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

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Overview

The international bestseller that inspired a major Nova special and sparked a new understanding of the universe, now with a new preface and epilogue.
Brian Greene, one of the world's leading string theorists, peels away layers of mystery to reveal a universe that consists of eleven dimensions, where the fabric of space tears and repairs itself, and all matter—from the smallest quarks to the most gargantuan supernovas—is generated by the vibrations of microscopically tiny loops ...

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

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Overview

The international bestseller that inspired a major Nova special and sparked a new understanding of the universe, now with a new preface and epilogue.
Brian Greene, one of the world's leading string theorists, peels away layers of mystery to reveal a universe that consists of eleven dimensions, where the fabric of space tears and repairs itself, and all matter—from the smallest quarks to the most gargantuan supernovas—is generated by the vibrations of microscopically tiny loops of energy. The Elegant Universe makes some of the most sophisticated concepts ever contemplated accessible and thoroughly entertaining, bringing us closer than ever to understanding how the universe works.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Take a mind-blowing new theory in physics presented by a charismatic scientist and you've got the recipe for a bestselling science book. In this excellent introduction to string theory (in its simplest form, the theory describes the ultimate matter of the universe as being more like vibrating strings than points of matter), Greene explains clearly its potential to alter our understanding of the universe -- perhaps revealing, for example, the existence of hidden extraspatial dimensions.
New York
“Compulsively readable. . . . Greene threatens to do for string theory what Stephen Hawking did for black holes.”
George Johnson - The New York Times Book Review
“Sets a standard that will be hard to beat.”
The New York Times Book Review - George Johnson
“Sets a standard that will be hard to beat.”
New York
“Compulsively readable. . . . Greene threatens to do for string theory what Stephen Hawking did for black holes.”
Los Angeles Times
“As rewarding as it gets . . . a thrilling ride through a lovely landscape.”
The New York Times Book Review
Sets a standard that will be hard to beat.— George Johnson
George Johnson
Greene...explor[es] the ideas and recent developments with a depth and clarity I wouldn't have thought possible. He has a rare ability to explain even the most evanescent ideas in a way that gives at least the illusion of understnding.He developes one fresh new insight after another....In the great tradition of physicists writing for the masses, The Elegant Universe sets a standard that will be hard to beat.
The New York Times Book Review
New York Magazine
Compulsively readable. Greene threatens to do for string theory what Steven Hawking did for black holes.
LA Times Book Review
A thrilling ride through a lovely landscape....As rewarding as it gets...A compelling human saga.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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 energy — and 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 tiny — a hundred billion billion times smaller than the nucleus of an atom — to 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.
Library Journal
These days, physicists are bubbling over with talk of strings--tiny, vibrating loops of matter, seen as the building blocks of nature, that may serve to unite the divergent theories of quantum mechanics and relativity. For the rest of us, wunderkind Columbia professor Greene provides just the sort of nervy, imaginative metaphors that make understanding snap into place. LJ 2/15/99 Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Greene, originator of groundbreaking discoveries in superstring theory, describes exciting new research in the field and discusses implications for the future of science. Using plain language with no math or technical jargon, he tells how superstring theory identifies nature's fundamental building blocks, which turn out to be, not subatomic particles, but vibrating strands whose vibrational patterns account for all of nature's forces. He combines everyday examples, b&w diagrams, and a sense of fun to illustrate complicated concepts. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Chris Quigg
Beautifully told...The Elegant Universe presents the ideas and aspirations — and some of the characters — of string theory with clarity and charm...a thoughtful and important book.
Scientific American
Ellis
...I can only say that Greene's book is an explanatory tour-de-force...It would be hard to imagine anyone producing a clearer account than this of the difficult ideas involved, and Greene even brings out something of the actual excitement of scientific discovery...
The London Review of Books
Kirkus Reviews
Superstring theory may provide the long-sought unification of physics for which Einstein sought in vain. Here is a look at the current state of the quest. Greene (a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia and Cornell) begins by pointing out the central problem of modern physics. Quantum mechanics and general relativity both work perfectly, and they cannot both be right. Relativity works for large, massive objects; quantum theory for tiny ones. Normally, the two realms can be kept separate. Yet increasingly, physics deals with phenomena such as black holes, where the conflicts are impossible to avoid. Out of the search for a more complete explanation came string theory. Its foundations were laid down some 30 years ago by Gabriele Venizano, who found that a two-century-old formula by Leonard Euler described subatomic particles more elegantly than existing theory. The relationships would make sense if elementary particles were not pointlike, but elongated and vibrating, like tiny musical strings-in one sense, a modern version of the ancient metaphor of the music of the spheres. It took a while for physicists to embrace string theory; for one thing, it seemed to predict things nobody had ever seen. And despite its formidable explanatory power, its mathematical expressions were often even more formidable-Greene describes some of the equations as nearly impossible to understand, let alone solve. Still, it has the right look about it, and two waves of enthusiasm (one in the mid-1980s, the other ten years later) have convinced many physicists of the theory's probable validity. Greene deftly summarizes these findings, in areas from subatomic-particle theory to cosmology, with occasionalforays into deeper waters such as the ten-dimensional structure of the universe, with several dimensions folded undetectably back into themselves. A final chapter forecasts that string theory will become the standard physical model in the next century. Entertaining and well-written-possibly the clearest popular treatment to date of this complex subject.
Washington Post Book World
Greene does an admirable job of translating a wholly mathematical endeavor into visual terms. Throughout his work, he writes with poetic eloquence and style.— Marcia Bartusiak
Michio Kaku
“[A] delightful, lucid introduction to the greatest problem in all of physics, the quest to unify all the laws of nature. Greene does a masterful job in presenting complex materials in a lively, engaging manner. Highly recommended to anyone who has ever gazed at the heavens and wondered, as Einstein did, if God had a choice in making the universe.”
Edward Witten
“Everyone who is curious about the horizons of theoretical physics—past, present, and future—will enjoy this book.”
David M. Lee
“[A] beautifully crafted account of string theory—a theory that appears to be a most promising waystation on the road to an ultimate theory of everything. His book gives a clear, simple, yet masterful account that makes a complex theory very accessible to nonscientists but is also a delightful; read for the professional.”
Shing-Tung Yau
“[A] tour-de-force of science writing. Perhaps more than any other popular-level account, this book peels away layers of detail and reveals the stunning essence of cutting-edge physics. With a rare blend of scientific integrity and literary flair, the author takes us on a whirlwind journey to the forefront of the search for the ultimate theory of the universe.”
George Johnson - New York Times Book Review
“Greene goes beyond Kaku's book [Beyond Einstein], exploring the ideas and recent developments with a depth and clarity I wouldn't have thought possible. Like Simon Singh in "Fermat's Enigma," he has a rare ability to explain even the most evanescent ideas in a way that gives at least the illusion of understanding....Rather than recycling the tired old set pieces science writers too often fall back upon, he develops one fresh new insight after another....In the great tradition of physicists writing for the masses, The Elegant Universe sets a standard that will be hard to beat.”
Marcia Bartusiak - Washington Post Book World
“Greene does an admirable job of translating a wholly mathematical endeavor into visual terms. Throughout his work, he writes with poetic eloquence and style.”
New York Times Book Review
Greene goes beyond Kaku's book [Beyond Einstein], exploring the ideas and recent developments with a depth and clarity I wouldn't have thought possible. Like Simon Singh in "Fermat's Enigma," he has a rare ability to explain even the most evanescent ideas in a way that gives at least the illusion of understanding....Rather than recycling the tired old set pieces science writers too often fall back upon, he develops one fresh new insight after another....In the great tradition of physicists writing for the masses, The Elegant Universe sets a standard that will be hard to beat.— George Johnson
American Scientist
“.Do you lie awake a night wondering about superstrings, hidden dimensions and the quest for an ultimate theory of the universe? If so, you should browse Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe...[A] well-written account—without equations—from the forefront of cosmology and physics.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393338102
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/11/2010
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 63,192
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Brian Greene

Brian Greene received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his doctorate from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes scholar. He is a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University and lives in New York City.

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Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from Chapter 1: Tied Up with String

Calling it a cover-up would be far too dramatic. But for more than half a century -- even in the midst of some of the greatest scientific achievements in history -- physicists have been quietly aware of a dark cloud looming on a distant horizon. The problem is this: There are two foundational pillars upon which modern physics rests. One is Albert Einstein's general relativity, which provides a theoretical framework for understanding the universe on the largest of scales: stars, galaxies, clusters of galaxies, and beyond to the immense expanse of the universe itself. The other is quantum mechanics, which provides a theoretical framework for understanding the universe on the smallest of scales: molecules, atoms, and all the way down to subatomic particles like electrons and quarks. Through years of research, physicists have experimentally confirmed to almost unimaginable accuracy virtually all predictions made by each of these theories. But these same theoretical tools inexorably lead to another disturbing conclusion: As they are currently formulated, general relativity and quantum mechanics cannot both be right. The two theories underlying the tremendous progress of physics during the last hundred years -- progress that has explained the expansion of the heavens and the fundamental structure of matter -- are mutually incompatible.

If you have not heard previously about this ferocious antagonism you may be wondering why. The answer is not hard to come by. In all but the most extreme situations, physicists study things that are either small and light like atoms and their constituents or things that are huge and heavy like stars and galaxies, but not both. This means that they need use only quantum mechanics or only general relativity and can, with a furtive glance, shrug off the barking admonition of the other. For fifty years this approach has not been quite as blissful as ignorance, but it has been pretty close.

But the universe can be extreme. In the central depths of a black hole an enormous mass is crushed to a minuscule size. At the moment of the big bang the whole of the universe erupted from a microscopic nugget whose size makes a grain of sand look colossal. These are realms that are tiny and yet incredibly massive, therefore requiring that both quantum mechanics and general relativity simultaneously be brought to bear. For reasons that will become increasingly clear as we proceed, the equations of general relativity and quantum mechanics, when combined, begin to shake, rattle, and gush with steam like a red-lined automobile. Put less figuratively, well-posed physical questions elicit nonsensical answers from the unhappy amalgam of these two theories. Even if you are willing to keep the deep interior of a black hole and the beginning of the universe shrouded in mystery, you can't help feeling that the hostility between quantum mechanics and general relativity cries out for a deeper level of understanding. Can it really be that the universe at its most fundamental level is divided, requiring one set of laws when things are large and a different, incompatible set when things are small?

Superstring theory, a young upstart compared with the venerable edifices of quantum mechanics and general relativity, answers with a resounding no. Intense research over the past decade by physicists and mathematicians around the world has revealed that this new approach to describing matter at its most fundamental level resolves the tension between general relativity and quantum mechanics. In fact, superstring theory shows more: Within this new framework, general relativity and quantum mechanics require one another for the theory to make sense. According to superstring theory, the marriage of the laws of the large and the small is not only happy but inevitable.

That's part of the good news. But superstring theory -- string theory, for short -- takes this union one giant step further. For three decades, Einstein sought a unified theory of physics, one that would interweave all of nature's forces and material constituents within a single theoretical tapestry. He failed. Now, at the dawn of the new millennium, proponents of string theory claim that the threads of this elusive unified tapestry finally have been revealed. String theory has the potential to show that all of the wondrous happenings in the universe -- from the frantic dance of subatomic quarks to the stately waltz of orbiting binary stars, from the primordial fireball of the big bang to the majestic swirl of heavenly galaxies -- are reflections of one grand physical principle, one master equation.

Because these features of string theory require that we drastically change our understanding of space, time, and matter, they will take some time to get used to, to sink in at a comfortable level. But as shall become clear, when seen in its proper context, string theory emerges as a dramatic yet natural outgrowth of the revolutionary discoveries of physics during the past hundred years. In fact, we shall see that the conflict between general relativity and quantum mechanics is actually not the first, but the third in a sequence of pivotal conflicts encountered during the past century, each of whose resolution has resulted in a stunning revision of our understanding of the universe.

The Three Conflicts

The first conflict, recognized as far back as the late 1800s, concerns puzzling properties of the motion of light. Briefly put, according to Isaac Newton's laws of motion, if you run fast enough you can catch up with a departing beam of light, whereas according to James Clerk Maxwell's laws of electromagnetism, you can't. As we will discuss in Chapter 2, Einstein resolved this conflict through his theory of special relativity, and in so doing completely overturned our understanding of space and time. According to special relativity, no longer can space and time be thought of as universal concepts set in stone, experienced identically by everyone. Rather, space and time emerged from Einstein's reworking as malleable constructs whose form and appearance depend on one's state of motion. The development of special relativity immediately set the stage for the second conflict. One conclusion of Einstein's work is that no object -- in fact, no influence or disturbance of any sort -- can travel faster than the speed of light. But, as we shall discuss in Chapter 3, Newton's experimentally successful and intuitively pleasing universal theory of gravitation involves influences that are transmitted over vast distances of space instantaneously. It was Einstein, again, who stepped in and resolved the conflict by offering a new conception of gravity with his 1915 general theory of relativity. Just as special relativity overturned previous conceptions of space and time, so too did general relativity. Not only are space and time influenced by one's state of motion, but they can warp and curve in response to the presence of matter or energy. Such distortions to the fabric of space and time, as we shall see, transmit the force of gravity from one place to another. Space and time, therefore, can no longer be thought of as an inert backdrop on which the events of the universe play themselves out; rather, through special and then general relativity, they are intimate players in the events themselves.

Once again the pattern repeated itself: The discovery of general relativity, while resolving one conflict, led to another. Over the course of the three decades beginning in 1900, physicists developed quantum mechanics discussed in Chapter 4 in response to a number of glaring problems that arose when nineteenth-century conceptions of physics were applied to the microscopic world. And as mentioned above, the third and deepest conflict arises from the incompatibility between quantum mechanics and general relativity. As we will see in Chapter 5, the gently curving geometrical form of space emerging from general relativity is at loggerheads with the frantic, roiling, microscopic behavior of the universe implied by quantum mechanics. As it was not until the mid-1980s that string theory offered a resolution, this conflict is rightly called the central problem of modern physics. Moreover, building on special and general relativity, string theory requires its own severe revamping of our conceptions of space and time. For example, most of us take for granted that our universe has three spatial dimensions. But this is not so according to string theory, which claims that our universe has many more dimensions than meet the eye -- dimensions that are tightly curled into the folded fabric of the cosmos. So central are these remarkable insights into the nature of space and time that we shall use them as a guiding theme in all that follows. String theory, in a real sense, is the story of space and time since Einstein.

Excerpt reprinted from The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory by Brian R. Greene. Copyright © 1999 Brian R. Greene. All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents

2003 Preface
Preface
Pt. I The Edge of Knowledge
1 Tied Up with String 3
Pt. II The Dilemma of Space, Time, and the Quanta
2 Space, Time, and the Eye of the Beholder 23
3 Of Warps and Ripples 53
4 Microscopic Weirdness 85
5 The Need for a New Theory: General Relativity vs. Quantum Mechanics 117
Pt. III The Cosmic Symphony
6 Nothing but Music: The Essentials of Superstring Theory 135
7 The "Super" in Superstrings 166
8 More Dimensions Than Meet the Eye 184
9 The Smoking Gun: Experimental Signatures 210
Pt. IV String Theory and the Fabric of Spacetime
10 Quantum Geometry 231
11 Tearing the Fabric of Space 263
12 Beyond Strings: In Search of M-Theory 283
13 Black Holes: A String/M-Theory Perspective 320
14 Reflections on Cosmology 345
Pt. V Unification in the Twenty-First Century
15 Prospects 373
Notes 389
Glossary of Scientific Terms 413
References and Suggestions for Further Reading 427
Index 429
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Introduction

For years, physicists and mathematicians have been working on one of the most ambitious theories ever proposed: superstring theory. String theory, as it is often called, is the key to the unified field theory that stumped Einstein for more than 30 years. Finally, science has nearly overcome the nagging incompatibility of quantum mechanics and general relativity, and in the new book The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory, Brian Greene, one of the world's top string theorists, reveals the most exciting discoveries in this cutting-edge field and their implications for the future of science.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 216 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(122)

4 Star

(57)

3 Star

(21)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(10)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 216 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2009

    Very Interesting

    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

    12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2009

    Interesting but Not for Everyone

    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.

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 19, 2009

    Interesting and Informative

    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.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2009

    A great read

    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.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2007

    Theoretical physics for the rest of us :)

    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!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2008

    WOW

    Brian Greene makes the worlds most bizzare concepts easy to understand.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2008

    WOW!

    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.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 22, 2010

    This is an easy read for non-physicists

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 27, 2008

    Einstein=Piece of Cake

    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.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 2, 2011

    Amazing

    Incredibly interesting and informative. I definitely recommend reading this if you have even a remote interest in the subject.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 11, 2011

    Great book for a novice on string theory

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 21, 2011

    A writer who respects his readers

    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

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent Introduction to String Theory

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Authoritative Information Delivered Interestingly

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2008

    The most wild stuff you'll ever wrap your mind around

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2008

    Not enough stars in the universe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2007

    Strings: egoic imagining?

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2014

    Very Thought Provoking

    Not a quick page turner but very interesting read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2012

    Great for the amateur nerd (and probably hardcore nerd too, but

    Great for the amateur nerd (and probably hardcore nerd too, but I wouldn't know for sure)!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2012

    Excelat book

    Easy to read

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