Summary and Info
As this remarkable book shows, we live in a universe beset with chaos. Highly acclaimed popular science writer Barry Parker shows - for the first time in a popular work - the amazing impact chaos theory is having on our understanding of the cosmos. Through vivid metaphors and imagery, Parker indoctrinates the reader into the fantastic realm of chaos theory, from the exquisitely detailed structure of fractals to strange attractors to stretching and folding space. He interviews the world's premier astronomers to discuss firsthand the challenge of applying these powerful concepts to the most intriguing paradoxes in astronomy; the workings of chaos in the bizarre tumbling orbit of one of Saturn's moons, the swirling migration of the great red spot of Jupiter, the explosive mechanics of pulsating stars, and the intricate dance of stars orbiting black holes. He also explains the exciting cutting-edge technology scientists employ as they learn - via computer images - to model accurately the movements of planets, suns, and even superclusters of galaxies millions of years into the past and future to explore the role of chaos in the mysterious genesis and fate of the universe. This burgeoning new science, like all brilliant theories, raises nearly as many questions as it answers. Is the universe a puzzle we will one day be able to solve? Chaos theory reminds us that unpredictability goes part and parcel with our dynamic universe. It also offers testimony to the elegantly complex structure of the universe. As Parker eloquently shows, this remarkable science, though still in its infancy, is destined to rank among the most potent and compelling forces that will shape the future of astronomy.