The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality

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Brian Greene
Knopf; 1st edition (February 10, 2004) 

Amazon.com Book Description:

From Brian Greene, one of the world’s leading physicists, comes a grand tour of the universe that makes us look at reality in a completely different way.

Space and time form the very fabric of the cosmos. Yet they remain among the most mysterious of concepts. Is space an entity? Why does time have a direction? Could the universe exist without space and time? Can we travel to the past?

Greene uses these questions to guide us toward modern science’s new and deeper understanding of the universe. From Newton’s unchanging realm in which space and time are absolute, to Einstein’s fluid conception of spacetime, to quantum mechanics’ entangled arena where vastly distant objects can bridge their spatial separation to instantaneously coordinate their behavior or even undergo teleportation, Greene reveals our world to be very different from what common experience leads us to believe. Focusing on the enigma of time, Greene establishes that nothing in the laws of physics insists that it run in any particular direction and that “time’s arrow” is a relic of the universe’s condition at the moment of the big bang. And in explaining the big bang itself, Greene shows how recent cutting-edge developments in superstring and M-theory may reconcile the behavior of everything from the smallest particle to the largest black hole. This startling vision culminates in a vibrant eleven-dimensional “multiverse,” pulsating with ever-changing textures, where space and time themselves may dissolve into subtler, more fundamental entities.

Sparked by the trademark wit, humor, and brilliant use of analogy that have made The Elegant Universe a modern classic, Brian Greene takes us all, regardless of our scientific backgrounds, on an irresistible and revelatory journey to the new layers of reality that modern physics has discovered lying just beneath the surface of our everyday world.

With 146 illustrations.

You can also see the 4-part mini series adopted by NOVA of “Fabric of the Cosmos”at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/fabric-of-cosmos.html

Praise for “Fabric of the Comsos:

“Send[s] the reader’s imagination hurtling through the universe on an astonishing ride…He is both a skilled and kindly explicator. His excitement for science on the threshold of vital breakthroughs is extremely contagious.”  – Janet MaslinThe New York Times  

“Highly informed, lucid and witty…There is simply no better introduction to the strange wonders of general relativity and quantum mechanics, the fields of knowledge essential for any real understanding of space and time.” – Discover

“As pure intellectual adventure, this is about as good as it gets…Even compared with A Brief History of Time, Greene’s book stands out for its sweeping ambitions…stripping down the mystery from difficult concepts without watering down the science.” – Newsday

 

“Mind-bending…[Greene] is both a gifted theoretical physicist and a graceful popularizer [with] virtuoso explanatory skills.”– The Oregonian

 

“Brian Greene is the new Hawking, only better.” – The Times (London)

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1 Comment

  1. Hunter Stevens says:

    I read this book over the summer in preparation for Honors Freshman Seminar here at NJIT. I’m not one for sustainability (as of yet), but have always enjoyed physics classes and shows on TV. Brian Greene was right when he introduced the book — he wrote it not like a textbook, but rather stories of discovery, wonder, and intrigue. With this in mind, I was able to appreciate the book more, as I can only imagine how difficult it is to teach others about science in a more abstract, literary manner.

    I do not think that this book affects society the same way that the other NEA Book List suggestions do. Fabric of the Cosmos, as mentioned, was written to discuss groundbreaking theories in astrophysics to a general audience, much like documentaries seen on the Science Channel or PBS; however, the writing style of Greene encourages fascination in young minds. While I’m majoring in CS, I would recommend this book to anyone in high school still deciding on a major. The social change brought by Greene’s book is introducing others to an ever-updating field of physics — astrophysics — that many may feel intimidated by. With anecdotes and illustrations, he calls out for more potential scientists, as physics and STEM in general can be very under-appreciated in various school systems. I agree with Greene in that we need more of an emphasis on STEM subjects, and especially astrophysics, as such field defines the physical laws we live and breathe by.

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