Brian Clegg

Brian Clegg is an award-winning popular science writer and the author of more than thirty books, including A Brief History of Infinity, Dice World, Dark Matter and Dark Energy: The Hidden 95% of the Universe, and Everyday Chaos: The Mathematics of Unpredictability, from the Weather to the Stock Market (MIT Press).

  • Ten Patterns That Explain the Universe

    Ten Patterns That Explain the Universe

    Brian Clegg

    How patterns—from diagrams of spacetime to particle trails revealed by supercolliders—offer clues to the fundamental workings of the physical world.

    Our universe might appear chaotic, but deep down it's simply a myriad of rules working independently to create patterns of action, force, and consequence. In Ten Patterns That Explain the Universe, Brian Clegg explores the phenomena that make up the very fabric of our world by examining ten essential sequenced systems. From diagrams that show the deep relationships between space and time to the quantum behaviors that rule the way that matter and light interact, Clegg shows how these patterns provide a unique view of the physical world and its fundamental workings.

    Guiding readers on a tour of our world and the universe beyond, Clegg describes the cosmic microwave background, sometimes called the “echo of the big bang,” and how it offers clues to the universe's beginnings; the diagrams that illustrate Einstein's revelation of the intertwined nature of space and time; the particle trail patterns revealed by the Large Hadron Collider and other accelerators; and the simple-looking patterns that predict quantum behavior (and decorated Richard Feynman's van). Clegg explains how the periodic table reflects the underlying pattern of the configuration of atoms, the power of the number line, the explanatory uses of tree diagrams, and more.

    • Paperback $29.95
  • Everyday Chaos

    Everyday Chaos

    The Mathematics of Unpredictability, from the Weather to the Stock Market

    Brian Clegg

    Chaos and complexity explained, with illuminating examples ranging from unpredictable pendulums to London's wobbly Millennium Bridge.

    The math we are taught in school is precise and only deals with simple situations. Reality is far more complex. Trying to understand a system with multiple interacting components—the weather, for example, or the human body, or the stock market—means dealing with two factors: chaos and complexity. If we don't understand these two essential subjects, we can't understand the real world. In Everyday Chaos, Brian Clegg explains chaos and complexity for the general reader, with an accessible, engaging text and striking full-color illustrations.

    By chaos, Clegg means a system where complex interactions make predicting long-term outcomes nearly impossible; complexity means complex interacting systems that have new emergent properties that make them more than the sum of their parts. Clegg illustrates these phenomena with discussions of predictable randomness, the power of probability, and the behavior of pendulums. He describes what Newton got wrong about gravity; how feedback kept steam engines from exploding; and why weather produces chaos. He considers the stock market, politics, bestseller lists, big data, and London's wobbling Millennium Bridge as examples of chaotic systems, and he explains how a better understanding of chaos helps scientists predict more accurately the risk of catastrophic Earth-asteroid collisions. We learn that our brains are complex, self-organizing systems; that the structure of snowflakes exemplifies emergence; and that life itself has been shown to be an emergent property of a complex system.

    • Paperback $29.95