In a rare blend of scientific insight and writing as elegant as the theories it explains, Brian Greene, one of the world's leading string theorists, peels away the layers of mystery surrounding string theory to reveal a universe that consists of eleven dimensions where all matter is generated by the vibrations of microscopically tiny loops of ...
In a rare blend of scientific insight and writing as elegant as the theories it explains, Brian Greene, one of the world's leading string theorists, peels away the layers of mystery surrounding string theory to reveal a universe that consists of eleven dimensions where all matter is generated by the vibrations of microscopically tiny loops of energy. Greene uses everything from an amusement park ride to ants on a garden hose to explain the beautiful yet bizarre realities that modern physics is unveiling. Dazzling in its brilliance, unprecedented in its ability to both illuminate and entertain, The Elegant Universe is a tour de force of scientific writing - a delightful, lucid voyage through modern physics that brings us closer to understanding how the universe works.
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The book begins with a discussion and review of basic general relativity and quantum mechanics, which sets up one of the central problems of theoretical physics today: finding a theory that incorporates both quantum mechanics and relativity, since the two theories, as presently constituted, cannot both be completely accurate. Greene then proceeds to make the case for string theory, which many physicists today believe may be the answer the this problem. The book is written with colorful analogies and simple terms that anyone can understand. All of this being said, the book does relate to theoretical physics. If you are looking for a book that will explain in detail those theories, such as general relativity, which we "know" to be true, this is not the book for you. I very much enjoyed it, though, and anyone interested in the latest theories will as well.
Aug 23, 2007
Insightful to strings, but, it may be all wrong
This serves as a very good introduction to the inner workings of string theory, and its development and growth. However as the string theory is -as of writing- incomplete, and this book covers a lot of topics that may or may not be incorporated into the final theory. As I read this, I had to change my perception of this book from one that would help me describe string theory to my friends. This book serves more as a guide of current physicists thoughts into this area, and where physicists speculate the next breakthrough will be. We have seen other major theories undergo such substantial development through history, Newtonion mechanics, Relativity, QED and others. This is a book about another theory to join the list, its just not finished yet. We look foreward to the future developments in this subject, however, it may all be wrong.
May 3, 2007
A tough read
I expected this book to require concentration and a pencil. After all I am an electrical engineer and that is how I read my physics books, and most technical books and magazine articles. This book was not for the technically inclined but for the technically interested. And for a few chapters, it was a nice review and a new viewpoint to some topics. Once we slid into the main topic (superstring theory), I had difficulty believing that this was a good use of anyone's time, especially mine. Finishing this book was like house to house combat, only once we secured the town, I found there was nothing gained. I am glad I did it, but I wouldn't do it again. I don't recommend this book.
Publishers Weekly, 1999-01-11 One of the more compelling scientific (cum-theological) questions in the Middle Ages was: "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" Today's version in cutting-edge science is, "How many strings... ?" As posited by s tring theory physics, strings are furiously vibrating loops of stuff. The concept of strings was devised to help scientists describe simultaneously both energy and matter. The frequency and resonance of strings' vibration, just like those of strings on an instrument, determine charge, spin and other familiar properties of energyŠand eventually the structure of the universe: a true music of the spheres. There's a chance that strings are themselves made up of something still smaller. But scientists can prove their existence only on the blackboard and computer, because they are much too tinyŠa hundred billion billion times smaller than the nucleus of an atomŠto be observed experimentally. Brian Greene, professor of physics and mathematics at Cornell and Columbia universities, makes the terribly complex theory of strings accessible to all. He possesses a remarkable gift for using the everyday to illustrate what may be going on in dimensions beyond our feeble human perception. Just when we might be tempted to dismiss strings as grist for the publish-or-perish mill, Greene explains how they have demonstrated connections between mathematics and physics that have helped solve age-old conundrums in each field. This book will appeal to astronomy as well as math and physics fans because it probes the important insights string theory gives into hotly debated issues in cosmology. Later chapters require careful attention to Greene's explications, but the effort will prepare readers to follow the scientific advances likely to be made in the next millennium through application of string theory. Author tour. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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