By I Prigogine, Isabelle Stengers

Ilya Prigogine, winner of the Nobel Prize in 1977 for his paintings at the thermodynamics of non-equilibrium platforms, makes his rules available to a large viewers during this publication, which has engendered vast debate in Europe and the US. He and his colleague, Isabelle Stengers, exhibit how the 2 nice subject matters of vintage technology, order and chaos, which coexisted uneasily for hundreds of years, are being reconciled in a brand new and unforeseen synthesis.

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Some pro­ cesses are , as far as we know, well described by deterministic equations, but others involve probabilistic processes. How then can we overcome the apparent contradiction be­ tween these concepts? We are living in a single universe. As we shall see, we are beginning to appreciate the meaning of these problems. Moreover, the importance we now give to the various phenomena we observe and describe is quite different from, even opposite to, what was suggested by classical physics. There the basic processes , as we mentioned, are considered as deterministic and reversible.

ORDER OUT OF CHAOS xxviii ful dialogue between man and nature, some of its cultural con­ sequences have been disastrous. The dichotomy between the "two cultures" is to a large extent due to the conflict between the atemporal view of classical science and the time-oriented view that prevails in a large part of the social sciences and humanities. But in the past few decades, something very dra­ matic has been happening i n science, something as unex­ pected as the birth of geometry or the grand vision of the cosmos as expressed in Newton's work.

This book describes some of the methods that have been 13 THE CHALLENGE TO SCIENCE developed in recent years to deal with the appearance and evo­ lution of dissipative structures. Here we find the key words that run throughout this book like leitmotivs: nonlinearity, in­ stability, fluctuations. They have begun to permeate our view of nature even beyond the fields of physics and chemistry proper. We cited Isaiah Berlin when we discussed the opposition be­ tween the sciences and the humanities. He opposed the specific and unique to the repetitive and the universal.

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