Monday, 12 April 2010

The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene

This is an excellent book. Having recently read two other books about astronomy which I had found totally incomprehensible, this was a great find. It is brilliant, engaging and accessible.

The book looks at the basic idea of string theory which is that everything in the universe is made up of vibrating strings and then looks at the implications of this, including multidimensional universes and discussing whether string theory could be the grand unifying theory of everything.

Those who are serious physicists, mathematicians or astronomers may find the occasional light hearted and surreal explanations of things sometimes a little frivolous. However, I'm a biologist, who during my degree, took an extra class in astronomy and walked out after two weeks of incomprehensible lectures, though I've always been interested in the topic. For me, the use here of George and Gracie the characters who float through space in illustration of relativity and then become physics professors in a 2 dimensional universe in illustration of multi-dimensional space was a touch of sheer genius. Not that I really feel that I understand string theory even now (I did lose the thread a little in the last third of the book and there's a lot of science and maths, especially in the 400 pages of the book!) but this is a great book for those with some grasp of scientific thought who are interested in finding out more about this topic.

The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene, published by Vintage

14 comments:

Kari of Writing Up A Storm said...

I love the image of you losing the thread in the middle of the string theory! This does look like a wonderful book. I wrote it down on my library list, and, who knows, I might get caught in its net. xo Kari

d. moll, l.ac. said...

I am interested in the string theory, I'll keep my eyes open for this one, thanks!

Lisa said...

Thank you SO much for the recommendation!!! My boyfriend has a masters from Columbia University in computer science, but while he was there he did all his research in the applied math and applied physics department, and continued his research for years after graduating. He loves astronomy. I consider myself a scientist as I've studied a good deal of biology and chemistry, but I have no background in physics or astronomy. So it makes it difficult for us to have intellectual conversation about something he loves so much. Maybe I can read The Elegant Universe and actually follow it!!

Jasmine said...

Sounds really interesting.

ThoseThr3Words/Spiderette said...

Just caught up with your last 3 posts, Juliet. Inspiring poetry and insightful observations, as always.
This book sounds interesting..science was never my strong point, but am currently enjoying Animate Earth by Stephan Harding (passed on to me by Spider) very poetic in parts..not the science I remember from school! We need more books like this.
Thanks for your lovely comments on the blog. We are pretty much over at http://spidertribe.wordpress.com now.
Claire

Nia said...

I've bookmarked this post of yours, you're a great source of science books recomendations for my boyfriend :)

It sounds interesting even for me!

Titus said...

Thanks Poet, right up my street! Read an extract somewhere, so thanks for the reminder.

Howard BME said...

For anyone who wants an excellent, and comprehensible, introduction to astronomy, I very highly recommend From Here to Infinity by John and Mary Gribbin. I think it deals with ‘simpler’ subject matter, though, namely the solar system itself, rather than anything as abstruse as string theory. Thanks for the recommendation though – I may dig out the Brian Greene book.

Beth Niquette said...

That sounds fascinating....thank you for the recommendation!

Thomma Lyn said...

I read this book some years back, and I loved it. String theory and M theory fascinate me to no end. I also highly recommend Brian Greene's other book, The Fabric of the Cosmos -- more nifty stuff about string theory, and also mind-blowing stuff about the nature of time itself. Not a scientist, but I'm definitely an armchair science nerd. :-D

Crafty Green Poet said...

Howard - thanks for the recommendation, I'll look out for that!

Thomma - I'll look out for Brian Green's other book too!

Crafty Green Poet said...

Claire - oh I'll add your recommendation to my list too and your new blog looks great!

Gillena Cox said...

string theory; sounds 'interestring' :)

wouldn't read the book, will do some internet reading though

much love
gillena

Midian said...

Hello folks! being a newcomer in the field of promotion of blogs, but not in the business of BLOGS, I asked a tip about a follower, who informed me .. I noticed the post and cons of a promotion, then left for a promotion more face to face, without putting in my blog posting, or asked them to disclose this promotion ... I thought ... thought and came up with an idea "and there goes" I decided to combine business with pleasure and invite you to join our promotions.

(((Since I am a future biologist, and loving everything that contributes to the nature'll send a kiss the first 5 Entitled ArtesanBIOarte placed the promotion of the month, has a few rules to participate, but nothing much to take our time ...) )))

Rules: 1 - (Enrollment will be represented with the action) Enter the blog and leave a comment on the link called for promotion for your blog. And tell me what your job retraining, or any work that contributes to the environment ... 2 - And follow me, if you are already one of my followers just follow the rule 1 ... Bjus TO ALL

Detail the promotion will be linked from the day 18/04 day 18/05, the result will be published on 20/05 this year with 5 stickers and with the respective winners (as)