JOHN GRIBBIN DEEP SIMPLICITY PDF

Shelves: popular-science Noted science writer, John Gribbin, is on to a little known aspect of science related to chaos theory and self-organized complexity that is the basis of life and other complex systems. The book is organized as to be helpful for the initiate, and is a good attempt to bring this new concept into the public domain. Mathematics breaks down when the systems move from simple shapes or manipulations to complex objects and repetitive interactions begin on a large scale. Future states of such systems Noted science writer, John Gribbin, is on to a little known aspect of science related to chaos theory and self-organized complexity that is the basis of life and other complex systems. Future states of such systems cannot be predicted in advance, as a slight change in the initial conditions would deviate the system through a wide margin from the original.

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Shelves: popular-science Noted science writer, John Gribbin, is on to a little known aspect of science related to chaos theory and self-organized complexity that is the basis of life and other complex systems. The book is organized as to be helpful for the initiate, and is a good attempt to bring this new concept into the public domain. Mathematics breaks down when the systems move from simple shapes or manipulations to complex objects and repetitive interactions begin on a large scale.

Future states of such systems Noted science writer, John Gribbin, is on to a little known aspect of science related to chaos theory and self-organized complexity that is the basis of life and other complex systems. Future states of such systems cannot be predicted in advance, as a slight change in the initial conditions would deviate the system through a wide margin from the original. These entities are said to be on the edge of chaos and is the basis of most physical systems existing on earth.

The novel concept brought home in the book is the application of this deceptively simple construct to the as yet unfathomable issue of emergence of life on this planet. Gribbin has put forward a fairly consistent argument on this issue and is a good starting point for further study. Science broke free of the shackles of organized religion in the 17th century.

The human intellect was thus freed to explore the wide world, which it promptly did. When at last the overarching fetters of religion were finally removed, science progressed along the path of determinism, in order to deny any role for a supernatural force to dictate terms in scientific theories. Laplace crowned the deterministic faction by boldly claiming that if you know the laws of interaction between all particles and their exact initial states, you will be able to predict all the future states of the system quite faithfully.

But as science extended its knowledge from the basics to the subtle, its limitations were soon exposed in painful detail. Even gravity was a problem when the number of interacting bodies increased. Consider the case of the solar system then, and we may feel butterflies in our stomach when we learn that nobody has been able to prove that the solar system is stable in the long run! This system is said to be chaotic, not in the literary sense, but as a very complex system that runs on simple principles, but made impossibly difficult to predict by positive feedback.

But obviously, this example is highly exaggerated. Readers are in for a surprise to know that self-organized complex systems cover everything from climate systems, astronomical objects, the biological kingdoms and even the collapse of a sand pile. Each illustration given in the book is followed by graphical representations and very informative text. The fundamental characteristic of all these systems is that they are not linear.

Here, a power law is involved, as the output is proportional to some power of the input. Hope everyone remembers their school math! The power of a number means the number multiplied that many times with itself. The secret behind eliciting a large response from a small stimulus is this power relation. Add to that the interaction among individuals. You get a complex system teetering on the edge of chaos.

Several charts and illustrative diagrams are squeezed into the text, but they lack clarity and visual appeal. Rather than instruments for better comprehension, these diagrams seem to serve the requirement of incorporating visual media in a volume of popular science. The diagrams are not anchored to the text. The readers have no clue at what point they should stop reading the text and look at the picture. So we reach a consensus to study the chart before the page is turned over.

As a sequel to the above, it is to be noted that the book literally overflows with text that fails to carry conviction. However, to do justice to Gribbin, any book on chaos and self-organized complexity is marred by this same disadvantage.

This may probably be due to the non-availability of second layer not to be confused with second rate writers who take inputs from first layer writers and simplify it for the lay audience.

Chaos is still the preserve of pioneering writers. Gribbin walks out of the beaten path of chaos theory to endorse evolution. He asserts the truth of the theory of evolution in unequivocal terms. Propagandists of creation and intelligent design often accuse evolution to be only a theory and not fact. In another context, he specifies that a hypothesis is an untested postulate and when it is supported by experiment, it graduates to the status of a theory.

Evolution is a tried and tested theory in that sense. But here, the association is doubtful. Moreover, Gribbin is a renowned popularizer of science who is also a prolific author.

Naturally, his works cover almost all areas of physics. Consequently he advises the readers through foot notes to refer to his various books, if they want to clarify a point under discussion. This self advertisement is amusing to behold.

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