Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order – Steven Strogatz

Our sense knows that the universe tends toward disorder, which is stated by the Second Law of Thermodynamic. It is stated that all closed systems have a tendency to maximize entropy. But, what if, nature can also synchronize by itself?

Steven Strogatz wrote this book in an elegant way. By reading the book, you have a journey of mathematics ranging from an atomic scale, human body, up to the cosmos. From living being to inanimate object. The formulation is described in a simple way, without taking away the essence of it. As my first popular science book, it is a good hook to keep me reading another similar genre of book.

Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order

This book not only let us explore the science of spontaneous order, but reimagining phenomenon around us. Strogatz explained the sudden synchronization of oscillators by contemplating on spontaneous formation of water when it is slightly below the freezing point. He also asked reader to reimagine the linearity of the universe, which might be a non-linear system. We do not live long enough to observe the non-linear behavior. This horizon of time is called “Lypapunov time”.

In this book, the evolution of this science is explored. Starting with a mathematical model proposed by Winfree, his mentor and early scientist of sync, towards the recent researches at that time, modeling it as a “small world” system. This model is proposed by Strogatz and his PhD student, Duncan Watts. He provided a good foundation to understand the latest approach which might be abstract for some. However, he mentioned that today is just the dawn of synchronized system research, more interesting founding and applications of it are coming.

If you are interested in reading a new topic of science, this might be a good book to read. Even though you’re not familiar mathematical model, you don’t have to worry, Strogatz explained everything intuitively.

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