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Chance and Chaos


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About the Author

David Ruelle is Professor of Theoretical Physics at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques, Bures-sur-Yvette.


Ruelle, French professor of theoretical physics and author of several graduate-level mathematics and physics texts, here demonstrates the advanced ability to teach the general reader with conversational grace. The pace of his ``walk among the scientific results of the twentieth century'' does not rely on ``great men'' nor yet on historicity but on good structure. Ruelle guides the reader through Godel's theorem, quantum mechanics, strange attractors and a half-dozen of the most exotic modern theories. All the while his twin themes, mathematical chance and chaos theory, bound alongside like two dachshunds on a leash. If these themes wander into less fruitful speculations about the mathematical function of sex, for example, nonetheless Ruelle's ``walk'' has clarity and delight. To his credit, he does not spare the reader all of the number theory and notation. (Dec.)

"Step by step, Mr. Ruelle introduces concepts needed to understand the physical landscape of chance and chaos, explaining the meaning of probability, the ways of turbulent fluids, and the mathematical value of information... Throughout, Chance and Chaos is spiced with the author's dry wit and unsparing judgments about scientists and science... [This is] an expertly guided tour of some of the fundamental issues in the world of physics."--David Voss, The New York Times Book Review "... by one of the founders of the rapidly developing field of nonlinear dynamics and chaos... The book is a tour de force."--Malcolm S. Longair, Natural History "Sets out the basics with precision, concision, and humor... [Some books], perhaps the best books, are to be read for the pleasure of the author's company. Ruelle's book falls into [that] category."--Tony Rothman, The New Republic "The book is an excellent read, either at one gulp or as chapter-by-chapter snacks."--Robert M. May, Nature "A deep, thoughtful book, simply written, and a joy to read."--Ian Stewart, The Times Higher Education Supplement

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