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Over the past two decades, no field of scientific inquiry has had a more striking impact across a wide array of disciplines–from biology to physics, computing to meteorology–than that known as chaos and complexity, the study of complex systems. Now astrophysicist John Gribbin draws on his expertise to explore, in prose that communicates not only the wonder but the substance of cutting-edge science, the principles behind chaos and complexity. He reveals the remarkable ways these two revolutionary theories have been applied over the last twenty years to explain all sorts of phenomena–from weather patterns to mass extinctions.
Grounding these paradigm-shifting ideas in their historical context, Gribbin also traces their development from Newton to Darwin to Lorenz, Prigogine, and Lovelock, demonstrating how–far from overturning all that has gone before–chaos and complexity are the triumphant extensions of simple scientific laws. Ultimately, Gribbin illustrates how chaos and complexity permeate the universe on every scale, governing the evolution of life and galaxies alike.
About the Author
JOHN GRIBBIN trained as an astrophysicist at Cambridge University and is currently Visiting Fellow in Astronomy at the University of Sussex. His many books include In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat, Stardust, Schrödinger’s Kittens and The Search for Reality Fitzroy (with his wife, Mary Gribbin), Science: A History, and The Scientists.
“Gribbin takes us through the basics [of chaos theory] with his customary talent for accessibility and clarity. [His] arguments are driven not by impersonal equations but by a sense of wonder at the presence in the universe and in nature of simple, self-organizing harmonies underpinning all structures, whether they are stars or flowers.”
–Sunday Times (London)
“Gribbins breathes life into the core ideas of complexity science, and argues convincingly that the basic laws, even in biology, will ultimately turn out to be simple.”