Steve Lee's Review of Literature on Chaos, Fractals, and Non-Linear Dynamics

Chaos: Making a New Science, by James Gleick, Penguin Books, 1988 (paperback)


Needless to say, James Gleick's Chaos is the best introduction to the subject. Edward Lorenz (one of the founders of Chaos) -- among others -- have credited this book with making Chaos such a widely studied field of science among both layman and professionals. You must read this book to understand Chaos.


The Essence of Chaos, by Edward Lorenz, Univ. of Wash. Press, 1993 (paperback)


Edward Lorenz, for those who are not familiar with Chaos, is one of the founding fathers of the field. His book, The Essence of Chaos, is meant to be an introductory look at a field which he helped to start. Overall, I felt it was good. He said some interesting things about Chaos and weather. His philosophical views on determinism and free will is stimulating.

The only bad thing that I can say about the book is that one should be familiar with the philosophy and/or methodology of science before reading this book. While a person does not really need to know a lot of math, there is a need for some scientific intuition. I would recommend that newcomers to the field read Chaos by James Gleick BEFORE you read Lorenz's book.

Overall, I give it good marks. Those who are interested in the field will find that it is one step above what they encountered in books like Chaos by Gleick. Lorenz's work is not too complicated but it isn't for beginners either. One really good part of the book (which I had wished that Gleick had put into his book) is that Lorenz has a mathematical appendix just in case you have the inclination to fiddle around with Chaos.

Under Construction! Coming soon: David Ruelle's Chance and Chaos.


James Gleick

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