The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory / Edition 2

The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory / Edition 2

4.2 219
by Brian Greene

ISBN-10: 039333810X

ISBN-13: 9780393338102

Pub. Date: 10/11/2010

Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.

String theory, many physicists believe, is the key to the unified field theory that eluded Einstein for more than thirty years. At last, science has found a way to overcome the nearly century-old rift between the laws of the large - general relativity - and the laws of the small - quantum mechanics. String theory deftly unites these two pillars of modern physics into…  See more details below


String theory, many physicists believe, is the key to the unified field theory that eluded Einstein for more than thirty years. At last, science has found a way to overcome the nearly century-old rift between the laws of the large - general relativity - and the laws of the small - quantum mechanics. String theory deftly unites these two pillars of modern physics into a single, harmonious whole by declaring that all of the wondrous happenings in the universe arise from the vibrations of one single entity: microscopically tiny loops of energy that lie deep within the heart of matter.

In this articulated and clear book, Brian Greene relates the scientific story and the human struggle behind the search for the ultimate theory. Through the artful use of metaphor and analogy, The Elegant Universe makes some of the most sophisticated concepts ever contemplated viscerally accessible and thoroughly entertaining, bringing us closer than ever to understanding how the universe works.

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Product Details

Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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5.80(w) x 10.20(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

2003 Preface
Pt. IThe Edge of Knowledge
1Tied Up with String3
Pt. IIThe Dilemma of Space, Time, and the Quanta
2Space, Time, and the Eye of the Beholder23
3Of Warps and Ripples53
4Microscopic Weirdness85
5The Need for a New Theory: General Relativity vs. Quantum Mechanics117
Pt. IIIThe Cosmic Symphony
6Nothing but Music: The Essentials of Superstring Theory135
7The "Super" in Superstrings166
8More Dimensions Than Meet the Eye184
9The Smoking Gun: Experimental Signatures210
Pt. IVString Theory and the Fabric of Spacetime
10Quantum Geometry231
11Tearing the Fabric of Space263
12Beyond Strings: In Search of M-Theory283
13Black Holes: A String/M-Theory Perspective320
14Reflections on Cosmology345
Pt. VUnification in the Twenty-First Century
Glossary of Scientific Terms413
References and Suggestions for Further Reading427

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Elegant Universe 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 218 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good for anyone who's interested in the field but does not have formal training in Mathmatics and / or Physics. If you find yourself on the discovery channel alot or the Science channel, this book is for you
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Physicist and author, Brian Greene, discusses old and new insights in physics. Exploring spacetime, relativity, quantum mechanics, superstring theory and M-theory, among other topics, Greene attempts to illustrate what seems thus far to comprise the workings of the universe. Elegant Universe is an interesting enough read which nonetheless will not engage everyone and will leave many wondering. Because while the language and analogies are understandable even for those who are not mathematicians or scientists, the theories presented may be difficult to comprehend. Also, the book is probably more appealing to those who constantly ponder the micro- and macro- scopic universe or are concerned with the discovery of a T.O.E. (Theory of Everything) than to those looking for more tangible consequences of the micro- and macro-scopic on their immediate physical existences.
samschmidt More than 1 year ago
Above all, this book has really helped me visualize theories that I had never really been able to understand before. This book goes through Einstein's theories about relativity and the theory of quantum physics comprehensively and creatively. Author Greene uses intriguing analogies and theoretical characters in order to explain why space must be curved, among other physics humdingers. For those of us who were always interested but could never get through heavy, scientific snore books, this book is a godsend. It deals with its subject matter intelligently, compellingly, and with a great deal of literary merit, which is all together too rare in science texts. Science and literature are not mutually exclusive, and this book proves it. I'm so glad that I took the time to read this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene, a professor at Columbia University, examines contemporary physics, it's origins, conflicts, and future topics of studies, all in very readable laymans terms. As Greene reveals in his book, scientists for a long time have ignored the conflicts between relativity and quantum mechanics and merely assumed that each set of mechanics would be used in their own respective worlds. However the development of String Theory has offered a unique chance for unification of the two sets of theories. Greene explores the origins of String Theory and it's meanings in very worldly analogies. Although Brian Greene does a good job of explaining the theories he does not go into detail about the full implications or modern applications the theory could have for society. Despite this it serves its purpose as an introduction into the otherwise intangible world of physics and is very readable for all audiences.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Finally! A book that doesn't assume we're all scholars coming right out of Harvard! I'm still reading this book, but so far I have to give it 5 stars because of how little it expects of it's readers. It is theoretical physics, so of course it expects that we have some background knowledge (be family with the subatomic particles, know basic ideas pertaining to general relativity, etc.), but the ratio of what it has to offer to what it expects is so distinct! If you have any curiosity in string theory, or for that matter physics, definitely pick up this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brian Greene makes the worlds most bizzare concepts easy to understand.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Words cannot describe how impressed I was with this book. It was downright brilliant to say the least. Brian Greene begins this magnificent journey with detailed descriptions of both relativity and quantum mechanics, and then goes on to explain the mathematical conflicts between these two theories and how they can be resolved using string theory. Professor Greene has a marvelous talent for taking difficult concepts and transforming them into something that absolutely anyone can understand. After reading this book, I am now more familiar with both relativity, quantum mechanics, and string theory, which were concepts that I previously knew very little about. Professor Greene not only writes about the unification of quantum mechanics and relativity through string theory, but many other fascinating concepts as well. He talks about the possibility of extra dimensions of space, black holes, the big bang and the tearing of space, while tying it all into string theory. Reading this book was an amazing experience, and was even emotional at times. I commend Professor Greene for taking the beautiful glories of the universe, and displaying them for the world to see. Professor Greene, if you ever happen to be reading this, I want you to know that you should be VERY proud of this book. Even if string theory turns out to be incorrect, this book will still be a magnificent achievement. It would not be extreme to assert that everyone on Earth should read The Elegant Universe. The Elegant Universe was truly an amazing voyage through space, time, and the awesomeness of our spectacular universe.
AJSTX More than 1 year ago
This is an incredibly easy read for non-physicists who are trying to understand the complexities of Einstein's theory of relativity and Newton's theory of gravity. Using simple examples to illustrate the issues of these theories, Bruce Greene explains why there is conflict between these two and why the string theory is a wonderful solution for the unified theory of the universe. For non-physicists like myself, who has difficulty understanding the simplest ideas in physics, this was a wonderful book that helped me gain understanding into issues such as why gravity bends light, what relativity is all about, and what is the string theory and why it's a good solution for the unified theory. To understand these complex issues in physics was a major miracle for me. If anybody is looking to comprehend these issues as well and wants an easy read with comprehension of these difficult issues, I highly recommend this book. Even Stephen Hawking's book, which I considered another great read because of its easy, simple language and examples, I doubt could have done as well as Brian Greene explaining the string theory. Again I cannot say enough about this book and how easy it was for me to grasp the concepts and the complexities of physics.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very well written. A good introduction to String Theory. Should be followed with "The Hidden Reality" also by Brian Green.
Derek Buchman More than 1 year ago
Incredibly interesting and informative. I definitely recommend reading this if you have even a remote interest in the subject.
Sanjay Gupta More than 1 year ago
Love the progression of the book marching through relativity,quantum mechanics, 5 string theories and the revelations of string theory to the unifying M-theory. Makes me want to explore even more. Wish there was some progression of recommended reading. As a layperson understand string theory a bit better but there is so much more to know.
ScarlettJP More than 1 year ago
For any non math major who wants to understand 20th century discovery in physics and cosmology...Brian Greene is an excellent teacher, and explains his subject clearly with respect for the intellectual curiosity of his reader.You won't be bored, and you will be stunned by the beauty of what is known&the mystery of what is yet to be uncovered..I found it to be compelling.....ScarlettJP
random_skeptic More than 1 year ago
Brian Greene has done a wonderful job introducing string theory to the layman and laywoman. He starts off by giving good background information about quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity. He then goes on to lay out the framework for string theory in a very understandable way. There were times in the book when the information got a little heavy, but Greene always warns you before hand and clarifies his points later. I now have a fuller understanding of string theory and a better appreciation of how this theory could truly change our view of the universe. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Science and/or Phyics.
MsTabetha More than 1 year ago
Although the jargon used in this book can get a little technical, Greene delivers it in such a way as to be easily understood even by the most amateur of stargazers. During technical points in the book, Greene presents the information through real-life examples and funny "what-if" stories. Numerous times throughout this book I found myself laughing out loud one minute, then putting the book down to further think about a theory that was explained. I definitely recommend this book to someone who is curious about the world in which we live, but might not have a solid background in physics or science. I also recommend it to professional physicists, astronomers and scientists who are looking for a refreshing break from the dull, technical reference materials that they are encountered with on a day to day basis.
Violet_Adams More than 1 year ago
Easy to read and understand. There is no longer any excuse to dropping acid when you can read Brian Greene and allow him to expand your mind.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I really like books that will entertain and challenge me at the same time. Awesome book, one of my all time favorites. I wouldn't suggest it to anyone without an interest in deep physics and mathematics.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was outstanding. I had to re-read some of the sections but only because of how complicated some of these concepts are. Brian Greene does an excellent job explaining these 'out of this world' concepts. I have yet to come across a book that made me feel so powerful yet so minuscule at the same time. You will never look at the world in the same way again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The sun doesn't revolve around the earth as we once thought, and our egoic selves may today still be stuck thinking that old way, relying on our ego-derived thoughts to convince ourselves that the universe we're in is the center of all size and time in existence. Perhaps size is the key to determining everything in existence and is directly related to time. Regarding small objects: let's say that there are items so small that they are humanly-and-machine-immeasureable, and that each of these objects contain an infinite number of next-smaller universes wherein, to life in each progressively smaller universe, time runs unmeasurably more slowly than in the next universe larger... Are there progressively smaller universes that exist within a human fingernail, for example, whereby the smaller each universe is than the next, the more slowly time -to life within that universe - passes? On the large scale, in our universe, the deeper into space that objects exist, the more they move apart at increasing speed. Are objects and time in our universe's most distant space speeding up to where they are connecting with, and shifting into the next larger universe - in which time passes immeasurably more quickly vs. ours due to its immeasureably greater size? Do an infinite number of progressively smaller universes exist in each of our fingernails - whereby each universe down is size-unmeasurable by life in all larger universes? All universes no doubt include life, or at least the eventuality of having life, because without life, there would be no reason for a universe to exist. Maybe we're not the center of existence after all, and we live both immeasurably tiny within the nucleus of an atom of shell in a turtle's back, while at the same time being immeasurably large compared to an infinite number of progressively smaller universes that exist in each person's fingernails.
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Not a quick page turner but very interesting read.
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