"[Greene] 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, The New York Times Book Review
In a rare blend of scientific insight and writing as elegant as the theories it explains, Brian Greene, one of the world's leading string theorists, peels away the layers of mystery surrounding string theory to reveal a universe that consists of 11 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.
Green uses everything from an amusement park ride to ants on a garden hose to illustrate the beautiful yet bizarre realities that modern physics is unveiling. Dazzling in its brilliance, unprecedented in its ability to both illuminate and entertain, The Elegant Universe is a tour de force of science writing-a delightful, lucid voyage through modern physics that brings us closer than ever to understanding how the universe works.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
There is an ill-concealed skeleton in the closet of physics: "As they are currently formulated, general relativity and quantum mechanics cannot both be right." Each is exceedingly accurate in its field: general relativity explains the behavior of the universe at large scales, while quantum mechanics describes the behavior of subatomic particles. Yet the theories collide horribly under extreme conditions such as black holes or times close to the big bang. Brian Greene, a specialist in quantum field theory, believes that the two pillars of physics can be reconciled in superstring theory, a theory of everything.
Superstring theory has been called "a part of 21st-century physics that fell by chance into the 20th century." In other words, it isn't all worked out yet. Despite the uncertainties--"string theorists work to find approximate solutions to approximate equations"--Greene gives a tour of string theory solid enough to satisfy the scientifically literate.
Though Ed Witten of the Institute for Advanced Study is in many ways the human hero of The Elegant Universe, it is not a human-side-of-physics story. Greene's focus throughout is the science, and he gives the nonspecialist at least an illusion of understanding--or the sense of knowing what it is that you don't know. And that is traditionally the first step on the road to knowledge. --Mary Ellen CurtinFrom the Back Cover:
" The Elegant Universe is compulsively readable.... Greene threatens to do for string theory what Stephen Hawking did for black holes." - New York
"[An] important book.... The Elegant Universe presents the ideas and aspirations-and some of the characters-of string theory with clarity and charm." - Scientific American
"As good as it gets.... [A] thrilling ride through a lovely landscape." - Los Angeles Times
"[Greene] writes with poetic eloquence and style.... [He] does an admirable job of translating a wholly mathematical endeavor into visual terms." - The Washington Post Book World
"[Greene's} metaphors oftten provide beauty and power.... The Elegant Universe is a rewarding read." - Discovery Magazine
"String theory is the hottest idea to emerge in physics since Stephen Hawking gazed into a black hole.... [Greene] explain[s] it in terms that anyone can understand." - San Francisco Chronicle
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