How Nature Works

How Nature Works : the science of self-organized criticality

4.02 (199 ratings by Goodreads)
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Self-organized criticality, the spontaneous development of systems to a critical state, is the first general theory of complex systems with a firm mathematical basis. This theory describes how many seemingly desperate aspects of the world, from stock market crashes to mass extinctions, avalanches to solar flares, all share a set of simple, easily described properties.
"...a'must read'...Bak writes with such ease and lucidity, and his ideas are so intriguing...essential reading for those interested in complex will reward a sufficiently skeptical reader." -NATURE
"...presents the theory (self-organized criticality) in a form easily absorbed by the non-mathematically inclined reader." -BOSTON BOOK REVIEW
"I picture Bak as a kind of scientific musketeer; flamboyant, touchy, full of swagger and ready to join every fray... His book is written with panache. The style is brisk, the content stimulating. I recommend it as a bracing experience." -NEW SCIENTIST
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Product details

  • Paperback | 212 pages
  • 155 x 235 x 18.8mm | 380g
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 1st ed. 1996. 2nd printing 1999. Softcover reprint of the original 1st ed. 1996
  • 9 Illustrations, color; 27 Illustrations, black and white; XIII, 212 p. 36 illus., 9 illus. in color.
  • 038798738X
  • 9780387987385
  • 81,068

Table of contents

1 Complexity and Criticality.- 2 The Discovery of Self-Organized Criticality.- 3 The Sandpile Paradigm.- 4 Real Sandpiles and Landscape Formation.- 5 Earthquakes, Starquakes, and Solar Flares.- 6 The "Game of Life": Complexity Is Criticality.- 7 Is Life a Self-Organized Critical Phenomenon?.- 8 Mass Extinctions and Punctuated Equilibria in a Simple Model of Evolution.- 9 Theory of the Punctuated Equilibrium Model.- 10 The Brain.- 11 On Economics and Traffic Jams.
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Rating details

199 ratings
4.02 out of 5 stars
5 32% (64)
4 43% (85)
3 22% (43)
2 3% (5)
1 1% (2)
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