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Does God Play Dice?: The New Mathematics of Chaos (Penguin Mathematics) Paperback – 26 Jun 1997

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; 2Rev Ed edition (26 Jun. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140256024
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140256024
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 79,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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"A book well worth reading and a valuable contribution to the literature on chaos" ( New Scientist ) "For those who have even rudimentary mathematical knowledge, for teachers and for lively–minded school and university students, Stewart give a valuable insight into the innards of chaos" ( The Times Higher Education Supplement ) "A fine introduction to a complex subject" ( Daily Telegraph ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

"You believe in a God who plays dice, and I in complete law and order." — Albert Einstein The science of chaos is forcing scientists to rethink Einstein′s fundamental assumptions regarding the way the universe behaves. Chaos theory has already shown that simple systems, obeying precise laws, can nevertheless act in a random manner. Perhaps God plays dice within a cosmic game of complete law and order. Does God Play Dice? reveals a strange universe in which nothing may be as it seems. Familiar geometrical shapes such as circles and ellipses give way to infinitely complex structures known as fractals, the fluttering of a butterfly′s wings can change the weather, and the gravitational attraction of a creature in a distant galaxy can change the fate of the solar system. This revised and updated edition includes three chapters on the prediction and control of chaotic systems. New information regarding the solar system and an account of complexity theory is also incorporated. It is a lucid and witty book which makes the complex mathematics of chaos accessible and entertaining. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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The eternal battle between order and disorder, harmony and chaos, must represent a deeply felt human perception of the universe, for it is common to so many creation myths and so many cultures. Read the first page
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81 of 83 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Jun. 2001
Format: Paperback
Book review of: Does God Play Dice? - The New Mathematics of Chaos by Ian Stewart
Beautiful fractals, the butterfly effect and unpredictable systems were the images that chaos conjured up in my imagination before I sat down and read this book. Within its pages the incredible diversity of chaotic systems; and the diversity is remarkable; is presented and explained. It is staggering to see the picture unfold, the gradual realisation that 'the' scientific statement of the eighteenth century; that the universe runs according to a set of immutable laws; is unable to explain much of the behaviour in even the simplest of classical systems. The discovery of a whole new world, and one that has been in existence since the beginning of the universe: chaos. This book is merely an introduction to a comparatively new and exciting area of mathematics; but using the word merely is doing it an injustice, since it encapsulates the topic superbly and leaves the reader with a desire to study the mathematics of chaos in more detail.
Fittingly the opening chapter commences with the backdrop to this word 'chaos'. Three hundred years ago, Newton published, 'The Mathematical principles of Natural Philosophy'. This work is unrivalled in the field of mathematics; its basic message has been absorbed into our culture: "Nature has laws and we can find them." Unfortunately, although mathematics allows us to calculate the solutions to many difficult problems, we are still left in an unordered world, where apparently simple motions, on closer inspection, become unpredictable and hence unexplainable in the language of mathematics. It is appropriate at this point to introduce the nature of chaos.
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Format: Paperback
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Emily on 18 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I brought this book to help me with a university project on Lorenz, it was very helpful and I would recommend it to anyone else who takes my course in the future!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K M Breen on 8 Sept. 2013
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I didn't understand it all but got the gist of it, which was what I wanted and found it fascinating
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Feb. 2001
Format: Paperback
Relatively easy to read, even the Maths (honest!), Ian Stewart writes with an obvious passion but injects some much needed humour at times. He delivers the bulk of the subject (including the historical theory) in a fairly concise way. Probably best used in conjunction with another introductory text (e.g. James Gleick's 'Chaos')
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By Srdjan Pejovic on 26 Mar. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
great! takes lot of mathematical knowledge to understand it completely. not for mathematical dummies
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