Customer Reviews for

The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2005

    I never though my dream book existed!

    For all of you who have read books like 'The Elegant Universe' or 'The Universe in a Nutshell', but strive to learn the math, this is without a doubt the book you have been looking for. For all of you who however don't care about math, or just despise it, there's a lot this book has, but you will be skipping a few pages. More than just the math (which I thoroughly enjoyed), Penrose has great philosophy and arguements throughout the whole book. He opens up with his arguement that mathematics is more than just a mental creation, to his consistent arguements for or against modern physical ideas. I have to say that the best part of this book is that it shows that you can't describe the workings of the universe in just a few hundred pages. This guy (through 8 years of work) pulls out more than 1000 pages, which do not include a single dull moment. So for any of you who have had any curiosity about modern science and the way the universe works, I highly suggest you buy this book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2005

    A panorama of science.

    It¿s a delicate balance for book: Encyclopedic vs well focused on a unifying theme! Penrose succeeds admirably. It¿s not boring! Books like this are few and far between. Indeed, there are preciously few authors who manage to successfully guide beginning students into serious scientific topics; and even fewer who can see the big picture, and do it all. And then keeping our attention through more than 1000 pages! Penrose¿s book is inspiring, informative, exciting; and at the same time it¿s honest about what math and physics are. It is modest when modesty is called for. You are not cheated. You do get the equations (not just hand waving!), but you are gently prepared in advance, so you will want the mathematical formulae. Penrose¿s book is likely to help high school students getting started in science; and to inspire and inform us all. There is something for everyone: for the beginning student in math or in physics, for the educated layman/woman (perhaps the students¿ parents), for graduate students, for teachers, for scientists, for researchers; and the list goes on. It is one of the very few books of this scope that is not intimidating. Not in the least! I can¿t begin to do justice to this terrific book. Get it, and judge for yourself. I will also not give away the ending, other than saying that the title of the book is a good hint. And you will be able to form your own take, and your own ideas on the conclusion. Like with all good and subtle endings, they can be understood and appreciated at several levels. I came across Penrose¿s book in my bookstore by accident, and I was at first apprehensive: The more than 1000 pages, and the 3.3 pounds are enough to intimidate anyone. But when I started to read, I found myself unable to put it down. And I didn¿t: Bought it; and I had several days of enjoyable reading. I am not likely to put it away to collect dust either. It is the kind of book you will want to keep using, and to return to. It will not surprise that one of Penrose¿s unifying themes is the compelling and pleasing geometric images that underlie both the mathematics (roughly one third of the book: modern geometry, Riemann surfaces, complex functions, Fourier analysis, visions of infinity), and the physics: Cosmology (the big bang, black holes), gravity, thermodynamics, relativity (classical and modern: loop quantum gravity, twisters), and quantum theory (wave-particle duality, atomic spectra, coherence, measurements). The pictures: In fact, this semester, I was just teaching a graduate course, and I had a hard time presenting of Riemann surfaces in an attractive way. It¿s a subject that typically comes across as intimidating in many of the classical books: Take Herman Weyl¿s book, for example. I also found it refreshing to see that Roger Penrose gave the many illustrations his own personal and artistic touch; as opposed to having flashy pictures generated by the latest in color-graphics and special effects. I think readers will relate better to Penrose¿s own illustrations: They isolate and highlight the core ideas and they are not intimidating: We sense that we ourselves would have been able to make similar pencil sketches. Or at least we are encouraged to try! The common theme in the pictures serves to bring to life the underlying and fundamental ideas;--- another attractive feature of the book! It is otherwise easy to get lost in some of the equations, and in the encyclopedic panorama of topics. Review by Palle Jorgensen, February 2005.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2005

    Wonderful narative while not dumbing down the subject

    Just amazing writing -- clear, well thought out regarding how to relate his ideas to the reader -- almost poetic in the flow of writing. The details of the math are rigorous at times, but of any book I've read, the concepts are just so clear. One can easily skip the math and get so much out of this book due to the depth of the narative. Penrose's having dedicated 8 years to this writing shows. Absolutely 5 stars. Roger Tribble

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2005

    For the serious physics person

    I say person because this book is definately of value to layman like me and most likely of value to the more advanced too. As physics progresses it is discussed more and more in terms of very advanced mathematics. Wonder what all the math means? Well here it is. The problem, of course, is the conundrum of whether math is discovered or invented. Mathematicians like Penrose would no doubt say it is discovered and he has dedicated his math abilities to discovering it in physical reality. Physicists would say it is invented to model physical reality and they tend not to have too much respect for rigor that is applicable elsewhere. I understand Penrose is losing some respect in the physics community in this reguard. Never the less this book appears to stay in the bounds of where math has been proven to be of value in physics. I find it so complete that it will probably get a couple of Feynman type rereads to make sure I have everything down pat. As a final word: just as I was taught in my engineering classes that the Bohr model of the atom was obsolete and I should be learning quantum physics instead, I should have also learned complex analysis to cover more than R*3. Well, here it is.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2014

    This is a super good book. The only negative thing about it is t

    This is a super good book. The only negative thing about it is that it is only on paper. In my opinion, it is the best math book ever!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2005

    Math is good but not enough

    This book paves a road to reality, which is much deeper than what modern mathematics can appreciate. Math cannot answer how the laws of nature are created. It only describes phenomena as they appear in our minds. Math is how we describe nature at different scales ¿ Euclidean geometry, relativity and quantum theory. A physical approach is required to reveal the structure of reality and to show how it appears in our minds.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2005

    Essential book about the incomplete picture of reality

    Roger Penrose presents a vast panorama of modern knowledge. He starts with the mathematical instruments that cast light on the road to the elusive physical reality. These instruments allow appearance of singularities, which make the current understanding of the universe incomplete. We cannot know for sure what was the universe before the big bang and how it will evolve. These questions find amazingly elegant answers in the book Theory of Interaction by Eugene Savov, where space experiments are considered and afterwards equations are drawn. I highly recommend these two basic books to everyone who is interested in the creation and the unfolding of the universe and in the application of mathematics to these great mysteries.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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