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The Little Book of String Theory

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Overview

The Little Book of String Theory offers a short, accessible, and entertaining introduction to one of the most talked-about areas of physics today. String theory has been called the "theory of everything." It seeks to describe all the fundamental forces of nature. It encompasses gravity and quantum mechanics in one unifying theory. But it is unproven and fraught with controversy. After reading this book, you'll be able to draw your own ...

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Overview

The Little Book of String Theory offers a short, accessible, and entertaining introduction to one of the most talked-about areas of physics today. String theory has been called the "theory of everything." It seeks to describe all the fundamental forces of nature. It encompasses gravity and quantum mechanics in one unifying theory. But it is unproven and fraught with controversy. After reading this book, you'll be able to draw your own conclusions about string theory.

Steve Gubser begins by explaining Einstein's famous equation E = mc2
, quantum mechanics, and black holes. He then gives readers a crash course in string theory and the core ideas behind it. In plain English and with a minimum of mathematics, Gubser covers strings, branes, string dualities, extra dimensions, curved spacetime, quantum fluctuations, symmetry, and supersymmetry. He describes efforts to link string theory to experimental physics and uses analogies that nonscientists can understand. How does Chopin's Fantasie-Impromptu relate to quantum mechanics? What would it be like to fall into a black hole? Why is dancing a waltz similar to contemplating a string duality? Find out in the pages of this book.

The Little Book of String Theory is the essential, most up-to-date beginner's guide to this elegant, multidimensional field of physics.

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  • Steven S. Gubser
    Steven S. Gubser  

Editorial Reviews

Philadelphia Inquirer
The Little Book of String Theory succeeds in its mission to carry readers through the tangle of ideas to the intellectual loose ends that physicists love.
— Fred Bortz
San Francisco Book Review
With Gubser as our guide science starts to seem less like the exclusive domain of the brainy, and more like a window into the universe that is open for everyone.
— Glenn Dallas
Mathematical Reviews
[T]his book is a concise survey of advanced ideas in particle physics and string theory. But it is also true that every single concept is explained in a very simple and accurate way. This makes the book, while without errors from a physicist's point of view, accessible to a wide range of readers.
— Farhang Loran
Philadelphia Inquirer - Fred Bortz
The Little Book of String Theory succeeds in its mission to carry readers through the tangle of ideas to the intellectual loose ends that physicists love.
Australian - Leigh Dayton
But how do we non-mathematicians sort frayed ends from tight theory? Read Steven S. Gubser's book. It's clear, concise, turns formulas into words and leaves readers informed, if still incredulous, at the ability of great minds to imagine the unimaginable.
Marginal Revolution blog - Tyler Cowen
There is much in this book I did not understand, but I've seen plenty of popular physics books over the last few years. This is the first one in a long time that I both wanted to read and finished; it's full of fresh material.
San Francisco Book Review - Glenn Dallas
With Gubser as our guide science starts to seem less like the exclusive domain of the brainy, and more like a window into the universe that is open for everyone.
Mathematical Reviews - Farhang Loran
[T]his book is a concise survey of advanced ideas in particle physics and string theory. But it is also true that every single concept is explained in a very simple and accurate way. This makes the book, while without errors from a physicist's point of view, accessible to a wide range of readers.
Time Magazines Higher Education
What sets this book apart is that it has been written by one of the foremost experts on the subject. Many of the analogies from everyday life used to explain concepts from string theory are both original and very communicative. . . . I would recommend The Little Book of String Theory even to seasoned researchers in the field. This is a thought-provoking book. With explanations offered in simple words, imagination can fly faster and perhaps lead to new and unexplored areas in the quest for the fundamental theory.
From the Publisher
"The Little Book of String Theory by theoretical physicist Steven Gubser puts into words the abstract maths of some of the most challenging areas of physics, from energy and quantum mechanics to branes, supersymmetry and multiple dimensions."Nature

"Princeton theoretical physicist Steven S. Gubser opens The Little Book of String Theory with a simple—and highly accurate—sentence: 'String theory is a mystery.' You won't get very far into this excellent book before you'll be agreeing with him completely."Washington Post

"Gubser does a masterly job of introducing string theory in simple terms and without using math. His goal is not to convert people to the cause but to help them better understand the ideas. Cars on a freeway, the vibration of piano strings, and buoys in the ocean are among the examples from everyday life used to explain difficult concepts. This concise yet clear introduction to a conceptually difficult topic is recommended for lay readers in physics and for popular science collections."Library Journal

"This is an excellent introduction to string theory for those who are looking for a highly academic explanation. . . . For those new to string theory, this book is full of information and humor and will help readers see the universe in an entirely new way."ForeWord

"You will probably finish the book more confused than when you started, but in the best possible way: with profound questions and a desire to learn more."New Scientist

"What sets this book apart is that it has been written by one of the foremost experts on the subject. Many of the analogies from everyday life used to explain concepts from string theory are both original and very communicative. . . . I would recommend The Little Book of String Theory even to seasoned researchers in the field. This is a thought-provoking book. With explanations offered in simple words, imagination can fly faster and perhaps lead to new and unexplored areas in the quest for the fundamental theory."Times Higher Education

"The Little Book of String Theory succeeds in its mission to carry readers through the tangle of ideas to the intellectual loose ends that physicists love."—Fred Bortz, Philadelphia Inquirer

"But how do we non-mathematicians sort frayed ends from tight theory? Read Steven S. Gubser's book. It's clear, concise, turns formulas into words and leaves readers informed, if still incredulous, at the ability of great minds to imagine the unimaginable."—Leigh Dayton, Australian

"There is much in this book I did not understand, but I've seen plenty of popular physics books over the last few years. This is the first one in a long time that I both wanted to read and finished; it's full of fresh material."—Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution blog

"With Gubser as our guide science starts to seem less like the exclusive domain of the brainy, and more like a window into the universe that is open for everyone."—Glenn Dallas, San Francisco Book Review

"[T]his book is a concise survey of advanced ideas in particle physics and string theory. But it is also true that every single concept is explained in a very simple and accurate way. This makes the book, while without errors from a physicist's point of view, accessible to a wide range of readers."—Farhang Loran, Mathematical Reviews

Nature
The Little Book of String Theory by theoretical physicist Steven Gubser puts into words the abstract maths of some of the most challenging areas of physics, from energy and quantum mechanics to branes, supersymmetry and multiple dimensions.
Washington Post
Princeton theoretical physicist Steven S. Gubser opens The Little Book of String Theory with a simple—and highly accurate—sentence: 'String theory is a mystery.' You won't get very far into this excellent book before you'll be agreeing with him completely.
ForeWord
This is an excellent introduction to string theory for those who are looking for a highly academic explanation. . . . For those new to string theory, this book is full of information and humor and will help readers see the universe in an entirely new way.
New Scientist
You will probably finish the book more confused than when you started, but in the best possible way: with profound questions and a desire to learn more.
Times Higher Education
What sets this book apart is that it has been written by one of the foremost experts on the subject. Many of the analogies from everyday life used to explain concepts from string theory are both original and very communicative. . . . I would recommend The Little Book of String Theory even to seasoned researchers in the field. This is a thought-provoking book. With explanations offered in simple words, imagination can fly faster and perhaps lead to new and unexplored areas in the quest for the fundamental theory.
Australian
But how do we non-mathematicians sort frayed ends from tight theory? Read Steven S. Gubser's book. It's clear, concise, turns formulas into words and leaves readers informed, if still incredulous, at the ability of great minds to imagine the unimaginable.
— Leigh Dayton
Marginal Revolution blog
There is much in this book I did not understand, but I've seen plenty of popular physics books over the last few years. This is the first one in a long time that I both wanted to read and finished; it's full of fresh material.
— Tyler Cowen
Library Journal
String theory offers tantalizing possibilities for a unifying concept to explain how the universe works. Gubser introduces the field with enthusiasm and a bit of humor. (LJ 2/15/12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691142890
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2010
  • Series: Science Essentials Series
  • Pages: 174
  • Sales rank: 244,818
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


Steven S. Gubser is professor of physics at Princeton University.
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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Energy 11

Ch. 2 Quantum mechanics 19

Ch. 3 Gravity and black holes 34

Ch. 4 String theory 49

Ch. 5 Branes 69

Ch. 6 String dualities 99

Ch. 7 Supersymmetry and the LHC 117

Ch. 8 Heavy ions and the fifth dimension 140

Epilogue 159

Index 163

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 13, 2010

    Highy recommended

    This book features a great conceptual account of string theory. In addition, Gusber provides his audience with the background in quantum mechanics and relativity that is required to understand it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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