Chaos – James Gleick


Chaos is wonderful wonderful book for all those lovers of nature and its workings. Moreover, it draws on the scientific phenomena which helped scientists reach the present state of chaos. It traces the history and origin of chaos as an interdisciplinary scientific discipline.

The book is rich with glimpses of experiments and thoughts and theories related to chaos. It tells us how the pioneers felt, how the field emerged and how it is being applied to other streams. That all is very interesting but what is most fascinating is the topic itself : CHAOS.

How there is order in chaos. How seemingly random phenomena are not so random. How even most simple of systems are so complex. How and when there are changes from normal to chaotic situations. How beautiful are the Mandelbrot sets. How everything is nothing but a non linear dynamical system and linearity is as far from reality as possible. How dissipation is an agency of order in the dynamical systems. How biology, ecology, physics, chemistry, maths are all but based on the one thing – chaos is systems. It is plain beautiful, specially the pages which are interspersed with the complicated yet orderly in some way drawings of Julia sets and Mandelbrot sets.

The book is filled with mathematical and physical jargon so a familiarity with some of these concepts is necessary for understanding the nature and significance of the discoveries but a reader with even some knowledge can understand the beauty even if not fully as is being described by Gleick. The sheer amount of information that the book contains shows how much research he has done and his efforts are very successful since the book certainly charms and intrigues the reader.

For me personally, it came at the right time to remind me of the beauty of science and the pleasures its pursuit brings. It has once again got me interested in my subject in a way in which I never was. For all maths and physics enthusiasts this is a must read.

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