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The Essence of Chaos [Kindle Edition]

Edward N. Lorenz
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This work provides an introductory view of the new science of chaos. Lorenz Presents Everyday Examples Of Chaotic Behaviour, Such As The Toss Of A coin, the pinball's path, the fall of a leaf, and explains in elementary Mathematical Terms How Their Essentially Chaotic Nature Can Be Understood.

Editorial Reviews


"For the personal glimpses of chaos theory development alone, this book is worthwhile; for a clear, sharp development of the subject, the book is excellent; and for tying humanistic and scientific considerations together so well, there is a major debt owed to Lorenz."―Geophysics

"Lorenz has produced a wonderfully accessible book on the ideas and story of chaos. The book is superbly written providing delightful intellectual entertainment."―Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society

"In giving a nontechnical but careful account of the field of dynamical systems and 'chaos,' and setting it in a broader scientific context, Lorenz has .. communicate[d] the nature of the mathematical sciences and how mathematics contributes to society."―SIAM Review

"[A] unique chronicle of the insights of one of the founding fathers of this still burgeoning field."―American Journal of Physics

About the Author


Product Details

  • File Size: 7494 KB
  • Print Length: 244 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0295975148
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000PUB6YO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,227 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
94 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Essence of Chaos: A great primer on chaos theory. August 23, 1998
Edward Lorenz takes a complicated topic and makes it accessible for all people, regardless of prior knowledge of chaos theory. He provides interesting and easy to follow examples of chaos, fractals and complexity. The illustrations are helpful and he includes a glossary of terms to aid the beginning chaos enthusiasts to quickly become familiar with the terminology. Mr. Lorenz gives a brief history of chaos and explains how it is used in the study of mathematics, meteorology, economics, music, and other fields. The book is very interesting and is highly recommended for those who would like to acquaint themselves with the exciting world of chaos.
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102 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Chaos Primer August 8, 2000
My first intro to chaos was Gleick's book *Chaos: Making a New Science* which focused on the history of the discovery of chaos. Although this was fascinating - and a good read for those just learning about dynamical systems, strange attractors, and the like - Lorenz's *Essence of Chaos* was much more satisfying. Lorenz analyzes specific chaotic functions, gives you the math (equations are in the appendix) and generally accomplishes what the title suggests - that is, exploring the essence of chaos. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in this deeply fascinating subject.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essence of chaos book by E.Lorenz October 13, 2007
By Intars
Lorenz did a great job when he wrote this book!
The very first time when I heard of chaos theory was year ago while watching some old documentary about Nostadamus. In film was mentioned chaos theory and said that acceptance of it by many people could change whole look to life and so on. Movie left to me questions - what is that theory, what it's standing for.
Finaly my interest lead me to this book and it clearly showed me what kind of staff is that chaos theory! That was and is really intriguing!
Book is well written. There was of course some places that wasn't easy to understand. I myself have studied high math,encountered differential equations but anyway had some difficulties. That's why not 5 stars to book - it's really not for absolutely everyone although almost close to it. I couldn't stop it reading, I was done in two days.
This book encouraged me for further reading.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is the book if you're looking for a chaos primer February 1, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If your interest in Chaos was piqued by Gleick's book on the subject, you may have found it unsatisfying. While it conveyed a enthusiasm for chaos, it only superficially answered questions about what characterizes a chaotic system. "The Essence of Chaos" is a much better book for gaining an understanding of chaos, mainly because it includes a discussion of the mathematics. Both authors strive to avoid mathematics as much as possible, but in the end, I believe Lorenz achieves a better balance. He only touches lightly on the math, but without that, it's impossible to understand what makes a system chaotic. He doesn't quite go so far as to show a practical application of chaos theory, but a clear and concise example of that probably doesn't exist yet. But, he does achieve the goal of demonstrating and examining the fascinating characteristics of a chaotic system.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for the Lay Person September 18, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having read several books about Chaos Theory, and having been promised a user-friendly and yet academic book on the subject, this book fell a little short. Certainly academic, not so easy for someone who does not have a solid background in the sciences and mathematics fields. The various sections cover much of the recent research, and if you can get past the equations, you get a more complete sense of the progression in the subject.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Introductory examples of chaos February 15, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Chaos is not randomness and randomness is not chaos. Ed Lorenz, one of the founding fathers of chaos theory, has produced a book aimed at explaining chaos theory to the public, starting and ending on the same point- common usage has incorrectly rendered "chaotic" and "random" to be synonyms. Randomness implies that there are no equations to govern the evolution of a system, while chaos implies that the system is incredibly sensitive to its initial conditions, but there are equations behind the curtain. A pinball machine, flipping coins, tossing dice, and the global weather are all examples of chaotic systems, despite what your math teachers might have told you. Along the way you get a small dose of the history of the field and the relevant higher-level mathematics.

Lorenz does, I think, a pretty good job of explaining the subject. The more mathematically inclined reader will find all the details and differential equations in the appendix of the book, but for the most part you do not need to have that much of a mathematical background to understand the main points of the book. Sometimes the explanations do get a little hairy, and might require a second read. Lorenz makes analogies with simple systems and everyday occurrences (such as a pinball machine and skiing down moguls) in engaging language mostly free of jargon. I would recommend this book if you are interesting in learning about the basics of chaos theory. I haven't yet read Gleick's famous Chaos: Making a New Science, but this seems like an excellent place to start.
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33 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Stuff from the Great One July 21, 2000
Lorenz has done it again. This is a terrific inside look at chaos by the man who made Gleick's book possible. And it had a few interesting new ideas too--who would have thought there was a different way to present fourth-order Runge-Kutta? Who would have thought Runge-Kutta could convert a phase-space circle to a nice-looking fractal attractor? A good book for the air plane.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good read, recommended.
Published 2 months ago by Jacob Alexander Hay
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reading.
A good personal narrative from the grand old man of the Chaos field. Not an easy reading for laymen, some technical education (basic Calculus notions) is required for a full... Read more
Published 18 months ago by ps
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
This book exceeded my expectations, and the in-depth discussion of chaos theory and sensitive dependence on initial conditions was extremely intriguing.
Published 22 months ago by Mary
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
It is for me a reference book. I keep going back to it and propose it to others. I could read it and understand although I am not an expert
Published 24 months ago by Rosalia
2.0 out of 5 stars A lot of info poorly binded
I think that the book touches a interesting subject, but itself fails to be interesting or compelling to the casual reader. Read more
Published on August 26, 2011 by Yannis
2.0 out of 5 stars Good info but long-winded and poorly written
In my opinion this book is poorly written and long-winded. The author could have explained everything in a book half the size. His explanations are not entertaining either. Read more
Published on April 26, 2010 by Raptor5
5.0 out of 5 stars Great review of chaos by one of the founding fathers
Edward Lorenz is credited with "discovering" chaos theory based on his meteorological work. In The Essence of Chaos, Lorenz does a great job describing the historical background... Read more
Published on November 30, 2009 by Boris
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Introduction
I read this book when it was snowing outside in the Sierras. I was immediately able to correlate this book with the chaotic snow fall.

Extremely good read.
Published on February 27, 2009 by Sameer Yami
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