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Publishers Weekly, 2011-03-14 It's apparently the unofficial year of the multiverse, with books arriving from every direction. While Barrow's is far from unique, it is both entertaining and accessible, revealing the amazing possible worlds described by cosmology theory. Barrow reviews how Einstein's relativity theory gave physicists a new kind of mathematics that led to notions of an expanding universe, an oscillating universe that repeatedly expands and shrinks over billions of years, and the big bang theory of the universe's origins. Barrow then moves into newer, less familiar territory, explaining the many other possibilities that mathematics offers: universes without matter, universes where the laws of physics change with location, and irregular "swiss cheese" universes riddled with pockets of nothingness. But Barrow's just getting started. "M theory," the closest we have to a "Theory of Everything," gives us multiverses, universes within universes, continually "budding" off into normal as well as oddball "fringe" universes: those that wrap around, collide, replicate themselves, and change the speed of light. Barrow takes readers through much the same material as other books on the subject, such as Brian Greene's bestselling The Hidden Reality did, but he makes the trip a good deal of fun. 112 illus. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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