A New Kind of Science 1st Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 362 ratings
ISBN-13: 978-1579550080
ISBN-10: 1579550088
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Physics and computer science genius Stephen Wolfram, whose Mathematica computer language launched a multimillion-dollar company, now sets his sights on a more daunting goal: understanding the universe. Wolfram lets the world see his work in A New Kind of Science, a gorgeous, 1,280-page tome more than a decade in the making. With patience, insight, and self-confidence to spare, Wolfram outlines a fundamental new way of modeling complex systems.

On the frontier of complexity science since he was a boy, Wolfram is a champion of cellular automata--256 "programs" governed by simple nonmathematical rules. He points out that even the most complex equations fail to accurately model biological systems, but the simplest cellular automata can produce results straight out of nature--tree branches, stream eddies, and leopard spots, for instance. The graphics in A New Kind of Science show striking resemblance to the patterns we see in nature every day.

Wolfram wrote the book in a distinct style meant to make it easy to read, even for nontechies; a basic familiarity with logic is helpful but not essential. Readers will find themselves swept away by the elegant simplicity of Wolfram's ideas and the accidental artistry of the cellular automaton models. Whether or not Wolfram's revolution ultimately gives us the keys to the universe, his new science is absolutely awe-inspiring. --Therese Littleton

From Library Journal

Galileo proclaimed that nature is written in the language of mathematics, but Wolfram would argue that it is written in the language of programs and, remarkably, simple ones at that. A scientific prodigy who earned a doctorate from Caltech at age 20, Wolfram became a Nobel-caliber researcher in the emerging field of complexity shortly thereafter only to abscond from academe and establish his own software company (which published this book). In secrecy, for over ten years, he experimented with computer graphics called cellular automata, which produce shaded images on grid patterns according to programmatic rules (973 images are reproduced here). Wolfram went on to discover that the same vastly complex images could be produced by even very simple sets of rules and argues here that dynamic and complex systems throughout nature are triggered by simple programs. Mathematical science can describe and in some cases predict phenomena but cannot truly explain why what happens happens. Underscoring his point that simplicity begets complexity, Wolfram wrote this book in mostly nontechnical language. Any informed, motivated reader can, with some effort, follow from chapter to chapter, but the work as a whole and its implications are probably understood fully by the author alone. Had this been written by a lesser scientist, many academics might have dismissed it as the work of a crank. Given its source, though, it will merit discussion for years to come. Essential for all academic libraries. [This tome is a surprise best seller on Amazon. Ed.] Gregg Sapp, Science Lib., SUNY at Alban.
- Gregg Sapp, Science Lib., SUNY at Albany
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5
362 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on February 10, 2019
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Top international reviews

bluemarlin
1.0 out of 5 stars Very light on technical detail and high on self-opinion at the very least
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 20, 2019
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Myrddyn
5.0 out of 5 stars A cybernetic aid to understanding
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 18, 2017
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MR A R BUTTS
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but you have to close your eyes to the repetitive "one of the most important discoveries I made" style language
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 22, 2014
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Redarrow
5.0 out of 5 stars What's not to like!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 22, 2016
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Payam
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 6, 2015
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Johann H.
1.0 out of 5 stars Logically extremely flawed
Reviewed in Germany on January 18, 2017
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Williamanon
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect gift for anyone in your life who likes science.
Reviewed in Canada on November 11, 2018
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Chris
1.0 out of 5 stars it's not new. and it's not science.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 9, 2013
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shahster
3.0 out of 5 stars He has accomplished amazing things.
Reviewed in Canada on November 24, 2015
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A
5.0 out of 5 stars Excelente libro!!!!!!!!!
Reviewed in Mexico on December 27, 2016
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Honest Shopper
5.0 out of 5 stars Anyone for thinking outside the box. Great book!!!
Reviewed in Canada on July 6, 2019
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Rahul
4.0 out of 5 stars A must read
Reviewed in India on April 23, 2019
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G. Russell
5.0 out of 5 stars GOOD READ !!!
Reviewed in Canada on April 19, 2018
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My Self
5.0 out of 5 stars Huge...
Reviewed in Canada on November 3, 2013
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archaeoraptor
4.0 out of 5 stars Das Universum auf dem Go-Brett
Reviewed in Germany on August 27, 2002
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