An Essay on the Importance of Being Nonlinear

  • Bruce J. West

Part of the Lecture Notes in Biomathematics book series (LNBM, volume 62)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages N2-VIII
  2. Bruce J. West
    Pages 1-13
  3. Bruce J. West
    Pages 65-135
  4. Bruce J. West
    Pages 136-190
  5. Bruce J. West
    Pages 191-193
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 195-209

About this book


One of my favorite quotes is from a letter of Charles Darwin (1887): "I have long discovered that geologists never read each other's works, and that the only object in writing a book is proof of earnestness, and that you do not form your opinions without undergoing labour of some kind. " It is not clear if this private opinion of Darwin was one that he held to be absolutely true, or was one of those opinions that, as with most of us, coincides with our "bad days," but is replaced with a more optimistic view on our "good days. " I hold the sense of the statement to be true in general, but not with regard to scientists never reading each other's work. Even if that were true however, the present essay. would still have been written as a proof of earnestness. This essay outlines my personal view of how nonlinear mathematics may be of value in formulating models outside the physical sciences. This perspective has developed over a number of years during which time I have repeatedly been amazed at how an "accepted" model would fail to faithfully characterize the full range of avail­ able data because of its implicit or explicit dependence on linear concepts. This essay is intended to demonstrate how linear ideas have come to dominate and therefore limit a scientist's ability to understand any given class of phenomena.


clustering linear regression mathematics population

Authors and affiliations

  • Bruce J. West
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Studies of Nonlinear DynamicsLa Jolla InstituteLa JollaUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1985
  • Publisher Name Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-3-540-16038-0
  • Online ISBN 978-3-642-93306-6
  • Series Print ISSN 0341-633X
  • Buy this book on publisher's site