Stefan Hergarten, 2002, Springer, Berlin, 272 p. (Hardcover $69.95) ISBN: 3-540-43452-6.

How Nature Works is not a modest title for a book, and its author, the late Danish physicist Per Bak (1947–2002) was not a modest man (Jensen, 2002). But the lack of modesty for either is not surprising; in proposing the concept of self-organized criticality (SOC), Bak believed he had discovered an idea that truly explained a great deal of “how nature works.” In this book, and in his numerous publications, Bak described the applicability of SOC to phenomena as disparate as sandpiles, forest fires, earthquakes, economic...

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