Complexity: Life at the Edge of Chaos

Roger Lewin, Author MacMillan Publishing Company $22 (208p) ISBN 978-0-02-570485-5
Complexity, the nexus of theories forming at the edge of chaos theory and the boundaries of artificial life, may spark in life science a revolution equivalent to that wrought in physics by quantum mechanics. Anthropologist Lewin ( Bones of Contention ) provides an authoritative introduction to such pioneers on this mathematically demanding frontier as Stuart Kauffman, Jim Lovelock and Heinz Pagels; naming them is easier at this early juncture of complexity's development, when there are fewer than a dozen active researchers, than it will become as complexity attracts further peer reviews. In its embrace of ``underlying simplicity in complex natural systems,'' complexity challenges aspects of Darwinian evolution and, as Lewin points out, comes close to the Gaia Hypothesis. This anecdotal introduction offers the general reader a generous sampling of this emergent theory. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
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