OVERRIDE

The Quark and the Jaguar

Adventures in the Simple and the Complex

Murray Gell-Mann

St. Martin's Griffin

From one of the architects of the new science of simplicity and complexity comes a highly personal, unifying vision of the natural world. As a theoretical physicist, Murray Gell-Mann has explored nature at its most fundamental level. His achievements include the 1969 Nobel Prize for work leading up to his discovery of the quark—the basic building block of all atomic nuclei throughout the universe. But Gell-Mann is a man of many intellectual passions, with lifelong interests in fields that seek to understand existence at its most complex: natural history, biological evolution, the history of language, and the study of creative thinking.

These seemingly disparate pursuits come together in Gell-Mann's current work at The Santa Fe Institute, where scientists are investigating the similarities and differences among complex adaptive systems—systems that learn or evolve by utilizing acquired information. They include a child learning his or her native language, a strain of bacteria becoming resistant to an antibiotic, the scientific community testing new theories, an artist implementing a creative idea, a society developing new customs or superstitions, a computer learning to play chess, or the human race evolving ways of living in greater harmony with itself and with other inhabitants of the Earth.

The Quark and the Jaguar is an engaging, elegantly written introduction to the life's work of one of this century's most accomplished and influential scientists. This is Gell-Mann's own story of finding the connections between the basic laws of physics and the complexity and diversity of the natural world. The simple: a quark inside an atom. The complex: a jaguar prowling its jungle territory in the night. Exploring the relationships between them becomes a series of exciting intellectual adventures.

REVIEWS

Praise for The Quark and the Jaguar

"An exhilarating voyage of learning. Not a sparrow takes wing, not an idea rises, not a quark quivers that does not inspire Murray Gell-Mann. He has made his life an adventuresome quest along the frontiers of knowledge."--Bill Moyers

"A stimulating, provocative, and uncommon cut across compartments of human knowledge that are usually hermetically sealed. It is always a pleasure to see a first-class mind grappling with the greatest mysteries, and at the same time resisting mysticism."--Carl Sagan

"A grand tour of one of the most powerful and richly structured adaptive systems of our time: the mind of Murray Gell-Mann. The tour is very much worth taking."--Science

"A most important book."--The Washington Post

"A book about how the wonderful diversity of the universe can arise out of a set of fairly simple basic laws. It is written by an expert in both the fundamental laws and the complex structures they can produce."--Stephen W. Hawking

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Murray Gell-Mann

  • Murray Gell-Mann, the Robert Andrews Millikan Professor Emeritus of Physics at the California Institute of Technology, was awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize in physics. In 1984, he helped establish the Santa Fe Institute, where he now works. A longtime director of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Professor Gell-Man served as chairman of its Committee on World Environment and Resources.
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Available Formats and Book Details

The Quark and the Jaguar

Adventures in the Simple and the Complex

Murray Gell-Mann

  • Trade Paperback

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

St. Martin's Griffin

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