tendencies toward obfuscation. Profiling the pioneering work of Edward Lorenz, Mitchell Feigenbaum, Benoit Mandelbrot, David Ruelle, and others, this is the book on Chaos theory. Gleick recounts the use of early computers, hand calculators, analog computers, early personal computers to delve deep into the infinity of subdivisions to come up with fractals, Feigenbaum constants, strange attractors, biological models, dynamic systems, and more. Non-linearity probably hasn't had a better champion. An engaging read that I kept setting aside to ponder and one I should have read already.

I used half of my stash of flags and made a ton of margin notes; recounting them here would be burdensome for me and for any reader of this! So, a fractional selection:

An epigraph to the chapter titled "Life's Ups and Downs" is by Harvey J. Gould, from Mathematical Modeling of Biological Systems is good advice to anyone:The result of a mathematical development should be continuously checked against one's own intuition about what constitutes reasonable biological behavior. When such a check reveals disagreement, the the following possibilities must be considered:
a. A mistake has been made in the formal mathematical development;
b. The starting assumptions are incorrect and/or constitute a too drastic oversimplification;
c. One's own intuition about the biological field is inadequately developed; d. A penetrating new principle has been discovered.On the tendency of mathematics to distrust new, or different, advances (in this case, Mandelbrot's tendrils in just about any field):Mathematics differs from physics and other applied sciences in this respect. A branch of physics, once it becomes obsolete or unproductive, tends to be forever part of the past. It may be a historical curiosity, perhaps the source of some inspiration to a modern scientist, but dead physics is usually dead for a good reason. Mathematics, by contract, is full of channels and byways that seem to lead nowhere in one era and become major areas of study in another.An astute observation coming out of studies on turbulence:Traditionally, knowledge gained has always been special, not universal. Research by trial and error on the wing of a Boeing 707 aircraft contributes nothing to research by trial and error on the wing of an F-16 fighter. Even supercomputers are close to helpless in the face of irregular fluid motion.Modeling can generalize general concepts, but in nonlinear systems, everything is on its own.
Gleick says using "the nonlinear equations of fluid motion, the world's fastest supercomputers were incapable of accurately tracking a turbulent flow of even a cubic centimeter for more than a few seconds." Even Feynman had problems with this inability to model something appearing simple"It always bothers me that, according to the laws as we understand them today, it takes a computing machine and infinite number of logical operations to figure out what goes on in no matter how tiny a region of space, and no matter how tiny a region of time. How can all that be going on in that tiny space? Why should it take and infinite amount of logic to figure out what one tiny piece of space/time is doing?"There's the challenge, and why we'll never be able to model that waterfall, so much bigger than a cubic centimeter. And why something as seemingly simple as a three-body gravitational problem breaks down at a certain degree of accuracy.
Gleick tells of Mitchell Feigenbaum recalling the words of a composer I like, Gustav Mahler when describing a "sensation he was trying to capture in the third movement of his Second Symphony":Like the motions of dancing figures in a brilliantly lit ballroom into which you look from the dark night outside and from such a distance that the music is inaudible…. Life may appear senseless to you.And in addition to music, Gleick brings in poetry to the discussion, with quotes from Wallace Stevens, an early modernist poet. On quote (of many) that caught my eye was that of Scottish biologist (and mathematician and scholar) D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson:It may be that all the laws of energy, and all the properties of matter, and all the chemistry of all the colloids are as powerless to explain the body as they are impotent to comprehend the soul. For my part, I think not.That made me think of something from James Morrow's Only Begotten Daughter where a character says science does have all the answers - we just don't have all the science.

Simple systems behave in simple ways. Complex behavior implies complex causes, Different systems behave differently. And then with chaos, we find that simple systems can lead to complex behavior and complex systems, simple behavior. ( )
  Razinha | Jan 31, 2021 |
Not enough science in this history of science book. ( )
  TeaTimeCoder | Dec 23, 2020 |
> La théorie du chaos : Vers une nouvelle science, de James GLEICK (éd. Albin Michel)
Se reporter au compte rendu de Albert SARALLIER
In: (1989). Nouvelles Clés, (7), (Septembre-Octobre 1989), p. 63… ; (en ligne),
URL : http://www.librarything.fr/work/25615548/details/191575938

> Zaoual H. James Gleick, La théorie du chaos vers une nouvelle science, Paris, Albin Michel 1989.
In: L'Homme et la société, N. 102, 1991. État et société civile. pp. 144-146… ; (en ligne),
URL : https://www.persee.fr/doc/homso_0018-4306_1991_num_102_4_2603

> LA THÉORIE DU CHAOS de James Gleick (Éd. Albin Michel)
Se reporter à l’article d'Albert SARALLIER [101 livres clés]
In: (1990). Nouvelles Clés, (12), (Juillet-Août 1990), pp. 43-50… ; (en ligne),
URL : https://drive.google.com/file/d/1fWtDh_7VPJMuvJu-jkAJjRfBDKy-jjfS/view?usp=shari...
Qu’est-ce que l’ordre, qu’est-ce que l’équilibre ? Une perpétuelle lutte contre le désordre et le déséquilibre, feed-back infini. L’univers n’est pas fait de théories linéaires. Il reste insaisissable mais ses éléments sont reliés. --Nouvelles Clés
  Joop-le-philosophe | Sep 25, 2020 |
I'm totally in love with this book. Like, totally.

Why? Because it GETS ME, MAN.

Just kidding. I'm not anthropomorphizing a breakthrough in science. Although, if I was, I'd DEFINITELY be cuddling with this stream of seemingly random information that keeps repeating in regular ways, forming order from seeming chaos.

Give me a seed and I will make you a universe. Or one hell of a trippy fractal.

I think I'll leave butterflies out of this.

Small changes affect great extrapolations.

Our physics generators in video games relies on this. So do aeronautical research, weather forecasts, stock market prediction, presidential elections and the resulting public outrage, and the fluid dynamics of my creamer swirling in my coffee. Not to mention galaxy formation, fingerprints, shells, coastlines, or the thing that made the little dinos get the upper hand in those movies. :)

Truly, though, this book does a great job at explaining and giving us the unusual history of the science that brought pure mathematics out of the clouds and back into the real world, dealing with our observable reality. Newton was okay for some things but all these new equations describe just HOW little uncertainties can create huge chaotic messes... and still be reduced back to first causes. :)

Neat, huh? I'm totally stoked by these bad boys. Of course, we're all, yeah, we use those equations all the time now and it's old hat, but not so long ago, they were totally in left field and none of the big boys wanted to play with them.

So, yeah, it's like a total paradigm shift, man. I'm FEEL'N it. ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Just as good the second time through. It's kind of incredible how few of these ideas seem to be presented at all in modern popular descriptions of science and systems. ( )
  jtth | May 4, 2020 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Gleick, Jamesautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Adelaar, PattyTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Gamarello, PaulDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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The "highly entertaining" New York Times bestseller, which explains chaos theory and the butterfly effect, from the author of The Information (Chicago Tribune). For centuries, scientific thought was focused on bringing order to the natural world. But even as relativity and quantum mechanics undermined that rigid certainty in the first half of the twentieth century, the scientific community clung to the idea that any system, no matter how complex, could be reduced to a simple pattern. In the 1960s, a small group of radical thinkers began to take that notion apart, placing new importance on the tiny experimental irregularities that scientists had long learned to ignore. Miniscule differences in data, they said, would eventually produce massive ones--and complex systems like the weather, economics, and human behavior suddenly became clearer and more beautiful than they had ever been before. In this seminal work of scientific writing, James Gleick lays out a cutting edge field of science with enough grace and precision that any reader will be able to grasp the science behind the beautiful complexity of the world around us. With more than a million copies sold, Chaos is "a groundbreaking book about what seems to be the future of physics" by a writer who has been a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, the author of Time Travel: A History and Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman (Publishers Weekly).

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