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Does God Play Dice?: Mathematics of Chaos [Hardcover]

STEWART
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

27 April 1989
Einstein did not believe that "God plays dice". He laid the foundations for today's thinking that the universe is governed by the immutable laws of physics - there is no room for chance. But these foundations may be built on sand. The new science of chaos is forcing scientists to rethink even the most fundamental ideas about the way in which the universe behaves. Chaos theory has already shown that systems obeying precise laws can nevertheless act in a random manner. "Does God Play Dice?" explains the new theories of systems that obey simple laws but which are neither constant nor predictable. Ian Stewart reveals a strange universe. A universe in which nothing may be as it seems, where familiar geometrical shapes such as circles and ellipses give way to infinitely complex structures known as fractals. In terms that anyone can understand "Does God Play Dice?" tells the story of this new science and the implications chaos has for notions of predictability and the verification of scientific theories. Chaos is a whole new world of ideas and possibilities, a new kind of mathematics, a fundamental insight into nature itself, and it brings us closer to an understanding of literally everything.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; Reprint. edition (27 April 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631168478
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631168478
  • Product Dimensions: 24.6 x 16.3 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 568,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Professor Ian Stewart is the author of many popular science books. He is the mathematics consultant for the New Scientist and a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick. He was awarded the Michael Faraday Medal for furthering the public understanding of science, and in 2001 became a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Product Description

Review

"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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
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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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
80 of 82 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to the subject of chaos 13 Jun 2001
By A Customer
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book on chaos! 18 Nov 2012
By Emily
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Chaos theroy explained 8 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Readable Introduction to Chaos Theory 6 Feb 2001
By A Customer
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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