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Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order Hardcover – March 5, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0786868445 ISBN-10: 0786868449 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; 1st edition (March 5, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786868449
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786868445
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #403,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Strogatz is a Cornell mathematician and pioneer of the science of synchrony, which brings mathematics, physics and biology to bear on the mystery of how spontaneous order occurs at every level of the cosmos, from the nucleus on up. In this eminently accessible and entertaining book, Strogatz explores the mysterious synchrony achieved by fireflies that flash in unison by the thousands, and the question of what makes our own body clocks synchronize with night and day and even with one another. He explores the sync of inanimate objects, inadvertently discovered by Christiaan Huygens in 1665 when he observed that his two pendulum clocks would swing in unison when they were within a certain distance of each other. A case of spontaneous synchrony occurred on the 2000 opening of the Millennium footbridge in London when hundreds of pedestrians caused the bridge to undulate erratically as they unconsciously adjusted their pace to the bridge's swaying-it was closed two days later. Strogatz explores synchrony in chaos systems, at the quantum level, in small-world networks as exemplified by the parlor game "six degrees of Kevin Bacon" and in human behavior involving fads, mobs and the herd mentality of stock traders. The author traces how the isolated and often accidental discoveries of researchers are beginning to gel into the science of synchrony, and he amply illustrates how the laws of mathematics underlie the universe's uncanny capacity for spontaneous order.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

The nonlinear dynamics of complex systems has been a most hip career field in recent decades. Publishers like to tap its professional popularity for a general audience--James Glieck's Chaos (1987) precipitated a trend leading up to such recent offerings as Albert-Laszlo Barabasi's Linked (2002). Strogatz nods to both predecessors in his tour of synchrony, which simply means ordered behavior through time, for example, the beat of a heart. Living things' exhibition of synchrony called forth the field of mathematical biology, whose principal figures and ideas occupy the first part of Strogatz's book; the second part delves into synchronic behavior of inanimate matter, such as superconductivity. Writing accessibly for the nonmathematical, Strogatz explains how "coupled oscillators" are central to synchrony; presents their ubiquity, from fireflies to vehicular traffic; and accents the personalities who make synchrony a creative frontier of science (or who went over to the dark side--paranormal research--such as Nobelist Brian Josephson). With a personable narrative voice, Strogatz delivers the goods for followers of complexity theory. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Steven Strogatz is the Schurman Professor of applied mathematics at Cornell University. A renowned teacher and one of the world's most highly cited mathematicians, he has been a frequent guest on National Public Radio's Radiolab. Among his honors are MIT's highest teaching prize, membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a lifetime achievement award for communication of math to the general public, awarded by the four major American mathematical societies. He also wrote a popular New York Times online column, "The Elements of Math," which formed the basis for his new book, The Joy of x. He lives in Ithaca, New York with his wife and two daughters.