Chance and Chaos

David Ruelle, Author
David Ruelle, Author Princeton University Press $47.5 (195p) ISBN 978-0-691-08574-6
Reviewed on: 12/02/1991
Release date: 12/01/1991
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-691-02100-3
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Ruelle, French professor of theoretical physics and author of several graduate-level mathematics and physics texts, here demonstrates the advanced ability to teach the general reader with conversational grace. The pace of his ``walk among the scientific results of the twentieth century'' does not rely on ``great men'' nor yet on historicity but on good structure. Ruelle guides the reader through Godel's theorem, quantum mechanics, strange attractors and a half-dozen of the most exotic modern theories. All the while his twin themes, mathematical chance and chaos theory, bound alongside like two dachshunds on a leash. If these themes wander into less fruitful speculations about the mathematical function of sex, for example, nonetheless Ruelle's ``walk'' has clarity and delight. To his credit, he does not spare the reader all of the number theory and notation. (Dec.)
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