Chaos – book about chaos theory by James Gleick

I have read this book several times. This is excellent book not only about fractals, non linear physics and all what we call chaos theory, but also about how we can use the science based on discovery of chaos mechanisms. The older editions of the book are better in my opinion, because in the newer ones there are too much scientific talk to fill gaps not filled from a scientist point of view in older editions, which makes reading a little bit more boring. Sometimes more detailed explanation makes something more difficult to understand.

One thing is sure – this is the best book to UNDERSTAND what Chaos science is about.

Except information how chaos theory was developing from mathematical and physics point of view, we can also find very practical information about how huge was chaos theory impact on our everyday life, and we even didn’t know about it. We will find, for instance, how science about chaos saved life of pigs (and other animals too) and improved external defibrillators at the same time. We find also what it is non-linear process in physics, how it looks in nature, how computer speeded something I would call visual mathematics and fractals theory. We will discover – to our big surprise probably – that behind fractals, behind all this chaos theory there are some patterns, possible to describe in simple or more complicated, but beautiful, mathematical equation. For instance – fern shape can be written using simple mathematical equation, romanesco broccoli (cauliflower cultivar)

is in fact fractal. The most popular fractal shapes you can easily find in internet have dimension not 2, as probably you expect, but 2 point something. That is – fractals’ dimensions are between integer numbers, like 1, 2, 3 etc, which seems to be strange. It is also not less strange, when you find, that 2 point something dimension fractals have fixed area (you can cover them with some bigger shape with know area), but their circumference is infinite. For instance, the above mentioned romanesco broccoli has fixed volume, but infinite surface. Seems strange, but it is true. In Chaos book you will find many more interesting and surprising things.

The book is written in very interesting way, so despite advanced subject you will really understand what is going on in something such sophisticated like chaos theory – but especially older editions of the book are very good. So, up to some extent this book is like a wine – the older, the better.