The best mathematical models for many physical events rely on chaotic formulas and the number continues to grow rapidly. It now appears that some exposure to chaos and fractals will be a necessary component of the education of all future applied mathematicians. Given the simplicity of many of the equations, it can be strongly argued that chaos should be an early component of all mathematics education. Also, programming a computer to generate the images is very simple and a lot of fun.
To study chaos, you need a place to start, and this book will point you in the right direction and give you a brisk tail wind. The author, best known for his mathematics columns in Scientific American, writes with exceptional clarity. There are very few equations, as Stewart relies extensively on the verbal explanation. While computer generation is mentioned, only one very short BASIC program is given.
The material is pretty standard for introductory chaos and could serve as a textbook for a non-mathematical course in the subject. It would also be valuable reading for a course in the philosophy of science. Fairly extensive historical backgrounds are given for many of the initial discoveries.
If you have heard about chaos and want to know what all the excitement is about or are looking for reading material for a class you are teaching, this book is an excellent place to explore.
Published in Journal of Recreational Mathematics, reprinted with permission.