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Synopsis

As Chaos explained the science of disorder, Nexus reveals the new science of connection and the odd logic of six degrees of separation.

"If you ever wanted to know how many links connect you and the Pope, or why when the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank sneezes the global economy catches cold, read this book," writes John L. Casti (Santa Fe Institute). This "cogent and engaging" (Nature) work presents the fundamental principles of the emerging field of "small-worlds" theory—the idea that a hidden pattern is the key to how networks interact and exchange information, whether that network is the information highway or the firing of neurons in the brain. Mathematicians, physicists, computer scientists, and social scientists are working to decipher this complex organizational system, for it may yield a blueprint of dynamic interactions within our physical as well as social worlds.

Highlighting groundbreaking research behind network theory, "Mark Buchanan's graceful, lucid, nontechnical and entertaining prose" (Mark Granovetter) documents the mounting support among various disciplines for the small-worlds idea and demonstrates its practical applications to diverse problems—from the volatile global economy or the Human Genome Project to the spread of infectious disease or ecological damage. Nexus is an exciting introduction to the hidden geometry that weaves our lives so inextricably together.

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