Newton's Clock: Chaos In The Solar System

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Henry Holt and Company, 15. júl. 1993 - 250 síður
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With his critically acclaimed best-sellers The Mathematical Toursist and Islands of Truth, Ivars Peterson took readers to the frontiers of modern mathematics. His new book provides an up-to-date look at one of science's greatest detective stories: the search for order in the workings of the solar system.

In the late 1600s, Sir Isaac Newton provided what astronomers had long sought: a seemingly reliable way of calculating planetary orbits and positions. Newton's laws of motion and his coherent, mathematical view of the universe dominated scientific discourse for centuries. At the same time, observers recorded subtle, unexpected movements of the planets and other bodies, suggesting that the solar system is not as placid and predictable as its venerable clockwork image suggests.

Today, scientists can go beyond the hand calculations, mathematical tables, and massive observational logs that limited the explorations of Newton, Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Tycho Brahe, and others. Using supercomputers to simulate the dynamics of the solar system, modern astronomers are learning more about the motions they observe and uncovering some astonishing examples of chaotic behavior in the heavens. Nonetheless, the long-term stability of the solar system remains a perplexing, unsolved issue, with each step toward its resolution exposing additional uncertainties and deeper mysteries.

To show how our view of the solar system has changed from clocklike precision to chaos and complexity, Newton's Clock describes the development of celestial mechanics through the ages--from the star charts of ancient navigators to the seminal discoveries of the 17th centure; from the crucial work of Poincaré to the startling, sometimes controversial findings and theories made possible by modern mathematics and computer simulations. The result makes for entertaining and provocative reading, equal parts science, history, and intellectual adventure.


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NEWTON'S CLOCK: Chaos in the Solar System

Umsögn notanda  - Kirkus

Peterson (math-and-physics editor at Science News) tells how science has unlocked the secrets of celestial motion. The puzzle is as ancient as cave men peering at the night sky: how to explain the ... Read full review

Newton's clock: chaos in the solar system

Umsögn notanda  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This is a history of human efforts to understand the mechanics of the solar system, reaching from classical Greece to the present. By the time of Isaac Newton, there was reason to hope that the ... Read full review


Title Page Preface
Chaos in the Clockwork
Time Pieces
Wanderers of the
Seas of Thought
Clockwork Planets
Inconstant Moon
Prophet of Chaos
Band Gaps
Hyperion Tumbles
Digital Orrery
Celestial Disharmonies
Machinery of Wonder
Index Copyright Page

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Um höfundinn (1993)

Ivars Peterson is the author of The Mathemetical Tourist (1988) and Islands of Truth (1990)--both published by W.H. Freeman and Company. For the past ten years he has reported on developments in astronomy, physics, and mathematics for Science News. In recognition of his accomplishments as a science journalist and author, Peterson received the 1991 Communications Award from the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics.

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