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Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order [Paperback]

Steven Strogatz
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 2004
'SYNC' IS A STORY OF A DAZZLING KIND OF ORDER IN THE UNIVERSE, THE HARMONY THAT COMES FROM CYCLES IN SYNC. THE TENDENCY TO SYCHRONIZE IS ONE OF THE MOST FAR- REACHING DRIVES IN ALL OF NATURE. IT EXTENDS FROM PEOPLE TO PLANETS, FROM ANIMALS TO ATOMS. IN 'SYNC' PROFESSOR STEVEN STROGATZ CONSIDERS A RANGE OF APPLICATIONS - HUMAN SLEEP AND CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS, MENSTRUAL SYNCHRONY, INSECT OUTBREAKS, SUPERCONDUCTORS, LASERS, SECRET CODES, HEART ARRHYTHMIAS AND FADS - CONNECTING ALL TRHOUGH AN EXPLORATION OF THE SAME MATHEMATICAL THEME: SELF- ORGANISATION, OR THE SPONTANEOUS EMERGENCE OF ORDER OUT OF CHAOS. FOCUSED ENOUGH TO PRESENT A COHERENT WORLD UNTO THEMSELVES, STROGATZ'S CHOSEN TOPICS TOUCH ON SEVERAL OF THE HOTTEST DIRECTIONS IN CONTEMPORARY SCIENCE.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Books; Reprint edition (April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786887214
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786887217
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 2.2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 226,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Steven Strogatz is Professor of Applied Mathematics at Cornell University and one of the world's leading researchers into chaos, complexity and synchronization. His seminal reasearch has been featured in Nature, Science, Scientific American, The New York Times, the New Yorker, and the Daily Telegraph. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Some twenty years ago I saw, or thought I saw, a synchronal or simultaneous flashing of fireflies. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Popular science done very well 28 Sep 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is one of the best examples of popular science that I have read. The author is a scientist and knows his stuff but he also has the ability to explain his material in very simple terms. He does this by the use of relevant and well thought out analogies.
Sync is about things in nature that synchronize without any central controller. Strogatz starts with the example of Fireflies that flash on and off together in their thousands. The book then takes us on a journey through a surprisingly large range of natural phenomena that exhibit sync and the science that is revealing how sync works.
This is a relatively easy book to read. There are no equations. The writing style is as good as any I have encountered. There are real and interesting characters and just the right level of humour. It is not a text book and does not pretend to be. It is popular (but serious) science done very well.
Best of all for me is the genuine excitement which the book conveys about this subject. It has inspired me to seek out other books on the same theme and I would definitely read another book by Steven Strogatz.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Communication 20 Jan 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
For the most part though,it reminded me of James Gleicks' Chaos book in the way that the Sync story is conveyed with tales of maverick characters on the fringes of established science, making serendipitous discoveries that lay around waiting for someone to slot them into a framework.Within this there are numerous enlightening insights and quirky facts about the rhythm and harmonies that universally pervade the fabric of existence,which make it well worth the effort.
Although I did enjoy this book,I didn't find it as thrilling and inspiring as some other people seemed to do.It does roll along pretty well until it hits part 3,where the ability of language and metaphor to convey non linear concepts of encryption and 3D sync left me needy in some respects.Although I was able to follow the general principles,it was still frustrating not to be able to fully comprehend some of the finer points involved.
Overall an entertaining popular science book,with a few moments of conceptual difficulties for non mathematicians,which can be circumvented without any deleterious effects to the whole.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Universal harmony 23 Oct 2004
By Pieter Uys HALL OF FAME TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Sync investigates the concept of universal harmony. The drive to synchronization is one of the most far-reaching phenomena in the universe, encompassing people, planets, atoms, animals and a whole lot more. But the laws of Thermodynamics seem to dictate the opposite - that nature should degenerate toward entropy. This is not so, as magnificent small and large structures like galaxies and cells keep assembling themselves in perfect harmony.
Drawing on Chaos & Complexity Theory, Strogatz examines the connections linking the phenomena of the mathematics of self-organization, where trillions of interactions result in order emerging from chaos. There is a steady and insistent pulse at the heart of the cosmos that resonates from the nucleus of the cell to the largest galaxy in a chorus of synchronized cycles that pervade all of nature.
The author refers to the work of scientists from many disciplines, including Einstein, Richard Feynman, Brian Josephson, Norbert Wiener, Paul Erdos, Stanley Milgram, Boris Belousov Edward Lorenz and Arthur Winfree. Part One, Living In Sync, deals with these manifestations in for example human brainwaves and the behaviour of fireflies, whilst Part Two, Discovering Sync, looks at the universe as a whole and at quantum theory. Part Three, Exploring Sync, investigates synchronization, chaos and small world networks.
There are some black and white illustrations, copious notes and an index. This book is a fascinating journey through the strange and beautiful phenomenon of synchronization, the harmonious music of the universe that builds and sustains life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "Sync" is out there 28 Dec 2009
By Aris
Format:Paperback
To put it briefly, "Sync" discusses exciting and original ideas in a very enjoyable manner (Strogatz is a natural!). Readers that like Popular Science will love it.

The subject is described by the subtitle: "The emerging science of spontaneous order".

From complex forms of life (human beings and our heartbeat or our sleeping cycles) to simpler ones (fireflies that synchronize their flashes in densely verdant environments so that they can attract their match), sync appears to be playing an important role.

Interestingly, it does so in inanimate things as well: London's Millennium Bridge almost collapsed because of a synchronizing feedback loop between pedestrian stepping and the bridge's swaying. The idea in fact penetrates a range of scientific areas: The quantum world, chaotic systems (systems ruled by a vast number of parameters). Even Small Worlds (networks structured in neighbourhoods so that each node distances from any other by at most 6 links. Social networks is an example, yes you are most probably just 6 people away from president Obama!).

Some chapters (few) are quite difficult to follow. If you find yourself in this situation, just read them fast or jump to the next chapter, they are independent. And from the Pop Sci point of view the easy ones contain the most fascinating ideas.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Life with or Without God's help.
A fascinating account of how phenomenae like intelligent life can happen with or without God. Held my interest, I was not disappointed. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Edward
5.0 out of 5 stars Among all the many 'complexity' books this IS the best
Steven Strogatz brings together real-world applications of scientific insights in an utterly absorbing manner. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Patrick Beautement
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
A great introduction to a the concept of synchronization. Very interesting and educational. Many references for follow up (like Kuramoto's model). Read more
Published 12 months ago by Solaris
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and well written book
I bought this book mainly to read the chapter on the Circadian Cycle. Then I went on reading and found fascinating how synchronization affects so many aspects of our life and our... Read more
Published 19 months ago by M. Merino
5.0 out of 5 stars Synchrony: self-organization and the emergence of order
The subject of the book is synchrony that is coupled phenomena which occur simultaneously. Synchrony is all permeating in nature and is encountered in both living and non living... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Serghiou Const
5.0 out of 5 stars Spontaneous order brought to life.
This is a fantastic book packed with insights and wonderful ideas. Its subject is the power of synchronisation, or as the book's subtitle puts it, `the emergence of spontaneous... Read more
Published on 3 Sep 2011 by Steven Unwin
4.0 out of 5 stars Zis book makes you sync!
Strogatz seems well qualified and certainly has plenty of subject matter. The book follows a logical (chronological) order. Read more
Published on 5 Nov 2010 by J. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Excelent book
A marvellously readable book which gives feeling that sync is part of our life. Author provides very interesting live examples and describes complex theory in fascinating way.
Published on 30 Sep 2010 by krystian
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best
This is beyond doubt one of the finest books I have read in recent years. It is obviously not intended as an easy read but the author has dealt with some extremely difficult... Read more
Published on 20 May 2009 by J. Robinson
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb read.
Inspiring, entertaining, fascinating. Sync is a real treasure trove for anyone interested in emergence, non-linear dynamics, networks and A-Life. Read more
Published on 29 May 2007 by Interested in Books
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