James Gleick first came to our attention back in the late 80s with his book “Chaos: Making A New Science”. This was around the same time Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History Of Time” was becoming the publishing phenomenon which would prompt a proliferation of “Popular Science” literature. Hawking’s book, notoriously, rivals Finnegans Wake in the ratio of copies owned to those completed and comprehended. Chaos is no less formidable in terms of the depth and breadth with which it seeks to explain its subject. But, while it’s true that it tackles what were then-zeitgeisty topics like The Butterfly Effect and Fractals which apply to more down-to-Earth things such as cloud formations and coastlines, I would say Chaos also demonstrates that Gleick has a greater talent for bringing the reader along without needing to oversimplify complicated subject matter.
As eyebrow-raising as Chaos Theory is, it is very much hard science. Time travel, as Stephen Hawking (who famously threw a party for time travellers by sending out the invitations afterwards) would remind us, is the stuff of speculation, so I was interested to see how this writer would approach the subject. As it turns out, Gleick could have cheekily half-inched » Continue Reading.