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M. Mitchell Waldrop

Mitchell Waldrop has his doctorate in elementary particle physics.

Formerly a science writer at Science magazine, he is now a contributing editor. Know as the author of Complexity and Man-Made Minds.


M. Mitchell Waldrop

Complexity: the Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos


Author/Artist: M. Mitchell Waldrop
ISBN: 0671872346
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
First published: 1992

From Publishers Weekly
Waldrop presents his narrative of the "science of complexity in high screenplay style, offering a cast of five main characters. In general, he makes the emerging nature of complexity theory accessible to the general reader. He dissipates his advantage, however, in order to depict the personalities of the scientists he discusses, using at least three of them-Stuart Kauffman, Brian Arthur and Chris Langton-to act as interdisciplinary infielders of sorts, who relay the theory itself through a long subplot on structuring and funding the Santa Fe Institute in the 1970s. Complexity theory most likely will receive other, more rigorous examinations than Waldrop's, but he provides a good grounding of what may indeed be the first flowering of a new science.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal
The Santa Fe Institute is an interdisciplinary think tank that has attracted the services of an electric and brilliant group of scholars. Here, economists work with biologists and physical scientists to develop theories that, many hope, will reveal that while natural systems may operate "at the edge of chaos," they are in fact self-organized. Thus conceived, the so-called science of complexity could explain the mysteries of how life began and might even predict global economic trends. The picture that emerges from this book, though, is that while many separate scientific endeavors overlap, a true conceptual synthesis is still a long way away. Waldrop writes in a very readable, sometimes overly light and chatty style, but by focusing so strongly on individual efforts, he inadvertently supports the impression that what is called the unified science of complexity is conjectural and quite fragmented. While this book succeeds as a chronicle of the Santa Fe Institute, it does not fully convince the reader that complexity represents a scientific revolution. Optional for public libraries.
- Gregg Sapp, Montana State Univ. Libs., Bozeman
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review
The New York Times Book Review Lucidly shows physicists, biologists, computer scientists and economists swapping metaphors and reveling in the sense that epochal discoveries are just around the corner....[Waldrop] has a special talent for relaying the exhilaration of moments of intellectual insight.

Book Description


Why did the stock market crash more than 500 points on a single Monday in 1987? Why do ancient species often remain stable in the fossil record for millions of years and then suddenly disappear? In a world where nice guys often finish last, why do humans value trust and cooperation? At first glance these questions don't appear to have anything in common, but in fact every one of these statements refers to a complex system. The science of complexity studies how single elements, such as a species or a stock, spontaneously organize into complicated structures like ecosystems and economies; stars become galaxies, and snowflakes avalanches almost as if these systems were obeying a hidden yearning for order.

Drawing from diverse fields, scientific luminaries such as Nobel Laureates Murray Gell-Mann and Kenneth Arrow are studying complexity at a think tank called The Santa Fe Institute. The revolutionary new discoveries researchers have made there could change the face of every science from biology to cosmology to economics. M. Mitchell Waldrop's groundbreaking bestseller takes readers into the hearts and minds of these scientists to tell the story behind this scientific revolution as it unfolds.

Ingram
Science magazine reporter Waldrop introduces researchers--rebellious graduate students, Nobel laureates, and pragmatic businessmen--who are formulating surprising answers to complex questions about the universe. Line drawings.






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