Celestial Encounters

The Origins of Chaos and Stability

by Florin Diacu and Philip Holmes

Princeton University Press 1996, ISBN 0-691-00545-1

Price of the paperback edition (March 1999): US$14.95; Can$23.50

About the book:

This popular science book published by Princeton University Press is now available as a paperback in the Princeton Science Library-a collection committed to bringing the writings of leading scientists to a broad professional and general audience. The Princeton Science Library was inaugurated in 1922 with Einstein's book The Meaning of Relativity.

Celestial Encounters is for anyone who has ever wondered about the foundations of chaos. Starting with the story of Henri Poincaré's work, the authors trace the history of attempts to solve the problems of celestial mechanics, first posed in Newton's Principia. In describing how mathematical rigor was brought to bear on one of our oldest fascinations-the motion of the heavens-the authors introduce the scientists whose ideas led to the birth of nonlinear dynamics. Tracing the history of ideas in the field, this free-of-formalism book is accessible to anyone who has taken an introductory calculus course.

Since its publication, Celestial Encounters has been reviewed in Nature, Science, The New Scientist, Scientific American, Metascience, Mathematical Reviews, ISIS, Le Scienze, UK Nonlinear News, Romanian Astronomical Journal, Toronto Star, and several others. The American Reporter Book Review ranked it among the best 10 nonfiction books of 1997, and Choice Magazine conferred it the ``Outstanding Academic Book'' award. Celestial Encounters has been also translated into Romanian, Greek, Japanese, and Chinese. The Romanian translation has been published in 1996, whereas the others are to be published in 2001.

About the authors:

Dr. Florin Diacu was raised in Romania and obtained his Ph.D. degree in Mathematics at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. He was invited to lecture at prestigious universities in Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, New Zealand, Mexico, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States. He is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Victoria. Dr. Philip Holmes was educated in England. He began his career at Cornell University and is now the Director of the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics at Princeton University. He is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.