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The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory Audio Cassette – Abridged, May 1 2000


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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Penguin Highbridge (Aud); Abridged edition (May 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565113470
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565113473
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (383 customer reviews)


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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Brian Villanueva on June 15 2004
Format: Hardcover
Toe central problem of physics today revolves around this conundrum: Gravity is governed by Einstein's relativity theory, which requires that space-time is smooth. Gravity has been experimentally verified. Atomic forces are govered by quantum mechanics, which requires that space-time is bumpy, foamy, and irregular. These atomic forces have been experimentally verified.
How can space time be smooth for gravity, and yet be bumpy for quantum machanics? Enter string theory.
This book is a terrific introduction not only to string theory, but to relativity and quantum mechanics as well. The first half of the book reviews the history and development of these theories, since they are a fundamental component of string theory. In particular, Greene's treatment of relativity uses some outstanding analogies to explain time dilation and gravitational warping. I thought I understood the basics of relativity; this book still taught me a few things.
Analogies are this author's strength. He uses them at every step to avoid the need to complex mathematical formulae. There are no formulae in this book (some will think that a minus, but I view it as a plus.) Using analogies, he's able to provide a comprehensible view of what 10-dimensional spacetime would be like, and how expanding one of the other dimensions might affect life in the Universe. These 5 pages alone are probably worth the price of the book.
If you want a glimpse of one of the cutting-edge areas of particle physics research without needing to study math for 10 years, this book can give it to you.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By NorthSideBFresh on June 2 2000
Format: Paperback
Prior to reading this book, my knowledge of superstrings was limited to passing references in magazine articles and that time the Enterprise hit one in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Wondering if I needed to get superstring coverage added to my auto-insurnance, I picked up this book. Needless to say, this was the book for me. Through insider knowledge and well conceived analogies, the basic premise of superstrings comes through clearly. I finished the book knowing enough about superstrings to sound smart at the comic book store while in reality my head painfully throbs at the thought of a 11-D space-time continuim. Not a pretty picture. The highlight of the book was the primer on old school quantum mechanics and general relativity. I wish Mr. Greene had written the textbooks for some of my physics classes. He very deftly tells the story of 20th century physics, setting up the reader for the stringy things to come. After reading the book, I was left wondering if string theory is really the end all/be all of physics or cold fusion's distant cousin, but at least I don't have to change my car insurance.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kijiji on Jan. 3 2013
Format: Paperback
This was one of the few books (less than 5 probably) that really changed the way I viewed the world. It enriched my understanding and appreciation of the universe in which I live. It even in a way allowed me to feel closer to God. As a lay person with no more than 1 semester of university level physics under her belt, I very much appreciate Mr Greene's efforts in writing this book and making a new world accessible to me.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Some Fool on Sept. 17 2003
Format: Paperback
After reading the preceeding reviews, there seems to be a bisection of readers. They fall roughly into two categories; The layman\non-scientist and those who have a generous breadth of knowledge in mathematics and\or physical science. (sidenote: although individuals and universities debate it from time to time, mathematics is not validated by scientific experiment, and thus should be considered as a different class of study.)

For the layman, this book will provide a very basic and intuitive framework for classic and modern physics, and take the previously unknowing individual through a more or less simple tour of some of the results and ideas of string theory. If you dont know anything about physics\mathematics, then this journey should be a pleasurable one, and might even grab enough interest that you pursue a more rigorous treatment of some mathematical or physical speculation or phenomena. Reader be warned, however, that Professor Greenes very charasmatic and enthusiastic approach might be enough to make you too a believer in the validity of this theory,and that it answers the discrepancy between relativity\quantum mechanics, which is popularly coveted as "the problem" of modern physics. The problem is large, but realistically only occupies a very small group of most scientists\mathematicians time. For those who have never encoutered the hilbert vector space, this book provides some information about one of the more exciting ideas in science today, but take it with a grain of salt. The "secrets of the universe" are more abundant in a rigorous treatment of analytic mechanics than in a superficial treatment of something so enticing, yet esoteric.

For those that have been introduced in gross detail to the world of science today...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great read for anyone who is curious about ideas regarding the Universe and Cosmos. Great real world examples used to explain theories.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a fantastic book! Great read for anyone of any level education in physics interested in understanding the workings of modern physics. This book is written in a clear informative way that is easy to follow (has some technical points, but overall very clear).

Recommend reading Brian Greene's following books; "Fabric of the Cosmos", and "Hidden Reality". You will not be disappointed!
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