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The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory (1999)

by Brian Greene

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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8,89580862 (3.97)1 / 153
Relates the scientific story and the human struggle behind the search for the string theory--the ultimate theory which scientists believe is capable of describing all physical phenomena, large and small; and discusses how the theory is impacting human understanding of space and time.

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Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
First, despite being 20 years old, this book isn't particularly dated. Lots of questions about string theory still remain.

Greene writes very clearly as he describes first the theories of Einstein and of Quantum Mechanics, then why they don't reconcile with each other and how string theory brings them together--at least in theory. As a non-scientist, I am still not 100 percent certain how physicists can derive so many facts from an unproven theory, but Greene explains things about as well as it is possible to do so. I found it a compelling and not particularly difficult read. Before I read the book, I had watched Greene's PBS series based on it (and Greene's second PBS series based on his later book, The Fabric of the Cosmos.) This predisposed me to like the book and its author, since Greene's star power and ability to communicate complex ideas quite clearly is pretty amazing. If you're buying this book used, try to get a copy with the updated preface and epilogue. ( )
  datrappert | Aug 23, 2023 |
Green is one of the best at explaining concepts of science. ( )
  mykl-s | Aug 11, 2023 |
Not bad, but probably the most difficult book I have ever read. I think I understood about 10% of it. ( )
  zeh | Jun 3, 2023 |
Read in high school and opened my mind on why the teacher was actually burning for physics apart from the lame stuff he had to teach about. ( )
  Schnapsbrenner | Oct 17, 2022 |
An excellent explanation of a theory we've all heard of but which few non-physicists, I fear, have much grasp of. Building up from the basics, through general relativity and quantum mechanics, Greene paints a phenomenally rich and compelling picture of superstring theory (and its derivatives) with analogies perfectly suited to make this ephemeral set of ideas intuitive. I'm convinced! A must-read. ( )
  KatherineJaneWright | Jul 17, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
In the great tradition of physicists writing for the masses, ''The Elegant Universe'' sets a standard that will be hard to beat.

» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brian Greeneprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bartocci, ClaudioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Civalleri, LuigiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my mother and the memory of my father, with love and gratitude
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During the last thirty years of his life, Albert Einstein sought relentlessly for a so-called unified field theory—a theory capable of describing nature's forces within a single, all-encompassing, coherent framework.
Calling it a cover-up would be far too dramatic.
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Relates the scientific story and the human struggle behind the search for the string theory--the ultimate theory which scientists believe is capable of describing all physical phenomena, large and small; and discusses how the theory is impacting human understanding of space and time.

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Physicists and mathematicians all over the world are feverishly working in these years on one of the most ambitious theories that have ever been conceived: the theory of superstrings, or strings, as it is often called. Einstein searched for more than thirty years without ever achieving a unified theory, which reconciled general relativity and quantum mechanics, the two cornerstones of twentieth-century physics. String theory provides perhaps the solution to this profound and fascinating problem, describing all the forces of nature in a single conceptual framework of supreme elegance.
Everything that is wonderful in the universe is the result of the vibrations of individual units, ultramicroscopic strings hidden in the depth of matter. The 'modes of vibration', the 'notes' intoned by these strings, determine the intimate constitution of matter, such as violin strings that perform an ordered and harmonious cosmic symphony.
In this book, Brian Greene tells the story of an extraordinary adventure, talking about it as a protagonist and transmitting all the enthusiasm of scientific discovery. The revolutionary vision of the universe that emerges from his story involves hidden and rolled up dimensions in the folds of space, black holes that are transformed into elementary particles, discontinuity in the weaving of spacetime and universes that generate other universes.
"The elegant universe" describes with intelligence and vivacity the exhilarating discoveries and the still unsolved mysteries of the universe. Through the wise use of analogies and fascinating metaphors, Greene manages to make immediately accessible some of the most complex and sophisticated concepts of contemporary physics.
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Average: (3.97)
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W.W. Norton

2 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393058581, 039333810X


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