The Fabric of the Cosmos (Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality)
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? Coul...more
There is part of me that would like to believe that in the early part o...more
See, right there, when your brain registered the p-word, a black hole of anxiety opened up in the pit of your stomach from which nothing can escape. Your underarms began to radiate heat as your mind conjured memories of stuffy high school laboratories. And as your eyes scanned ahead for those dreaded half-English, half-Greek words followed by an equal sign, the probability of you reading on fast approached zero.
But there’s hope! Whether you re...more
I feel as though I should read the book again. I guess at least now I am familiar enough with the concepts which confuse me to be able to sound like I know something about general relativity, quantum mechanics and string theory over beers with friends, and that's the important thing, right?
Greene uses lots of pop cultural referenced examples to illustr...more
You win this round science book **(shakes fist in anger)**
In fact, after reading this book I've given up on science completely in favor the Nabokovian theory of very young earth creationism: The World Was Created This Morning.
"Theoretically there is no absolute proof that one's awakening in the morning (the finding oneself again in the saddle of one's personality) is not really a quite unprecedented event, a perfectly original birth."
Yeah, that does make a bit more sense than most of...more
Good read for those who are curious about the universe we live in, and how human living on this very small planet is doing in trying to understanding the very large universe we live in.
The expansion of universe, especially the spending up of it, lead us to appreciate the stars that we could still see visually now. In 100 billion,...more
I am on the last hour of this and I can say that it's been enjoyable, what with pop-culture examples and smirky asides. The more one visits material the more the ideas stick and as I am a very weak version of velcro, repetition is welcome. When I was a trainer the benchmark was given that you had to incorporate an essential point six times to make sure the meaning was driven home ... so let me say that I now understand the principle of a spinnin...more
By the time you're finished, you'll likely believe
there's no such thing as space, per se, but spacetime
the flow of time is just a pyschological illusion, but
time definitely does have an arrow because all the world is a playing out of events fr...more
Beginning with a simple articulation of space as fixed and absolute in the Newtonian model, Greene uses easy-to-grasp analogies to progress to Einstein's conception of relativity and spacetime, and how gravity in essence represents the warping and curvin...more
I've been amazed both times than anyone could pull this off, since it's been attempted so often but left the subjects either impenetrable or eviscerated.
Greene's salient attribute is clarity: He can find and present the basic contours of just about any scientific discipline in clear, disci...more
I was a little daunted by the subject material to begin with, but soon lost my inhibitions - it's not half as bad as I expected and I'm actually finding myself second-guessing some of the directions and explanations that author is taking in explaining the wierdness of the relativistic and quantum worlds. Either I'm not as deeply stupid as I thought or Greene's treatment is perfect for the non-expert reader.
It's still a challenging...more
As a boy, Brian Greene read Albert Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus and was transformed. Camus, in Greene's paraphrase, insisted that the hero triumphs "by relinquishing everything beyond immediate experience." After wrestling with this idea, however, Greene rejected Camus and realized that his true idols were physicists; scientists who struggled "to assess life and to experience t...more
An outstanding work
In some respects this book is an extension (and a substantial one) of physicist Brian Greene's well-received The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory (1999) in which he attempted the very difficult task of explaining relativity, quantum mechanics, and string theory to the educated layperson while keeping the mathematics in footnotes. Here he...more
In a nutshell, Greene delivers what we know and what we theorize...more
On the special theory, Greene puts a guy named Bart on a skateboard "reading, whistling, yawning, and occasionally glancing at the road" (why is this relevant?), initially heading north, but when he shifts to the northeast, his speed to the north is diverted and slowed down. "That, in a nutshell, is special relativity," Greene writes, presumably showing a relationship between time and space...more
Our understanding of physics today primarily sits in two theories. General Relativity, which accurately explains really big phenomena. And, Quantum Mechanics, which accurately de...more
Oh, god, I'm surprised I finished it. For the most part, I enjoy theoretical physics. I'm not sure if I believe everything that theoretical physics proposes (but then again, I'm not one for blindly allowing myself to be pulled along by an entity I can't see), but I enjoy it nonetheless. And I wanted to enjoy this book, I really did. Greene offers some thought provoking ideas, and he even mentions at one point the author of one of my...more
Greene does a fantastic job simplifying and allegorizing special and general relativity, entropy, the arrow of time, and quantum physics. All the while he shares his huge excitement over new discoveries and the potential of his field.
This was a natural follow-up to The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory. Many of the same topics are discussed - which made a portion of this book redundant. I considered it a nice refresher.
The depth of material in this book was more significant than the first and actually ran into a topic or two that were beyond my understanding - even after trying to do the math. Very entertaining none-the-less.
Did I enjoy it? Yes.
If the idea that time may travel in more than one direction hurts your brain, there's hope for you yet. Greene, author of The Elegant Universe and professor at Columbia University, designed this dazzling overview of physical reality for general readers (and kindly gives ample notice when he's about to delve into physics-speak). Using humorous examples from everyday life, from Larry King and Homer Simpson to earthworms, Greene animates thorny questions of space, time, and reality. Although he str...more