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Chance and Chaos Paperback – April 25, 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0691021003 ISBN-10: 0691021007

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Product Details

  • Series: Princeton Science Library
  • Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (April 25, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691021007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691021003
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #965,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ruelle, French professor of theoretical physics and author of several graduate-level mathematics and physics texts, here demonstrates the advanced ability to teach the general reader with conversational grace. The pace of his "walk among the scientific results of the twentieth century" does not rely on "great men" nor yet on historicity but on good structure. Ruelle guides the reader through Godel's theorem, quantum mechanics, strange attractors and a half-dozen of the most exotic modern theories. All the while his twin themes, mathematical chance and chaos theory, bound alongside like two dachshunds on a leash. If these themes wander into less fruitful speculations about the mathematical function of sex, for example, nonetheless Ruelle's "walk" has clarity and delight. To his credit, he does not spare the reader all of the number theory and notation.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Step by step, Mr. Ruelle introduces concepts needed to understand the physical landscape of chance and chaos, explaining the meaning of probability, the ways of turbulent fluids, and the mathematical value of information. . . . Throughout, Chance and Chaos is spiced with the author's dry wit and unsparing judgments about scientists and science. . . . [This is] an expertly guided tour of some of the fundamental issues in the world of physics."--David Voss, The New York Times Book Review

". . . by one of the founders of the rapidly developing field of nonlinear dynamics and chaos. . . . The book is a tour de force."--Malcolm S. Longair, Natural History

"Sets out the basics with precision, concision, and humor. . . . [Some books], perhaps the best books, are to be read for the pleasure of the author's company. Ruelle's book falls into [that] category."--Tony Rothman, The New Republic

"The book is an excellent read, either at one gulp or as chapter-by-chapter snacks."--Robert M. May, Nature

"A deep, thoughtful book, simply written, and a joy to read."--Ian Stewart, The Times Higher Education Supplement

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
It's nice to be hearing how a physicist places chaos theory in its place amongst possible explanations for natural phenomena. He doesn't oversell chaos, and doesn't undersell it. Not too big a tome -- a good read.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Osher Doctorow, Ph.D. on March 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is the best popular book on chaos, dynamic systems, and entropy that I have ever read, by one of the pioneers of this field. I have remarked in my reviews of Gribbin, Kaku, and others that Creative Geniuses in science (unlike Ingenious Followers who are so abundant) inspire others and themselves often by popularizing science in ordinary English. It is a good sign if they do this often, but sometimes they only do it seldom or never. Ruelle, as far as I know, only did it once, in this book, and the reader who loses the opportunity to obtain this book has lost a classic. Ruelle inspired me at an important place in my career (my fields are related to the probability-logic-entropy-physics interface). I am especially fond of recalling his description of how extremely new creations or inventions are typically received in science: journal reviewers will usually contradict each other in their haste to oust the newcomer. There are still journals which do not touch chaos, entropy, dynamic systems, fractals, not to mention my own field of logic-based probability.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sergio B. Volchan(volchan@saci.mat.puc-rio.br) on January 19, 1998
Format: Paperback
Interesting book but it tries to cover too much material some of which cannot be adequately grasped without the maths (though some of the explanatory notes help). It also ends with some worn out admonitions about the future of humanity and such stuff which plagues science popularization books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Chris Edwards on September 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This was an odd book from my perspective. It's a bit old now and after reflecting on the experience of reading it, I have figured out what it's purpose was. Books like this are basically what people who like to randomly browse Wikipedia read before there was Wikipedia. It wasn't really a serious treatment of "Chance" or "Chaos". There were quite a huge number of topics for such a small book. He covers game theory, turbulence, economics, history, genetics, quantum mechanics, Goedel's Theorem, entropy, algorithmic complexity, and on and on. Reminds me a bit of Asimov. How successful was he at actually delivering the right dose of this kind of collection of topics? Well, I frequently felt I was at the wrong level, either by knowing too much or too little. But regardless of what one gets from this, it's helpful to know that it is really a very diverse book and not tightly focused on "Chance and Chaos". That title more accurately describes the process the author used to select material to write about.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 19, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The book is deception by the author! He says he is letting you in on chaos, but doesn't. He tries but is not talking in the language that he actually thinks should be used to talk about these systems. He is only decieving himself and not the reader! I wish he had written this as if he were trying to explain it to his children and not as a way to make money. Your unique Associates ID is: thefractaltransl.
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