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# The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe

In a single work of colossal scope one of the world’s greatest scientists has given us a complete and unrivalled guide to the glories of the universe.

**The Road to Reality**is the most important and ambitious work of science for a generation. It provides nothing less than a comprehensive account of the physical universe and the essentials of its underlying mathematical theory ...morePaperback, 1136 pages

Published
February 12th 2006
by Vintage Books
(first published 2004)

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## Community Reviews

(showing
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Sep 05, 2011
Manny
rated it
it was amazing

Recommends it for:
People who seriously want to understand physics better

Recommended to Manny by:
Nick Black

Many of my all-time favourite books make the list because they show you what it's like to be inside the mind of an extraordinary person. While you're reading them, Churchill's

*History of the Second World War*and Yourcenar's*Mémoires d'Hadrien*let you be a great statesman at a pivotal moment in history. Simone de Beauvoir's autobiography, more than any other book I know, gives you the feeling of being a major literary figure. Polugayevsky's*Grandmaster Preparation*, which many chessplayers treat a ...more**R-type**state evol ...more

He flicks through it and the first thing I note is that physicists take about 5 nanoseconds to read what it takes ...more

EDIT: I have recently learned in a conversation at uni that there are some controversies with the book and orthodox physics, most notably in the areas of string theory, Penrose's idea of twistors and the idea of more than 4 dimensions. However - considering how much else th ...more

The famed mathematician devotes several pages to discussing the addition of fractions then breezes through holomorphic functions and Reimann spheres.

I'll return to this book in a year or two when I have the mathematical background to qualify as a "non-mathematician."

But can I really say that I'm done with this book? I don't think so... Although it took me a year and a half to read it, I didn't even understand a significant part of it. Since I'm a physics student I understood most of it on some very basic level, but I'm pretty sure I'll have to open this book again and again to take a peek at some of the awesome ideas put here by Penrose.

Did I say awesome? That's a huge understatement ...more

**Road to Reality**a

*popularization*of general relativity and quantum theory, it is a peerless introduction to and review of those topics. I have a PhD in mathematics, and studied physics and math as an undergraduate, and there was plenty for me to learn from this book. There are very few people in the world who would not learn much from reading it.

Many years ago, I read Penrose's

**Emporer's New Mind**which was good as far as it went, but earned my derision with ...more

I thought the

__prologue__sucked, but immediately after that it became deeply fascinating, so don't get discouraged. I guess I should say why I hated it, though. It seemed as though he was judging former times and societies through a "presentist" lens, as though all people have always and only been scientists since the start of time, only they were really bad at it back then ...more

Aug 21, 2007
Rajesh Chepuri
rated it
it was amazing
·
review of another edition

Recommends it for:
physics: link to math, relativity, quantum mechanics

Shelves:

This is a great book. I have finished reading the first part i.e, math part of the book. It opened lot of windows for me in the world of mathematics. Though a computer graduate, I have lot of interest in physics. I have read lot of material on relativity but none gave me the the insight to it like this book. Before this book, I had no knowledge of non-eucildean geometry and its importance to physics. But now I know lot about Riemann and other great people's contribution.

The graphical presentatio ...more

The graphical presentatio ...more

This is an exhaustive review of the laws of physics as related to physical reality with significant emphasis on the mathematical component. The author is an outstanding mathematical physicist of our times, and in this book of 1100 pages, he describes the concept of space, time, and matter (energy) in terms of classical physics, quantum physics, string theory and its derivatives.

In physics, the behavior of objects is understood in terms ...more

Feb 23, 2012
Yasiru (reviews will soon be removed and linked to blog)
rated it
it was amazing
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
physics-and-other-science

As accurate a title as can be for this tremendously ambitious behemoth. I very much enjoyed the masterful laying of a mathematical framework when first I came across it (the first dozen or so chapters if memory serves; hence the rating, as well as for the aforementioned ambition in the task- I think this is a right way to go, though popular expositors seldom venture down this route), as Penrose does it so efficiently (and naturally too, so that the layman wouldn't shove it aside in disgust after
...more

Feb 09, 2009
Michael
rated it
it was amazing
·
review of another edition

Recommends it for:
Engineers, Teachers & Weird Guys

Recommended to Michael by:
Some weird guy at the gym.

Shelves:

I desperately want to make it through this book. I might be crazy. I think part of my fascination with finishing it is to compensate for not finishing engineering school. I can tell you this... It would be a lot easier to read if I had attained my degree (and actually learned the material along the way). Nonetheless, this book opens in the most interesting and captivating fashion, which says a lot about a book that works to explain the universe by walking through the history of mathematics. A co
...more

*This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.*

May 12, 2011
Ronald Lett
rated it
it was amazing
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
popular-science

Penrose is a master of his field. This text has exercises in it that range from simple expositions to those that will take weeks of serious thought. If you are a student of physics, this text casts the widest net possible, touring you through all of the mathematics and physics that you will become intimately familiar with in connections and expositions that you will rarely find in single courses.

Penrose is a pre-eminent mathematician whose work has affected my own thinking in deep ways. Often I've discovered, to my surprise, that some viewpoint which I learned from another source in fact derived ultimately from Penrose himself, the author of this other source having been, as it turns out, a student of Penrose. As an example I offer "Visual Complex Analysis" by Tristan Needham. ...more

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Sir Roger Penrose OM FRS is an English mathematical physicist and Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford and Emeritus Fellow of Wadham College. He has received a number of prizes and awards, including the 1988 Wolf Prize for physics which he shared with Stephen Hawking for their contribution to our understanding of the universe. He is renow
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“We have a closed circle of consistency here: the laws of physics produce complex systems, and these complex systems lead to consciousness, which then produces mathematics, which can then encode in a succinct and inspiring way the very underlying laws of physics that gave rise to it.”
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“No doubt there are some who, when confronted with a line of mathematical symbols, however simply presented, can only see the face of a stern parent or teacher who tried to force into them a non-comprehending parrot-like apparent competence--a duty and a duty alone--and no hint of magic or beauty of the subject might be allowed to come through.”
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