Chaos: A Very Short Introduction

Paperback | March 15, 2007

byLeonard SmithAs told byLenny Smith

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Chaos exists in systems all around us. Even the simplest system of cause and effect can be subject to chaos, denying us accurate predictions of its behaviour, and sometimes giving rise to astonishing structures of large-scale order. Our growing understanding of Chaos Theory is havingfascinating applications in the real world - from technology to global warming, politics, human behaviour, and even gambling on the stock market.Leonard Smith shows that we all have an intuitive understanding of chaotic systems. He uses accessible maths and physics (replacing complex equations with simple examples like pendulums, railway lines, and tossing coins) to explain the theory, and points to numerous examples in philosophy andliterature (Edgar Allen Poe, Chang-Tzu, Arthur Conan Doyle) that illuminate the problems. The beauty of fractal patterns and their relation to chaos, as well as the history of chaos, and its uses in the real world and implications for the philosophy of science are all discussed in this iVery ShortIntroduction/i.

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From the Publisher

Chaos exists in systems all around us. Even the simplest system of cause and effect can be subject to chaos, denying us accurate predictions of its behaviour, and sometimes giving rise to astonishing structures of large-scale order. Our growing understanding of Chaos Theory is havingfascinating applications in the real world - from t...

Leonard Smith is Senior Research Fellow in Mathematics at the University of Oxford, where he lectures on nonlinear dynamical systems and chaos.

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Format:PaperbackPublished:March 15, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0192853783

ISBN - 13:9780192853783

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Table of Contents

Preface1. The Emergence of Chaos2. Exponential Growth, Nonlinearity, Common Sense3. Chaos in Context: Determinism Randomness and Noise4. Chaos in Mathematical Models5. Fractals, Strange Attractors, and Dimension(s)6. Quantifying the Dynamics of Uncertainty7. Real numbers, Real Observations and Computers8. Sorry, Wrong Number: Statistics and Chaos9. Predictability: Does Chaos Constrain Our Forecasts?10. Applied Chaos: Can We See Through Our Models?11. Philosophy in ChaosGlossaryFurther Reading

Editorial Reviews

`Leonard Smith's Chaos (part of the Oxford Very Short Introduction series) will give you the clearest (but not too painful idea) of the maths involved... There's a lot packed into this little book, and for such a technical exploration it's surprisingly readble and enjoyable - I really wantedto keep turning the pages. Smith also has some excellent words of wisdom about common misunderstandings of chaos theory... One of the best books so far in this useful and informative series.'popularscience.co.uk