Steven H. Strogatz

A constant and persistent pulse may be heard at the very center of the universe, the sound of cycles moving in unison. Along the tidal rivers of Malaysia, hundreds of fireflies swarm and flash in unison; the moon spins in perfect resonance with its orbit around the earth; the simultaneous firing of ten thousand pacemaker cells is necessary for our hearts to function properly. Although, at first glance, it might not appear that the forces that synchronize the flashing of fireflies have anything to do with human heart cells, there is, in fact, a profound connection between them.

Strogatz is a trailblazer in the emerging field of synchrony, a new frontier in which mathematicians and physicists strive to pinpoint exactly how spontaneous order emerges from chaos. Synchrony is a science that is still in its infancy. This fascinating book covers a wide range of topics, geographies, and periods, from the underground caves in Texas, where a French scientist spent six months alone tracking his sleep-wake cycle, to the home of a Dutch physicist who in 1665 discovered two of his pendulum clocks swinging in perfect time. Sync is a masterful piece of nonfiction written in an engaging style that will appeal to readers of works like Chaos and The Elegant Universe.