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Turbulent Mirror
An Illustrated Guide to Chaos Theory and the Science of Wholeness

A few grains of ice on a passenger jet's wing blossom into a turbulence that can bring the giant plane down. Far out at sea, turbulence can synchronize into a single wave that travels thousands of miles without changing shape. The world is full of similar examples of order disintegrating into chaos and chaos giving birth to order. Until recently, such phenomena as the volatility of weather systems, the fluctuation of the stock market, or the random firing of neurons in the brain were considered too "noisy" and complex to be probed by science. But now, with the aid of high-speed computers, scientists have been able to penetrate a reality that is changing the way we perceive the universe. Their findings -- the basis for chaos theory -- represent one of the most exciting scientific pursuits of our time.

No better introduction to this field could be found than John Briggs and F. David Peat's Turbulent Mirror. Clearly and wittily argued and beautifully illustrated with over 120 drawings, photographs, and computer graphics, Turbulent Mirror explores the many faces of chaos and reveals how its laws direct most of the familiar processes of everyday life, from our heartbeat and thoughts to the formation of clouds and storms, from the composition of a poem to the spread of a forest fire or the path taken by a winding coastline. Briggs and Peat also demonstrate how chaos theory has encouraged a rethinking of some of the fundamental principles of scientific investigation. The now-famous chaos aphorism that the flutter of a butterfly's wing in Hong Kong can change the weather in New York is a dramatic illustration of what Briggs and Peat describe as an "emerging science of wholeness," a growing scientific appreciation of how everything in the universe is interconnected.

Turbulent Mirror introduces us to the scientists involved in studying this endlessly strange field; to the theories that are turning our perception of the world on its head; and to the discoveries in mathematics, biology. and physics that are heralding a revolution more profound than the one responsible for producing the atomic bomb. With practical applications ranging from the control of traffic flow and the development of artificial intelligence to the treatment of heart attacks and schizophrenia, chaos promises to be an increasingly rewarding area of inquiry -- of interest to everyone.


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Publishing Information

F. David Peat and John Briggs, authors
Hardcover, 222 pages
Harper & Row, Publishers Inc.
ISBN 0-06-016061-6

Paperback, 224 pages
HarperCollins Publishers Inc.
June 1990
Dimensions (in inches): 9.23 x 7.44
ISBN 0-06-091696-6
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Praise for Turbulent Mirror

"Turbulent Mirror...champions a holistic opint of view, connecting chaos and related topics... The authors...shed light on a range of phenomena, even those that apply to thought and memory and social interactions. Their book invites comparison with James Gleick's wonderful Chaos: The Birth of a New Science."
-Washington Post Book World

"Readers who weren't up to James Gleick's Chaos can indulge their passion for particles with a very accessible alternative."
-Business Week


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Table of Contents:
Order to Chaos
Prologue - An Ancient Tension
Chapter 1 - Attractors and Reading Maps
Chapter 2 - Turbulence, That Strange Attractor
Chapter 3 - Doubling Route To(o) Strange
Chapter 4 - Iterative Magic

The Mirror
Chapter 0 - On Both Sides/Sides Both On

Chaos to Order
The Great Wave - Chapter 4
Time's Arrow - Chapter 3
Feedback's Triumphs - Chapter 2
Quantum Roots to Strange - Chapter 1
Tension forever New - Prologue


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