The Dreams of Reason: The Computer and the Rise of the Sciences of Complexity

Heinz R. Pagels, Author Simon & Schuster $18.45 (352p) ISBN 978-0-671-62708-9
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. (June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Paperback - 356 pages - 978-0-553-34710-4
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