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Chaos in Wonderland: Visual Adventures in a Fractal World Hardcover – August 1, 1994


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 302 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Pr; 1st edition (August 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312107439
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312107437
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 5.9 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #407,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The weakest part of this book is the second section, which details the "science fictional" journey of an aspiring "modern Schliemann" named Garth (and his obligatory beautiful, young assistant Kalinda) through various adventures and encounters on Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter. Pickover ( Computers and the Imagination ) intends to use the stories and the material in the other two sections to illustrate both the glories of fractals and their underlying mathematical formulae. He does this well, providing interesting representations of sundry Ganymedean cultures, especially the Latoocarfians, whose hierarchy is based upon the ability to conceive complex fractals. Pickover's detailed explications of the speculative biologies and physiologies at times appear improbable, yet he often provides earthly analogues or theoretical material to support his constructions. The book includes an extensive array of quotations and bibliographic data for further rading for those--likely many--who may be inspired to search beyond the material Pickover presents. There are also games, mathematical puzzles and computer codes for the willing hacker. Although the fiction is frequently so chauvinistic (in both senses of the word) as to be unpalatable, this is a fine generalist text to introduce lay readers to the concepts and designs presented.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

From my publisher:

Clifford A. Pickover received his Ph.D. from Yale University and is the author of over 30 books on such topics as computers and creativity, art, mathematics, black holes, religion, human behavior and intelligence, time travel, alien life, and science fiction.

Pickover is a prolific inventor with dozens of patents, is the associate editor for several journals, the author of colorful puzzle calendars, and puzzle contributor to magazines geared to children and adults.

WIRED magazine writes, "Bucky Fuller thought big, Arthur C. Clarke thinks big, but Cliff Pickover outdoes them both." According to The Los Angeles Times, "Pickover has published nearly a book a year in which he stretches the limits of computers, art and thought."
The Christian Science Monitor writes, "Pickover inspires a new generation of da Vincis to build unknown flying machines and create new Mona Lisas." Pickover's computer graphics have been featured on the cover of many popular magazines and on TV shows.

His web site, Pickover.Com, has received millions of visits. His Blog RealityCarnival.Com is one of his most popular sites.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert A Felthousen on July 12, 2004
Format: Perfect Paperback
Forget Heinlein. Say goodbye to Azimov. Break it off with Bradbury. This is the real stuff.
_Chaos is Wonderland_ is really three books in one, each with a different style and purpose. Part I, titled "The Latööcarfian Civilization," introduces the reader to an ancient race of mathematicians that just happens to live in the ice beneath Ganymede (one of Jupiter's moons). It reads a little like a textbook, but Pickover is just setting the stage for a far grander work. A rather dull paragraph in Section 2.1 merely sets the stage:
"Far from the bright twinkling city lights and the chaotic world of humans, lives a shy, sentient race of creatures known as the Latööcarfians. Their home is Ganymede, a moon of planet Jupiter. Ganymede (radius 2,635 km / 1,636 mi) is the largest and brightest member of the Jovian family of moons. In fact, Ganymede is one of the largest satellites in the Solar System, rivalled only by Neptune's Triton, and Saturn's Titan. Ganymede has a rock and ice crust approximately 100 km thick, with a covering mantel of water or soft ice about 600 km thick. The icy surface has become dirty with age" (5).
This may not sound like easy - or even worthwhile - reading, but Pickover quickly moves to the anatomy and culture of the ice-dwelling Latööcarfians, whose gallium-arsenide biology allows them to display intricate patterns of light on their foreheads. These patterns are based on complex, chaos-theory equations: dynamical systems, Lorenz attractors, and strange attractors are thrown around and even graphed. It's no big deal if the math is beyond you (as it is beyond me) - the audacity of Pickover's ideas is what really moves the text.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 4, 2000
Format: Perfect Paperback
The beautiful images and creative ideas set this book apart from most others on the subject of fractals, chaos, and computer art. There are endless ideas for experimentation. An excellent and fun introduction to chaos for a wide variety of readers. You will really understand the concept of Lyapunov exponenent after you read this strange tale.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 14, 1998
Format: Perfect Paperback
A strange and beautiful journey through fractals, chaos, and science fiction. Filled with incredible illustrations.
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