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Assignment Questions

Essay on Chaos

This paper can only be done IF the writer can get a hold of 2 books: “Chaos: Making a New Science” by James Gleick and “Does God Play Dice? The Mathematics of Chaos” by Ian Stewart. Write a review of the 2 books. In addition to a review of each book, the paper should include a comparison of the 2 books with respect to the main points of the writer’s reviews. The paper must be addressed to a well-informed, generally educated reader. Hence, write for a reader who might read the New York Times regularly, who might look into an issue of Scientific American occasionally. In particular, your reader should not be assumed to have a technical background. Thus, where your review addresses technical issues, take care to explain those issues for the non-expert. Avoid jargon! A review of of the kind that might appear among the book reviews in the Sunday New York Times or Chicago Tribune would be appropriate.

An appropriate review should address issues of a kind that would interest you when you read such a review. Here is a list of good questions I want you to discuss in the review:

1. How is the subject of chaos defined or described by each author?

2. What is the scope of the subject or chaos as portrayed by each author?

3. What organizing principles govern the choice of material for inclusion in each volume?

4. For each author, what is novel about the subject? Why is the subject important?

5. According to the authors, how does the study of chaos relate to the traditional organization of scientific disciplines or to conventional formulations of scientific investigations?

6. How has the subject altered the landscape of modern science?

7. Who are the readers to whom each book is addressed?

8. What needs do such books fill?

Please use quotations carefully: short relevant quotations (2 or 3 per page) with page number and book cited immediately after each quotation. Do NOT use lengthy quotations to fill up space. Avoid redundancies and wordiness. This is to be a graduate-level book review.

thank you.

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