Crashes, Crises, and Calamities
How We Can Use Science to Read the Early-Warning Signs
Basic Books (2011)
Why do certain civilizations, societies and ecosystems collapse? Can mathematics help explain a failing marriage? How does the domino effect relate to the credit crunch? And under what circumstances can animals predict natural disasters?
The future is uncertain – we all know that. But, with the help of popular scientist Len Fisher, we can all better foretell what lies ahead. Drawing on ecology and biology, mathematics and physics, Crashes, Crises and Calamities demonstrates how to expect the unexpected, both in our daily lives and in a larger global context. Fisher explains how the fundamental tools that help scientists and engineers forecast the likelihood of sudden changes can actually help us recognize key indicators for potential disaster, which include dangerous concentrations of stress and increasing swings between extreme states. But beyond that, observing the behavior of animals in their natural habitat and humans throughout history can teach us how to act before a fully-fledged catastrophe is upon us today. From the demise of a species to the spread of panic amidst a crowd, from the collapse of relationships to the onset of global warming, Fisher uncovers how we can plan for events that might otherwise take us by surprise.
Comments from Experts
“With this third book in his trilogy of exploration into how to address some of society’s most complex and vexing problems, Len Fisher challenges us to rethink how science and mathematics is used in what might be called ‘crisis prediction and management.’ This book is getting me to rethink some of my own work.”
“Excellent discussion of the most important problem of our time.”