The Fabric of the Cosmos (Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Fabric of the Cosmos (Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality)

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  14,760 ratings  ·  556 reviews
From Brian Greene, one of the world’s leading physicists and author the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Elegant Universe, 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? Coul...more
Paperback, 569 pages
Published 2004 by Alfred Knopf (first published November 12th 2003)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill BrysonA Brief History of Time by Stephen HawkingCosmos by Carl SaganThe Selfish Gene by Richard DawkinsGuns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
Best Science Books - Non-Fiction Only
36th out of 687 books — 1,730 voters
A Brief History of Time by Stephen HawkingThe Elegant Universe by Brian GreeneCosmos by Carl SaganThe Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian GreeneThe Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking
Cosmology
4th out of 66 books — 76 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Greg
I like to talk shit about science sometimes. Sometimes it's just to push people's buttons and other times it's because of the pop side of science is ridiculous (you know like the studies that get quoted on your web-browsers start-up page, which may even be contradicted a few days from now by some other article, or all those fucking pharmaceutical ad's on TV. Hey, thanks Pfizer for helping make me a drug addict!). I just made a slight at pop-science and that is hypocritical of me, it's really the...more
Trevor
Did you know that Schrödinger’s equation is a perfect anagram of “A Second Herring Quits”? And is a near perfect anagram of “Surely someone’s taking the piss”? The second anagram relies, of course (and almost entirely), on a rather judicious application of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle – but I do think that one may be more illuminating of how I’m finding some of the quantum mechanical experiments described in this book.

There is part of me that would like to believe that in the early part o...more
Joe
You probably know more about physics than you think.

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
Jen Padgett Bohle
Dec 13, 2007 Jen Padgett Bohle rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: tenacious liberal arts majors and science geeks
Hmmm...I can now talk basics about String Theory and physics at a cocktail party. Get me into anything more than general commentary, discoveries, famous names and famous theories, and I'm completely at a loss. Green is a likable and passionate author, but for readers without a physics knowledge base, his little treatise is tough going, even with all the Simpsons references. I remember the most important concepts, but the intricacies didn't stick with me. This book is best read in segments, prefe...more
Kristen
I GIVE UP

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
Larry Webber
I finally finished Brian Greene's Fabric of the Cosmos and I am more confused than ever about string theory, M-theory and the nature of spacetime.
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
Mike
This is a great book that does an excellent job of explaining some of the toughest ideas in modern physics. My only criticism is that Greene can't figure out who his audience is: there's an odd mix of esoterica and the mundane. Most of the esoteric stuff is banished to the footnotes, which are well worth reading--and I suppose I should be happy that it's there at all, since most books on modern science are written with Hawking's Editor's Law in mind: with each equation, your audience shrinks by...more
David
This is a nice overview of modern physics, including implications of relativity (specific and general), quantum mechanics and string theory, together with a discussion of the implications for cosmology. Some of the interesting items discussed here include the notion that during the "Planck time", ie, 10^(-34) sec or so after the Big Bang, space and time had no meaning, that our 3-D universe may be only an illusion of an underlying 11-dimensional universe, and reality may be coded in a cosmic "ho...more
Paul 'Pezski' Perry
Feb 07, 2012 Paul 'Pezski' Perry rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: anyone wanting to understand our universe
Glancing at the reviews for Brian Greene's overview of how we view the stuff of which our universe is made, it seems that some people base their rating and opinion on how much they agree with the science, or how credible they find it. While I have read a fair few popular science books – especially in the areas of physics and cosmology, areas I find utterly fascinating and about which I am perplexed that anyone can not be astounded and beguiled – I have to assume that I am reading a fair explanat...more
DJ
If mathematically challenged aliens (who had somehow acquired a spacecraft) landed on Earth and requested a single book to sum up our species' understanding of space, time, and physics, we would do best to give them The Fabric of the Cosmos.

Pop sci books on physics have a nasty habit of either aiming too general and leaving the reader with only a fuzzy sense of awe or aiming too specific and leaving the reader with a few random facts and a general confusion over how scientists can get so excited...more
soul
“Ако не можеш да обясниш нещо на баба си, значи ти самият не го разбираш.” (казал Айнщайн)
Без съмнение учените разбират от това, с което се занимават. Но на много от тях, пишещи и книги, липсва тази тъничка подробност с обясняването и простичкото предаване на сложната материя. От тези, които съм чела, с изключение на Карл Сейгън, Боб Бърман и Брайън Грийн, на останалите в различна степен им е трудно да избягат от академичния стил, сложните термини и формулите. Грийн обаче успява доста добре, ма...more
Michael
If there is one subject I struggle with, it's the hard sciences. But Brian Greene's book is written exactly for people like me who probably haven't picked up a science book since high school and are mathmatically handicapped. And given the importance of the research going on, the discoveries so far, and the possibilities that are coming soon that may change our world in some really significant ways, it is also an important book.
In a nutshell, Greene delivers what we know and what we theorize...more
David
Referencing Camus’ ultimate philosophical statement that the only question worth considering is suicide, Brian Green states at the beginning of this book that the ultimate question is really, “What is space?” and takes some 500+ pages to trace the chase for an answer. He nailed the question, but never came to a definitive answer—because there isn’t one. But he did an incredible job of discussing it, taking a hack like myself through the paces of Newtonian physics, Einstein’s theories of relativi...more
Jay
Did Greene plagiarise a section of his book? More on that later.

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
John
Lots of really interesting things in this book. I didn't realize physics had progressed so far in finding a unification theory.

What I found most interesting would probably horrify the author because, while he didn't say so in so many words, he apparently really believes that physics is, or can be, the answer to everything. I, on the other hand, believe there is a God, the Christian God, who has a hand in our existence.

I have always thought it curious that descriptions of God or angels appearing...more
Campbell Mcaulay
This is is a life changing book on a par with Blind Watchmaker.

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
Bob Nichols
In this book Greene is surprisingly unclear regarding Einstein's theory of special and general relativity.

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
Omar nagib
in comparison with other best-selling popular science books as "the grand design" and "brief history of time", this book is the best of all among my readings so far.

it's written in a very simple language so that a non-native English speaker like me can understand it easily, the use of common analogies to convey deep scientific ideas is very useful,contains lots of diagrams which are informative, it covers very wide range of areas in physics starting from classical mechanics to relativity and qua...more
Erica
Physics is such a strange science, and yet, it's also the most elemental. The wild theories these folks come up with are mind-bending, almost whimsical. But are mathmaticians the only ones who have a claim on reality? There seems to be a strain of hubris running through the book - if we keep running more and more experiments and solving more complex math problems, we'll have all the answers. One YouTube video description refers to Greene as an "evangelist" and it's difficult to argue with that c...more
Laura Cowan
Somewhat similar to Sean Carroll's From Eternity to Here, all about the nature of the universe, time, and how quantum physics is both revolutionizing our worldview and still leaves us major challenges to overcome in pursuing a unified theory of spacetime that explains all phenomena. My only issue with Brian Greene is that he repeats certain statements and material a bit from section to section and book to book. This is probably good for people only reading certain sections because you have to ha...more
Art
Jun 30, 2008 Art rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Art by: Katharine
God, where should I start. I was first turned on to this book by Kat. Her brain is much more powerful than mine, so I am now reading it again to try and get my thoughts around a little more of it. It is an excellent book; however, I just lack the background knowledge to fully understand a lot of it. Perhaps I should say, to understand it at any applicable level. I can understand most of the concepts and ideas, I just cannot envision many of them. Still, the little I have been able to absorb has...more
Marin Popa
Written with great enthusiasm and no trace of condescendence towards lay readers.
I was thrilled by the journey and I felt compelled to read carefully every word.
OK, I struggled to follow some parts, despite reading some chapters twice but I feel it was due to my limitations.
Great orator and teacher - I felt like being back at school (I must confess - I was geeky back then) - he helped me understand better some physics concepts.
Is not the first book I read about the understanding of the works of...more
Gregory
Difficult. Slow-going. Have to digest in parts. Ultimately accessible, however. I have to confess that I'd never understood some of the most basic and exciting ideas of modern physics until this book...e.g., the relationship between time and speed; general / special relativity. Now at least I've got the basics. The best part of the book, though, goes well beyond the basics to vivid explorations of the most profoundly weird - and exciting - ideas about the essential nature of the universe.
Skip Jackson
My favorite book on cosmology, quantum theory and the ongoing effort to find a Theory of Everything (TOE). I'm a musician and writer, not a scientist. But this book is clear, incredibly interesting,well written and understandable for amateurs who are interested in the fundamental questions of how we got here, what we 're made of, and what will happen in the future.
The take-away is that no-one, not even the most brilliant physicist understands how the universe (or multiverse) works on a fundamen...more
Jay
Nov 03, 2007 Jay rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: semi-nerds
If there's any accessibility to be found in modern theoretical physics, this is the old college try. Well written, involving, and leads to reckless amounts of navel gazing.

Perfect for procrastinating because you feel smarter when you've finished a chunk, which feels more important than the dishes, the laundry, etc.
Gina
Nov 09, 2007 Gina marked it as to-read Recommends it for: anyone interested in quantum physics
I've barely made a dent in this book. The introduction is dry because the author has to give you the tools you need to understand what he explores in this book. I can't wait to get into the meat and potatoes of this book. I've always felt that time was not this finite linear concept but more like an onion with many layers.
Evelyn
I need to differentiate my nonfiction books more.

Greene's analogies are wonderful, always on point. If you average him with Feynman, you get my physics teacher from last year...(view spoiler). Engaging material. Time and space as granular at the lowest levels? Fascinating. I'd encountered the holographic black holes in The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes...more
Bill Scarvie
A challenging and thoroughly engaging guided tour of everything that is and the science that reveals it. No math required. Highly recommended to the curious and cosmologically inclined.
Justin Larsen
The Fabric of the Cosmos was a good survey of the way that humanity built its knowledge of physics from the classical model to the quantum mechanical model.

I felt like the book became a different text at the end when it diverged into hypotheticals. I could have done without the 'would time travel work' and in-depth string theory section, but it's Brian Greene's area of interest so I wasn't surprised when it ended there. If I were to just consider the first 3/4's of the book, I'd say it was a fou...more
Owen Rafferty
Good book, this book would suit anybody that has an interest in physics that does not have a lot of knowledge on the subject. I found the book to have too many analogies on basic concepts which bored me. At about page 350 to the end of the book I found it to be really boring, this final part of the book focuses on string theory, the branch of physics that Brian Greene, the author, specializes in. My favorite parts of the book were p 220-300 Greene talks about the Higgs-Boson and grand unificatio...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Landscape of ...: The Fabric of the Cosmos 1 2 Jan 15, 2014 12:09PM  
Science and Inquiry: New fabric of the cosmos doc out !! 4 48 Nov 19, 2011 09:50AM  
  • The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe
  • The Inflationary Universe: The Quest for a New Theory of Cosmic Origins
  • Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe
  • The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science and What Comes Next
  • From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time
  • The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics
  • Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the Tenth Dimension
  • Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy
  • The Whole Shebang A State-of-the-Universe(s) Report
  • Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions
  • Six Easy Pieces: Essentials of Physics By Its Most Brilliant Teacher
  • The Illustrated A Brief History of Time and the Universe in a Nutshell
  • In Search of the Multiverse
  • The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality
  • Endless Universe: Beyond the Big Bang
  • The Fabric of Reality: The Science of Parallel Universes--and Its Implications
509
Brian Greene is an American theoretical physicist and one of the best-known string theorists. He has been a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University since 1996. He has become known to a wider audience through his books for the general public and a related PBS television special.
More about Brian Greene...
The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos Icarus at the Edge of Time The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2006 隠れていた宇宙 [Kakurete Ita Uchū] 1

Share This Book

“Understanding requires insight. Insight must be anchored.” 19 likes
“Cosmology is among the oldest subjects to captivate our species. And it’s no wonder. We’re storytellers, and what could be more grand than the story of creation?” 17 likes
More quotes…