Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Teetering towards chaos and complexity

The closest that most chemists get to the concepts of nonlinearity and emergent properties is a passing acquaintance with a well-known oscillating reaction. Bruce C. Gibb suggests that looking a little deeper into chaos and complexity could help us to answer some very important questions.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. Bar-Yam, Y. Dynamics of Complex Systems (Westview, 1997).

    Google Scholar 

  2. Gleik, J. Chaos: Making a New Science (Penguin, 2008).

    Google Scholar 

  3. Epstein, I. R. & Showalter, K. J. Phys. Chem. 100, 13132–13147 (1996).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Zaikin, A. N. & Zhabotinsky, A. M. Nature 225, 535–537 (1970).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Nicolis, G. & Prigogine, I. Exploring Complexity (Freeman, 1989).

    Google Scholar 

  6. Lorenz, E. J. Atmos. Sci. 20, 130–141 (1963).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Kay, E. R., Leigh, D. A. & Zerbetto, F. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 46, 72–191 (2007).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Scott, S. K. Oscillations, Waves, and Chaos in Chemical Kinetics 44 (Oxford Univ. Press, 1994).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Gibb, B. Teetering towards chaos and complexity. Nature Chem 1, 17–18 (2009).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing