Sync : The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order

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"Sync" is the story of a dazzling kind of order in the universe, the harmony that comes from cycles in sync. The tendency to synchronize is one of the most far-reaching drives in all of nature. It extends from people to planets and from animals to atoms. Steve Strogatz looks at human sleep rhythms, menstrual synchrony, insect swarms, superconductors, lasers, heart rhythms and codes, showing how self-organization produces our coherent more

Product details

  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 155 x 234 x 27mm | 524g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 0713996218
  • 9780713996210

About Steven H. Strogatz

Professor of applied maths at Cornell and one of the world's leading researchers into chaos, complexity and synchronization. His previous book, a textbook about chaos theory, is a true cult book within more

Review Text

It is one of the more astonishing truths in the world of science that mathematics, the most abstract of disciplines, should be able to shed so much light on the natural world. The Fibonacci series explains why the seeds on a head of a sunflower arrange themselves in the way that they do, and there are equations which can generate patterns like those on the skins or shells of animals. Today the new scientific study of synchronicity or sync - things that happen at the same time - is creating insights into the working of both the physical and natural world. Steven Strogatz is a mathematician working in this field, particularly specializing in coupled oscillators - where two or more oscillators have a chemical or physical process that allows them to influence one another. He has been studying the subject for 20 years, creating simple models using computers and equations, and successfully reducing the complexity of nature to manageable proportions. In the first part of his book he discusses natural phenomena which exhibit synchronicity, such as species of fireflies that align their rhythmical flashes, the cells of the heart muscle or brain, and the human body's circadian clock. He explains how mathematics brings an explanation to what had previously been considered inexplicable. In section two he turns his attention to the physical world. As he points out, 'While sync in living organisms may require explanation it does not unduly surprise. That sync exists between inanimate objects is perhaps more astonishing.' He describes synchronicity observed in proximate pendulum clocks, lasers, superconductive materials and even the problems with the Millennium Bridge. Finally Strogatz discusses ongoing research and the directions it might lead. His many insights include traffic congestion, stockmarket runs, how the mind might be produced by the working of the brain, and crowd behaviour. Professor Strogatz writes about the history of his subject, the work of his predecessors and contemporaries, and includes his own researches and the results of his studies. He writes very clearly and enjoyable for the lay reader, with an admirable ability to use the fewest number of words to sum up the essence of complex theories. This is a very readable book by a world-class scientist about a fascinating and important subject. (Kirkus UK)show more

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1,766 ratings
3.96 out of 5 stars
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3 24% (420)
2 4% (69)
1 1% (21)
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