Why do women stabilize our societies? Why can we enjoy and understand Shakespeare? Why are fruitflies uniform? Why do omnivorous eating habits aid our survival? Why is Mona Lisa's smile beautiful? This book shows that the statement "weak links stabilize complex systems" holds the answers to all these surprising questions, and many more. The author, a recipient of several distinguished science communication prizes, explains weak or low probability interactions, and uses them as connecting threads in a vast variety of networks from proteins to ecosystems. This unique book and the ideas it develops will have a significant impact on diverse, seemingly unrelated fields of study.
Introduction: How the Links Were Formed.- A Principle is Born: The Granovetter-Study.- Why do we Like Networks?.- Network Stability.- Weak Links as Stabilizers of Complex Systems.- Atoms, Molecules, Macromolecules.- Weak Links and Cellular Stability.- Weak Links and the Stability of Organisms.- Social Nets.- Networks of Human Culture.- The Global-Web.- The Eco-Web.- Conclusions and Perspectives.
Peter Csermely (50) is a professor at the Semmelweis University in Budapest. A former Fogarty Fellow at Harvard University, his main fields of study are molecular chaperones and networks. In 1996 Dr. Csermely launched a highly successful initiative providing research opportunities for more than 10,000 gifted high school students. He also established the Hungarian National Talent Support Council and the Network of Youth Excellence, www.nyex.info, promoting similar activities in 33 countries. He has published 11 books and more than 200 research papers. Dr. Csermely holds several distinguished appointments including membership of the Wise Persons' Council of the Hungarian President, vice-president of the Hungarian Biochemical Society and has been recipient of numerous international fellowships and awards, for example the 2003 Science Communication Award of the European Molecular Biology Organization and the 2004 Descartes Award of the European Union for Science Communication.
Opinions "This is an excellent book, which shows the far-reaching consequences of the great variety of weak links. The book has a proper balance between a scientific monograph and a popular approach, and mixes humor with sharp intellect. "Weak Links" is an adventurous, entertainingly eclectic and rich work both for the experts and laymen." (Laszlo-Albert Barabasi, Department of Physics, University of Notre Dame, author of the bestseller book, Linked and the 1999 seminal Science paper on the preferential attachment model of scale-free network topology.) "You have written a very personal, engaging, and unique book that will appeal to readers and get them thinking." (Steve Strogatz, Dept. of Theoretical and Applied Mathematics, Cornell University, author of Sync and the 1998 seminal Nature paper on small worlds.) "You have done a great service by making the world of networks understandable and clear. I will use your book in my classes." (Caroline S. Wagner, Center of International Science & Technology Policy, George Washington University, author of several science policy-related books including the an upcoming work on the international collaboration in science) "This book links an exceptionally large number of areas and gives exciting novel information to both the network experts and the science-orinted general readership." (Tamas Vicsek, Dept. Biological Physics, Eotvos University, author of several network-related Nature papers including a method to determine overlapping network modules) "This masterpiece should serve as an example how science can be discussed. Entertaining yet thought provoking." (Gyorgy Buzsaki, Board of Governors Professor, Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Rutgers University, a leading expert of neuronal networks) "You have written a true gem of a book; erudite, humane, funny, accessible and thoroughly fascinating. On every page, I find another delight that makes me smile and leads me down new intellectual paths (weak links again!). Thanks to your thorough footnotes, I can delve as deep as I would like into the professional papers. Outstanding - I wish more books were written this way. I have adopted your book as a textbook for my Science of Networks class, and I will recommend it to anyone who ask without hesitation. You did a great service to pedagogy and to this budding science with this magisterial survey. I really appreciate it and my students will, as well." (Daniel J. Bilar, Computer Science Department, Wellesley College MA, USA) Aus den Rezensionen: "! eine Buchreihe ... Begrundet und redaktionell betreut von Physikerin Angela Lahee, hat sie das Ziel, den Lesern eine Erweiterung und Reflexion der eigenen Wissensgrenzen zu ermoglichen. ! Eine hochinteressante transdisziplinare Analyse komplexer Systeme ! Ungewohnlich fur ein Wissenschaftsbuch ! zu der gut verstandlichen, ja unterhaltsamen Darstellung passend, sind die vielen h