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

por Brian Greene

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8,12773794 (3.98)1 / 150
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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Inglês (69)  Francês (2)  Alemão (1)  Espanhol (1)  Todas as línguas (73)
Mostrando 1-5 de 73 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Not my cup of tea. I have the 1999 edition and had high hopes for gaining insights into the current state of universe, but it was not to be. What I did find was a somewhat self-aggrandizing tome on theoretical notions, guesses and suppositions amid a plethora of name-dropping episodes wholly absent in comparable books such at Einsteins' "Relativity," Feynman's "QED" and Hawking's "The Grand Design." Green's arguments and explanations elbows-rubbing incidents reminded me of those heated theological battles over the potential number of dancing angels on the head of a pin. Like I said, not my cup of tea. ( )
  Renzomalo | Jul 21, 2021 |
My belief is based on the fact that string theory is the first science in hundreds of years to be pursued in pre-Baconian fashion, without any adequate experimental guidance.

Philip Warren Anderson




Since the middle of the 20th century, the fundamental problem of physics has been finding the Theory of Everything: A theory that would reconcile Relativity, Einstein's theory of the very large; to live alongside of Quantum Mechanics, the paradoxical theory of probabilities on the subatomic level. Both worldviews have been proved, insofar as any scientific theory is ever proved. And neither will allow for the other to be completely correct.

Professor Greene (who disdains the title of "Professor" or "Doctor", by omission) explains the two theories very well, even to someone who has read about them innumerable times. (In particular, his explanations of Relativity are extraordinary well done.)

This incredible clarity of purpose and prose continues when he continues into string theory, quantum gravity, and M-theory, although it is dimmed a bit. The book is not math-heavy by any means, relegating such diversions to the endnotes.

(Unfortunately, there are also many fascinating historical explanations relegated to these same notes. Turning to an endnote, the reader never knows if they'll find an historical illumination, or a block of equations.)

Apparently, the world is composed of scores of vibrating, undulating loops of string, looped through dimensions beyond our perception. These explanations are are deftly written, and hold the readers attention well. When the narrative moves along to the five competing string theories, and to M-theory, the One Ring of that will unite modern physics, the story becomes a little difficult to follow. But this is a minor quibble.

When the author details his own small contribution to the field, it is downplayed, giving much credit to his collaborators. A sense of barely contained pride is present in the text simultaneously, giving a wonderful tension to this chapter.

Since string theory is unproven, the book can't help but end on a tenuous note. The author is hopeful that technology will advance to the point where it is possible to prove that superstring theory is more than a blue-sky physicist's dream. ( )
  neilneil | Dec 7, 2020 |
This was my breakthrough book with General Relativity.

I remember reading it on a plane as a teenager and when the author's analogies (which are great) of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity finally broke through to me, something switched on in my brain. My jaw literally dropped, and I looked out over the clouds, into the stars, with absolute disbelief. At that moment, my entire understand of the world around me, and in me, was profoundly and forever changed. I almost cried when I understood the implications of relativity.

As the book continues on, however, the author seems to leave the layman behind. Perhaps I am sub-layman, and others who consider themselves laymen found the latter quantum mechanics chapters easy to grapple with. But I lost my ability to comprehend his writing as the theories and jargon piled on heavier and heavier.

And don't get me started on the string theory chapters. What the hell is string theory. Like seriously.

In conclusion, I must rate this book highly because it was my first taste of the world of relativity, but I can't say I got much out of the quantum mechanics or string theory because they were just too tough to handle.

Maybe I'm just dumb.

( )
  TwilightLoki | Jul 27, 2020 |
De vez en cuando surge un maestro de la divulgación científica. Brian Greene saltó a la fama de la divulgación científica con este libro. Se trata de una introducción a la teoría de cuerdas, una de las estructuras intelectuales más complejas paridas por la mente humana. El estilo es muy claro y ameno -se ve que el autor se divierte escribiendo- y resulta una lectura apasionante y muy enriquecedora incluso para lectores con formación física, pues las ideas de las que habla no están en la carrera. El libro tuvo tanto éxito que hasta hicieron un documental, con el propio Greene como presentador. Y es un documental muy bueno. Los lectores pueden descargárselo gratuitamente (en inglés) de aquí. Ahora Greene ha sacado un nuevo libro, The fabric of Cosmos, que he empezado a leer. En él se habla de la estructura del espaciotiempo, nada menos, pero el estilo sigue siendo ameno. Y el libro es muy interesante, desde luego. Mi nota para éste es Muy, muy bueno. ( )
  Remocpi | Apr 22, 2020 |
Greene is an interesting physicist. I'm not sure many more "traditional" physicists would always agree with his ideas, but they make for interesting reading and thinking. This is a typical example and thus recommended. ( )
  scottcholstad | Jan 15, 2020 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 73 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
In the great tradition of physicists writing for the masses, ''The Elegant Universe'' sets a standard that will be hard to beat.
adicionada por jlelliott | editarThe New York Times, George Johnson (Feb 21, 1999)
 
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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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