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The Chaos HyperText Book

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«The Chaos HyperText Book»
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The Chaos HyperText Book

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Book Description:

0.2 About The Chaos Hypertextbook

Who? You and I.

I wrote this book for anyone with an interest in chaos, fractals, non-linear
dynamics, or mathematics in general. It's a moderately heavy piece of work,
requiring a bit of mathematical knowledge, but it is definitely not aimed at
mathematicians. My background is in physics and I use mathematics extensively
in problem solving. Like many educated people, I also enjoy math as a diversion.
This is the audience I am writing for.

What? Neat Stuff.

In the 1980s, strange new mathematical concepts burst forth from academic
isolation to seize the attention of the public. Chaos. A fantastic notion. The study
of the uncontainable, the unpredictable, the bizarre. Fractals. Curves and surfaces
unlike anything ever seen in mathematics before. Surely, these topics are beyond
the comprehension of all but the smartest, most educated, and most specialized
geniuses. Wrong! Chaos, fractals, and the related topic of dimension are really
not that difficult. One can devote an academic lifetime to them, of course, but the
basic introduction presented in this book is no more difficult to understand than
the straight line and the parabola.
When? Right Now.
Some of the topics discussed have roots extending back to the close of the
Nineteenth Century. The really flashy stuff had to wait until integrated circuits
integrated themselves into daily life. To attract the attention of the
media-saturated you've got to have color, pattern, detail, and motion at a level


0.2 About The Chaos Hypertextbook

beyond line drawings on paper. You need a computer. Actually, you need a lot of
computers and they've got to be cheap, fast, and simple to operate so that many
people will use them. You need to live at the dawn of the Twenty-first Century. If
you're reading this text you have the tool needed to reproduce every image,
movie, and data set found in this book. This is mathematics in the age of the
computer.

Where? Nowhere and Everywhere.

This book can never exist on paper. Although copies of the linear text have
existed on paper in the past and will again in the future, this is really a hypertext
document. Move your finger over the linear text, press on a diagram or word and
you leave behind a fingerprint. Move your cursor over the hypertext, press on a
diagram or word and you're off viewing another page.
This book will never exist again as it does now. I intend to update and modify it
on an irregular basis (that is, whenever I feel like it). Portions of this book were
originally composed with Microsoft Word 5.1 running on a Macintosh LC. After
Mosaic sparked the explosion of the World Wide Web in 1994, I knew that I
would eventually transfer it to HTML. When the next tidal wave inundates the
computer world, chances are this book will be washed away with it.