In this exhilarating new book, Brian Greene explores our most current understanding of the universe, its deepest laws of nature, and our continuing quest to know more.
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. In some, they are separated from us by enormous stretches of space or time, in others they’re hovering millimetres away, in others still the very notion of their location proves to be a concept beyond our reach. Most extraordinarily, Greene shows how all of these parallel universe proposals emerge unbidden from the mathematics of theories developed to explain conventional data and observations of the cosmos.
This is a life-changing book that gives us a true sense of the astounding possibilities of modern scientific investigation.
Brian Greene received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his doctorate from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He joined the physics faculty of Cornell University in 1990, was appointed to a full professorship in 1995, and in 1996 joined Columbia University where he is professor of physics and mathematics. He has lectured at both a general and a technical level in more than twenty-five countries and is widely regarded for a number of groundbreaking discoveries in superstring theory. He lives in Andes, New York, and New York City.
Brian Greene’s The Fabric of the Cosmos is an astonishing grand tour of the universe and the best layman’s guide to current thinking on ‘how everything works’.
This rollercoaster ride explores the mysteries of space and time; asks questions about the nature of reality, dark matter, space warps and wiggles; and will fundamentally alter the perceptions of anyone that’s looked up at the stars and asked themselves: what’s it all about?
Extract: None of the books in my father’s dusty old bookcase were forbidden. Yet while I was growing up, I never saw anyone take one down. Most were massive tomes – a comprehensive history of civilization, matching volumes of the great works of western literature, numerous others I can no longer recall – that seemed almost fused to shelves that bowed slightly from decades of steadfast support. But way up on the highest shelf was a thin little text that, every now and then, would catch my eye because it seemed so out of place, like Gulliver among the Brobdingnagians. In hindsight, I’m not quite sure why I waited so long before taking a look. Perhaps, as the years went by, the books seemed less like material you read and more like family heirlooms you admire from afar. Ultimately, such reverence gave way to teenage brashness. I reached up for the little text, dusted it off, and opened to page one. The first few lines were, to say the least, startling.
‘There is but one truly philosophical problem, and that is suicide,’ the text began. I winced. “Whether or not the world has three dimensions or the mind nine or twelve categories,” it continued, “comes afterward”; such questions, the text explained, were part of the game humanity played, but they deserved attention only after the one true issue had been settled. The book was The Myth of Sisyphus and was written by the Algerian-born philosopher and Nobel laureate Albert Camus. After a moment, the iciness of his words melted under the light of comprehension. Yes, of course, I thought. You can ponder this or analyze that till the cows come home, but the real question is whether all your ponderings and analyses will convince you that life is worth living. That’s what it all comes down to. Everything else is detail. More…
‘Not since the extraordinary success of A BRIEFER HISTORY OF TIME has a scientific book caused such a stir’ – Sunday Times
In a rare blend of scientific insight and writing as elegant as the theories it explains, Brian Greene, one of the world’s leading string theorists, peels away the layers of mystery surrounding string theory to reveal a universe that consists of eleven dimensions, where all matter is generated by the vibrations of microscopically tiny loops of energy. Greene uses everything from an amusement park ride to ants on a garden hose to explain the beautiful yet bizarre realities that modern physics is unveiling.
Dazzling in its brilliance, unprecedented in its ability to both illuminate and entertain, The Elegant Universe is a tour de force of scientific writing – a delightful, lucid voyage through modern physics that brings us closer to understanding how the universe works.
About the Contributor
While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection.