The Dreams of Reason: The Computer and the Rise of the Sciences of Complexity
- Editorial Reviews From Publishers Weekly Physicist Pagels (The Cosmic Code) again demonstrates his gift for synthesizing complex scientific information into concise, readable prose. He focuses here on three main themes: the advent of the sciences of complexity, the research role of computers and the philosophy of science. By "sciences of complexity" Pagels means such developments as chaos theory, which has given scientists means to rigorously define the complexity of natural objects and dynamic systems like weather. He also looks at how our ability to simulate systems, made possible by computers, is changing the way scientists view the world. Is the universe a giant analogue machine whose computational output is the future? Pagels forcefully makes the case that we are on the verge of a conceptual reordering of the sciences based on our advances in handling chaos. BOMC and QPBC alternates. Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Library Journal Pagels (New York Academy of Sciences) deals with three themes: development of the sciences of complexity (the extension of scientific frontiers into areas previously considered too complex for human analysis), the role of the computer as a research instrument used to simulate and model these complexities, and the corresponding change in the philosophy of science caused by developments in the first two areas. He believes that the computer will change our view of the world, transform scientific enterprise, and reduce the schism between those who think about science (philosophers) and those who do it (scientists). He has strong opinions on a variety of subjects, and this book includes something of interest, if not controversy, for scientists, computer specialists, and futurists. BOMC alternate. Hilary D. Burton, Lawrence Livermore National Lab., Livermore, Cal. Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
- H. R. Pagels
- chaos; chaotic dynamics; computer modeling;
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