© 2007

The Nonlinear Universe

Chaos, Emergence, Life

  • Easy to follow and fun to read

  • Written by a pioneer of nonlinear dynamics

  • Complete overview of nonlinear phenomena

  • New directions feature strongly


Part of the The Frontiers Collection book series (FRONTCOLL)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-XIV
  2. Pages 1-18
  3. Pages 19-41
  4. Pages 43-61
  5. Pages 181-276
  6. Pages 277-301
  7. Pages 303-305
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 307-365

About this book


Written in Alwyn Scott’s inimitable style – lucid and accessible – The Nonlinear Universe surveys and explores the explosion of activity in nonlinear science that began in the 1970s and 1980s and continues today. The book explains the wide-ranging implications of nonlinear phenomena for future developments in many areas of modern science, including mathematics, physics, engineering, chemistry, biology, and neuroscience. Arguably as important as quantum theory, modern nonlinear science – and an appreciation of its implications – is essential for understanding scientific developments of the twenty-first century.


Butterfly effect Chaos Diffusion Emergence Solitons Turbulence biology

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.TucsonUSA

About the authors

One of the pioneers in the area, Alwyn Scott entered nonlinear science as a teacher and researcher after completing his doctoral work at MIT in the late 1950s. His research, both experimental and theoretical, has addressed a wide range of topics from nonlinear laser optics to neuroscience. In 1981, Scott was selected as the founding director of the Center for Nonlinear Studies at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He was also a founding editor of Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena, the first journal devoted exclusively to the area. His other books include Neuroscience: A Mathematical Primer (Springer, New York) and Nonlinear Science: Emergence and Dynamics of Coherent Structures (Oxford University Press) and he served as editor of the recently published Encyclopedia of Nonlinear Science (Routledge). He completed 'The Nonlinear Universe' shortly before his untimely death in January 2007.

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Finance, Business & Banking


From the reviews:

"The book begins with an engaging outline of the history of nonlinear science, followed by chapters on its main aspects, namely, chaos, solitons, and reaction-diffusion systems. … The book charms with historical and personal vignettes. The bibliography contains 1,087, mostly referenced, entries. … it is a must read for anyone in or near nonlinear science. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through researchers/faculty." (J. Mayer, CHOICE, Vol. 45 (9), 2008)

"Alwyn Scott (1931-2007) completed this summary of his life’s study in December 2006 … . This history book wonderfully summarizes ideas that were so important to him in a way that is largely accessible to ‘general readers who would understand science and for university undergraduates who would become researchers in or teachers of science.’ It also displays his humanity, charm, and broad-reaching interests and knowledge." (Robert E. O’Malley, SIAM Review, Vol. 50 (2), 2008)