Chaos: Making a New Science
by James Gleick


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Page references are to the soft cover edition


[Items enclosed in brackets are paraphrases or commentary by Tony Mayo]


Two favorite excerpts:


p. 38  Shallow ideas can be assimilated; ideas that require people to reorganize their picture of the world provoke hostility. A physicist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Joseph Ford, started quoting Tolstoy: “I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.”


p. 231 “Rigor is the strength of mathematics,” Peitgen said. “That we can continue a line of thought which is absolutely guaranteed–mathematicians never want to give that up. But you can look at situations that can be understood partially now and with rigor perhaps in future generations. Rigor, yes, but not to the extent that I drop something just because I can’t do it now.”



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