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The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and…
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The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos

by Brian Greene

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7222413,038 (3.97)10
  1. 00
    Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story by Jim Holt (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Touching on similar concepts, including Nozick's "Ultimate Multiverse" (there's isn't something rather than nothing, there's both).
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Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Brian Greene really is one of the best popular science writers. His books give you a real sense of being guided by someone who genuinely knows what they're talking about, who uses metaphors effectively, and who effectively weaves the traditional material in with the new points he is making. He also approaches science with curiosity untainted by dogmatism. He is very much open to speculation, but equally open to the speculation not panning out.

This book is about different concepts of the Multiverse. Greene devotes a chapter to each of what he defines as the major types and then has one or two additional chapters on questions like whether these theories are testable and broader implications.

The multiverse's he consider include the quilted multiverse (which is just our universe extending out infinitely, leaving the possibility of endless accidental repetition -- which follows from some cosmological theories that follow the big bang), the inflationary multiverse (a product of repeated episodes of inflationary expansion, which follows from the addition of inflation to the previous theories), three multiverses that come from different versions of string theory (brane, cyclic and landscape), a quantum multiverse (which is Everett's Many Worlds interpretation, and is more conceptual), a holographic multiverse (which comes from the study of black holes and string theory), and simulated and ultimate multiverses (the last two coming from computer simulations and a deeper mathematical world).

In every case, Greene does a good job of describing the physical theories that lead, usually by accident, to the implication that there is a particular type of multiverse, discusses the scientific status of those theories, and addresses issues around testing them. In the end, Greene has some sympathy with Steven Weinberg's adage that the problem with physics is that we do not take our theories/equations seriously enough as a real description of the world. The example he cites is the Positron, which was a byproduct of Dirac's solution of a math problem that turned out to be real. Greene clearly leans towards the view that the same is true of the multiverse, but he doesn't do much to tip his hand about which one. ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
The multiverse - interviewed by Michael Krasney, KQED. ( )
  clifforddham | Mar 19, 2014 |
The bestselling author of The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos tackles perhaps the most mind-bending question in modern physics and cosmology: Is our universe the only universe?

There was a time when "universe" meant all there is. Everything. Yet, a number of theories are converging on the possibility that our universe may be but one among many parallel universes populating a vast multiverse. Here, Briane Greene, one of our foremost physicists and science writers, takes us on a breathtaking journey to a multiverse comprising an endless series of big bangs, a multiverse with duplicates of every one of us, a multiverse populated by vast sheets of spacetime, a multiverse in which all we consider real are holographic illusions, and even a multiverse made purely of math--and reveals the reality hidden within each.

Using his trademark wit and precision, Greene presents a thrilling survey of cutting-edge physics and confronts the inevitable question: How can fundamental science progress if great swaths of reality lie beyond our reach? The Hidden Reality is a remarkable adventure through a world more vast and strange than anything we could have imagined. ( )
  MarkBeronte | Jan 9, 2014 |
The Hidden Reality was more interesting because I had watched the Nova episodes based on Brian Greene's set of books. Remembering parts of the series made it easier for me to understand, otherwise I likely would have gotten lost.

One or two of the chapters did drag on and on, however, those were admittedly the parts where he'd said, look at this and skip the rest if you want to.

However, those are minor faults, and I did enjoy and learn from the book.

( )
  tramseyer | Dec 20, 2013 |
" Take the math seriously " ( )
  BakuDreamer | Sep 7, 2013 |
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If, when I was growing up, my room had been adorned with only a single mirror, my childhood daydreams might have been very different.
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Book description
From the best-selling author of The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos comes his most expansive and accessible book to date—a book that takes on the grandest question: Is ours the only universe?

There was a time when “universe” meant all there is. Everything. Yet, in recent years discoveries in physics and cosmology have led a number of scientists to conclude that our universe may be one among many. With crystal-clear prose and inspired use of analogy, Brian Greene shows how a range of different “multiverse” proposals emerges from theories developed to explain the most refined observations of both subatomic particles and the dark depths of space: a multiverse in which you have an infinite number of doppelgängers, each reading this sentence in a distant universe; a multiverse comprising a vast ocean of bubble universes, of which ours is but one; a multiverse that endlessly cycles through time, or one that might be hovering millimeters away yet remains invisible; another in which every possibility allowed by quantum physics is brought to life. Or, perhaps strangest of all, a multiverse made purely of math.

Greene, one of our foremost physicists and science writers, takes us on a captivating exploration of these parallel worlds and reveals how much of reality’s true nature may be deeply hidden within them. And, with his unrivaled ability to make the most challenging of material accessible and entertaining, Greene tackles the core question: How can fundamental science progress if great swaths of reality lie beyond our reach?

Sparked by Greene’s trademark wit and precision, The Hidden Reality is at once a far-reaching survey of cutting-edge physics and a remarkable journey to the very edge of reality—a journey grounded firmly in science and limited only by our imagination.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0307265633, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, January 2011: Take any of physics' major theories of the fundamental nature of the universe, extrapolate its math to the logical extreme, and you get some version of a (so far unobservable) parallel universe. And who better to navigate these hypothetical versions of the "multiverse" than Brian Greene? Normally an unflinching apologist for string theory, the bestselling author of The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos here treats all viable alternate realities to a laudably fair shake. For a book exploring the most far-reaching implications of bleeding-edge mathematics, The Hidden Reality is surprisingly light on math, written as it is "for a broad audience … its only prerequisite the will to persevere." Such perseverance pays off with a motley cast of potential universes featuring doppelgängers, strings, branes, quantum probabilities, holographs, and simulated worlds. The result is that rare accomplishment in science writing for a popular audience: a volume that explains the science and its consequences while stimulating the imagination of even the uninitiated.

Oliver Sacks on The Hidden Reality

Oliver Sacks was born in London and educated in London, Oxford, California, and New York. He is professor of neurology and psychiatry at Columbia University, and Columbia's first University Artist. He is the author of many books, including Awakenings, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and Musicophilia. His newest book, The Mind's Eye, was published in October, 2010.

Brian Greene is not only a profound cosmological thinker--a pioneer of string theory--but a writer of exceptional clarity and charm. His books--The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos among them--take one ever deeper into a universe stranger and more wonderful than anyone could have conceived a generation ago. The Hidden Reality takes us deeper still, and it has a special personal quality and warmth that is evident from the opening of the book, when Greene recollects how, as a boy, he was fascinated by the multiple reflections in parallel mirrors. He has never lost this childlike wonder at the world of physics, but he brings it now to examining theories of multiple universes, of the continual birth of universes, starting long before our own. . . and destined to continue, perhaps, to the end of time.

In the 1930s, as a boy myself, I read The Mysterious Universe by James Jeans. Jeans was, like Greene, a brilliant theoretical astronomer and equally mesmerizing writer. I thought Jeans's book was the most exciting, revelatory book I had ever read, and now, seventy years later, I feel the same excitement reading Brian Greene's new book, where every chapter opens level after level of previously unimaginable, mind-expanding realities.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:19 -0400)

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"The Hidden Reality" reveals how major developments in different branches of fundamental theoretical physics -- relativistic, quantum, cosmological, unified, computational -- have all led us to consider one or another variety of parallel universe.

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