Chapters and Questions to focus on:ISBN: 0140092501
Chaos-Making a New Science by James Gleick
Some Key Words
1) "The Butterfly Effect" (pages 9-31)
1a) Who is Edward Lorenz?
1b) What does the term "toy weather" mean?
1c) How did Lorentz discover the phenomenon called "sensitive dependence on initial conditions"?
1d) How did his computer "misbehave"? Was his discovery an "accident"?
1e) Why is weather forecasting "doomed"? Why bother forecasting, then?
1f) How can there be order in randomness?
1g) How can there be unpredictability in a deterministic system?
1h) Why the colorful name "Butterfly Effect" was coined?
1i) Why do you think these discoveries were only made in the last few decades?
1j) Do a rough sketch of the Lorenz Attractor.
2) "Life's Ups and Downs" (pages 57-80)
2a) What does H. Gold mean about "reasonable biological behavior"?
2b) How can a complex ecological problem be simplified to a mathematical model?
2c) Why do population models involve iteration and feedback?
2d) Why do realistic models have to be nonlinear?
2e) What is the "logistic difference equation"?
2f) What do we mean by "chaotic behavior" of a system?
2g) What does S. Ulam refer to when comparing "nonlinear science" to calling zoology "the study of nonelephants animals"?
2h) What is the "period doubling route to chaos"?
2i) What is a "bifurcation diagram"?
2j) Do a rough sketch of the bifurcation diagram for the logistic equation.
3) "A Geometry of Nature" (pages 81-118)
3a) Who was Benoit Mandelbrot?
3b) What fields did he study?
3c) What is the answer to his question "How Long is the Coast of Britain"?
3d) What is "Fractal Geometry"? How does it compare with "Euclidean Geometry"?
3e) What is the "fractal dimension"?
3f) Why does the author talk about "the monsters of fractal geometry"?
3g) Why do you think Mandelbrot's named his book "Fractals: The Geometry of Nature"?
3h) What are the "advantages" of a fractal network?
3i) What does Mandelbrot refer as "trash cans of science"?
3j) Do rough sketches of the Cantor Set, the Koch Curve, and the Mandelbrot Set.