- Tapa blanda: 352 páginas
- Editor: Hachette Audio Pa; Edición: Reprint (1 de abril de 2004)
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 0786887214
- ISBN-13: 978-0786887217
- Valoración media de los clientes: 1 opinión de cliente
- Clasificación en los más vendidos de Amazon: nº103.836 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros (Ver el Top 100 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros)
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Sync: How Order Emerges from Chaos in the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life (Inglés) Tapa blanda – abr 2004
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Reseña del editor
A pioneer in the scientific field of synchronicity examines the ground-breaking work of physicists and mathematicians out to prove how spontaneous order emerges from chaos, and offers a fascinating glimpse of the interconnections that exist among many disciplines, places, and times in the world around us. Reprint. 40,000 first printing.
Biografía del autor
Steven Strogatz received his doctorate from Harvard University and served on the faculties of Harvard and MIT before becoming a professor of applied mathematics at Cornell Universitty in 1994. Widely recognized for his groundbreaking discoveries in chaos and complexity theory, he has received numerous awards throughout his career, including MIT's highest teaching prize and a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the White House. He lives in Ithaca, New York, with his wife, Carol, and their two daughters, Leah and Joanna.
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That said, I enjoyed the book very much and highly recommend it. Some of the more interesting things in the book are the core discussion of how coupled oscillators tend to synchronize and, in general, how one gets the phenomena of synchronization. This is described for simple two body systems such as earth and moon (tidal locking), two nearby pendulums or two electric generators in parallel. The discussion of synchronization naturally leads to the topic of chaos and strange attractors. I found the discussion of the Lyapunov time and the degree of predictability particularly intuitive and enjoyable.
There is also a lot in the book about non-physical applications, especially those related to biological systems. I found the discussion of sleep cycles interesting as I had never realized that our natural REM sleep cycle is synchronized to an internal clock that does not necessarily have to follow the 24-hour light/dark rhythm of the day. There also is a nice discussion of the history of how this was discovered and the practical ramification that it is often difficult for people to fall asleep right before their usual bedtime and sometimes after staying up very late they sleep much less than might be expected. Finally, there is a good overview of some of the interesting connected effects in social networks including the famous paper on small world networks, showing how having a few random links within a network dramatically cuts down the shortest path for communication.
Overall I found this a very enjoyable book and I would highly recommend it to anyone who falls in that niche between pop science and textbooks.
In the first section on "Living Sync", Strogatz discusses synchronization in living creatures: the synchronization of fireflies, and the work done on coupled oscillators which was an attempt to determine how the flies could sync their flashes. The discussion on how oscillators might work together continues with brain waves and the biological clock. I found the information about the research on how the biological clock works very interesting. It is fascinating how thousands of neurons in an area of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nuclei act as oscillators and how this "collective electrical rhythm of the pacemaker is conveyed [...] to the peripheral oscillators in the liver, kidney, and other organs throughout the body, disciplining them to run at the same period as the master clock." Thus, in nature, we see the mechanisms for sync.
In the second section we learn that "the capacity for sync does not depend on intelligence, or life, or natural selection." Strogatz notes instead that it springs from what he calls the deepest source of all, and that is the laws of mathematics and physics. These laws explain why the moon has what's called a 1:1 spin-orbit resonance (we always see the same side of the moon) and why there are these gaps in the asteroid belt called Kirkwood gaps. Shrinking things down to the quantum level, we are introduced to the weirdness of superconductivity and the Josephson junction with its rapidly oscillating supercurrent across an insulating junction - certainly strange stuff at this level.
In the 1960's and 1970s, we had the pioneers of sync, such as Wiener, Winfree, Kuramoto, Peskin, and Josephson; Strogatz expands on the work of all these individuals. He speaks of them as "blazing one path up the mountain, on the trail of spontaneous order in enormous systems of oscillators." Now we are introduced, in the next section, to something called synchronized chaos, and here we have an army of new individuals "clambering up a separate trail but headed for the same peak." We are taken into the strange world of this so-called chaos, which refers to a state that appears random but is set in motion by deterministic laws - predicable in the short run but unpredictable in the long run. Here we are in a world of space states, strange attractors, Lyapunov time, and nonlinearity, but as Strogatz notes "Chaos can sync." There is some exploration of sync in three dimensions before delving into the subject of complex networks. These are very important because "If the day should ever come that we understand how life emerges from a dance of lifeless chemicals, or how consciousness arises from billions of unconscious neurons, that understanding will surely rest on a deep theory of complex networks." Particular attention is paid to something called small-world networks. The question is whether or not oscillators connected in such a network can sync more easily that a traditional network. These networks are common in our world: the Internet backbone, the primate brain, metabolic reactions in a cell, even the structure of the English language.
Strogatz concludes indicating that sync has been an elementary part of nonlinear science, and offers insights into such diverse things as cardiac arrhythmias, superconductivity, sleep cycles, the power grid and more. Being grounded in rigorous mathematical ideas, it is important in a wide range of cooperative behavior in living and nonliving entities from the quantum to the cosmic. Where it all goes, only time will tell.