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In a Flight of Starlings

The Wonder of Complex Systems

Giorgio Parisi Simon Carnell



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Allen Lane
10 October 2023
From the 2021 Nobel Prize winner in Physics, an enlightening and personal journey into the practice of ground-breaking science - a #1 bestseller in Italy

The world is shaped by complexity. In this enlightening book, Nobel Prize winner Giorgio Parisi guides us through his unorthodox yet exhilarating work to show us how. It all starts with investigating the principles of physics by observing the sophisticated flight patterns of starlings. Studying the movements of these birds, he has realized, proves an illuminating way into understanding complex systems of all kinds - collections of everything from atoms to planets to other animals like ourselves.

Along the way, Parisi reflects on the lessons he's taken from a life in pursuit of scientific truth- the importance of serendipity to the discovery of new ideas, the surprising kinship between physics and other fields of study and the value of science to a thriving society. In so doing, he removes the practice of science from the confines of the laboratory and brings it into the real world. Complexity is all around us - from climate to finance to biology, it offers a unique way of finding order in chaos.

Part elegant scientific treatise, part thrilling intellectual journey, In a Flight of Starlings is an invitation to find wonder in the world around us.

Translated by:  
Imprint:   Allen Lane
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 220mm,  Width: 142mm,  Spine: 22mm
Weight:   260g
ISBN:   9780241587485
ISBN 10:   0241587484
Pages:   144
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  Professional and scholarly ,  College/higher education ,  ELT Advanced ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Giorgio Parisi is a theoretical physicist and professor of Quantum Theories at the Sapienza University of Rome. Together with Klaus Hasselmann and Syukuro Manabe, he received the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Reviews for In a Flight of Starlings: The Wonder of Complex Systems

The man who looked at birds and grasped the secrets of the universe ... Read this, and you will get at least a frisson of what a top-flight career in physics might feel like * Daily Telegraph * The Italian physicist puts the fiendishly tricky theory of complex systems in terms of birds and bus rides ... aims to make his branch of science accessible to all * Observer * In a Flight of Starlings offers a glimpse into scientific discovery ... a forceful argument for the value of scientific literacy at a time when it's increasingly being challenged by misinformation ... Parisi's book is a step toward making physics feel more accessible -- Andrew DeMillo * Independent * Parisi tells of his adventures in thinking in this alarmingly brilliant, witty and brief book -- Robert Fox * Evening Standard * An interesting collection of essays reflecting on Parisi's long career in science . . . The scientific explanations are admirably lucid * The Wall Street Journal * An erudite contemplation on both science and the process of doing science. And a joy to read -- Marcus Chown * Prospect Magazine * In this delightful and deeply thoughtful book, Giorgio Parisi weaves a tapestry of experiences and ideas that connects disciplines and prepares us to appreciate the beauty, importance, and cultural value of science -- Frances Arnold, winner of the Nobel Prize An extraordinary scientist -- Carlo Rovelli, author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics Giorgio Parisi is renowned for his scientific creativity, originality, and power. In this exhilarating little book, he shows his human side, too. By its end, readers will feel they've made a charming, witty new friend. -- Frank Wilczek, winner of the Nobel Prize and author of Fundamentals

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