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Reinventing Gravity: A Physicist Goes Beyond Einstein

3.54  ·  Rating Details  ·  76 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Einstein's gravity theory—his general theory of relativity—has served as the basis for a series of astonishing cosmological discoveries. But what if, nonetheless, Einstein got it wrong?

Since the 1930s, physicists have noticed an alarming discrepancy between the universe as we see it and the universe that Einstein's theory of relativity predicts. There just doesn't seem to
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Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 30th 2008 by Smithsonian (first published September 20th 2008)
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William Schram
Jan 01, 2016 William Schram rated it liked it
The author spends a lot of time telling us the reason why a paradigm shift for our thoughts on gravity is necessary. Most of it is about how a lot of the data doesn't agree with the theory anymore. Also, it is difficult to observe a lot of the things predicted in the theory and to accommodate it, it is necessary to invent things like Dark Energy and Dark Matter, which can't really be observed.

Thus, the author wants to simplify the current paradigm of gravity. To do this he develops a modified gr
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David
Mar 31, 2009 David rated it liked it
Interesting effort by a physicist from U. Toronto to explain his modified (from Einstein's theory) theory of gravity. He sets it against the prevailing (I gather) wisdom that Einstein's model can be patched up to account for anomalous data by proposing that most of the matter in the universe is invisible "dark matter" that no one has been able thus far to detect. He's also skeptical about string theory and black holes.

I understood the philosophy of science aspects (e.g., emphasis on testable, fa
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Yankey
Feb 09, 2015 Yankey rated it really liked it
Don't let the subject matter scare you off. Even if you are not a science, math or other kind of Geek, this will be a good read.

John Moffat spends the first half of this book detailing the history regarding mans understanding of gravity. His style is patient, grounded and understandable to laymen.

Archimedes, Newton and Einstein all conceived concepts of gravity that were generations ahead of their time. The theories these geniuses put forward have been used in the development of all types of
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Rossdavidh
Dec 21, 2015 Rossdavidh rated it liked it
Shelves: red
What to say about a physicist who decides that maybe his entire profession is wrong about gravity? Whatever you may think of his theory, he is not an obvious crank, who you can safely disregard. But then, neither is he an obvious genius, correct when (nearly) all others are wrong. He is in that nebulous gray area between the two. Reading his book, gives you a lot of food for thought, and not only about physics.

Nowadays, we can take it for granted that when Newton, or Kepler, or Copernicus, or Ei
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Carl Schmidt
Jan 12, 2015 Carl Schmidt rated it really liked it
Some of the other reviews were critical of this book for spending too much time regurgitating the history of gravity theories, and treading somewhat lightly on the topic of MOG (Modified Gravity) itself. However, as a layperson interested in the world of physics, I found the balance about right. Had the author delved into MOG's equations, I think the appeal of the book to a wider audience would have been more limited. It's well written, well-researched, and enjoyable to read. In short, if you've ...more
Benoit Galarneau
Jul 09, 2015 Benoit Galarneau rated it it was ok
Je n'ai pas fini ce livre.
Il s'ouvre sur une très belle histoire de la science physique. De Newton à Einstein en passant par Maxwell, on saisit bien l'enjeu fondamental d'unifier les concepts de physique. On y explique comment sont apparu les théories modernes du Big Bang, de l’expansion de l’univers et de la mécanique quantique. On y retrouve une certaine ironie dans l’exposition de concepts qui n’ont pas tenu la route (comme l’éther) mais qui faisaient office de vérité pendant un temps.
Le but
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Vegantrav
Feb 15, 2009 Vegantrav rated it really liked it
If you are at all interested in physics, astronomy, and cosmology, then you should take the time to peruse this book. Moffat looks at some of the most exotic and complicated issues in present day physics--dark matter, dark energy, inflation, the accelerating growth of the universe, black holes, the cosmological constant--and proposes a new theory that quite simply does away with these puzzles.

Moffat is particularly motivated by the problem of dark matter. Rather than accepting the orthodox view
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Mike Howells
This book does not actually explain the authors theory very well. The first half of this book is basically a brief history of gravity. Obviously it's important to have that background, but anyone reading this book is probably going to know most of it already, and it's covered in many other books. The rest of the book talks about various theories and the observations that either reinforce or disprove them. We don't get into the author's MOG or MSTG or whatever it's real name is until two-thirds o ...more
Mike Howells
Jan 09, 2014 Mike Howells rated it it was ok
This book does not actually explain the authors theory very well.

The first half is basically a brief history of gravity. Obviously it's important to have that background, and it's quite well done, but anyone reading this book is probably going to know most of it already, and it's covered in many other books.

The rest of the book talks about cosmological anomalies and various alternative theories that try to account for them. We don't get into the author's MOG or MSTG or whatever it's real name i
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Josh Ronsen
Apr 28, 2014 Josh Ronsen rated it really liked it
A very well-written history of our evolving ideas about gravity. However, Moffat is somewhat vague about his own revolutionary theory that posits a 5th force of nature. Perhaps it is too complicated to describe to the general reader, but after reading the book I cannot tell you any details about it.

Moffat unfairly criticizes Inflation theories for inventing a new particle, the Inflaton. But in modern (quantum) field theory, every field has a particle associated with it. When Moffat gets around t
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Zoffix Znet
Nov 10, 2013 Zoffix Znet rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Torture. I feel completely exhausted after reading this book. While the beginning is somewhat entertaining, the book quickly slides into the "Brief History of Time" motif exhibited by virtually every other popular cosmology book. The later half can be summed up in a single sentence: "MOG theory conforms to experimental data and avoids dark matter". Some pages could be ripped out of the book without its losing any of information value. The idea of MOG theory avoiding dark matter is repeated proba ...more
Kevin
Nov 22, 2008 Kevin rated it really liked it
Though this book avoids any formulas and equations, its description of theories of gravity and concerning gravity get rather technical. I liked the history of the planet Vulcan and the descriptions of how science works.

What I liked most was to find that a real physicist has conceived a theory that avoids dark matter, dark energy, black holes, and possibly even the Big Bang. As a scientist, but not a physicist, I have not felt comfortable with these concepts. It appears that Dr. Moffat's new theo
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Ibrahim
Jan 01, 2016 Ibrahim marked it as to-read
Shelves: cosmology, physics
I wonder where John W. Moffat stands from Brian Schmidt and how both of them confronted one another!
to be read ..
Genessa
Aug 29, 2014 Genessa added it
Shelves: nonfiction
While I respect Dr Moffat's creativity in searching for a way to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity, he has been spending a lot of page space so far on mocking previously held or alternative theories to his own. This as he ignores the rather large leap (a fifth major force? hmm) entailed in his Modified Gravity theory.
however, I'm interested enough in how he came up with said theory and his proofs and justifications to keep reading. and also I'm doing a presentation on modern gr
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Matt
Jun 07, 2009 Matt rated it it was ok
All the talk of nonsymmetric-tensors really lost me. I think maybe the trouble is that this guy's been too busy actually trying to develop a falsifiable theory, instead of coming up with conceptual explanations, which, as he loves to point out, those string theorists have plenty of time to do, what with their ideas being untestable and all. The differences between his gravity and relativity are slightly less crazy than I was hoping they'd be. BUT there is an entertaining dose of ego-centric catt ...more
Glyn Longden
Jul 25, 2011 Glyn Longden rated it liked it
Moffat, who is at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, has always been a maverick in the world of cosmology and physics. He makes a case that dark matter, which supposedly makes up about 25% of the universe, doesn't
really exist and that his own modified gravity theory(MOG) can explain many of the mysteries in the universe. Is Moffat right? Probably not, but at least he's not afraid to throw out some new ideas in light of the apparent failure of string theory to provide explanations for the oper
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Rod
Nov 28, 2008 Rod rated it did not like it
Shelves: science
First few chapters are a good review of progress toward a unified theory of quantum gravity. Goes downhill from there with the author arguing for his own theory, which repudiates Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.

AFAIK, the General Theory predicts all know experimental results, and is accepted by virtually all workers in the field. Except for this author. The non-specialist reader should be aware the the last two thirds of the book represents a distinctly minority position among workers in
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Faith
Aug 08, 2012 Faith rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I understand that this book is made for the general public.. but to write equations in sentences really put me off. Other than that i prefer MOG than the dark matter candidate to explain the "missing masses". Also in this book he explains how MOG could compliment in the standard models, giving few physical examples (including brief literature) on galaxies blackhole space time etc.. i'm still little put off with the literature... I get bored before going into how MOG could provide an alternate so ...more
Michael
Sep 09, 2010 Michael rated it liked it
Moffatt is really trying to start something. He presents provocative arguments against such theories as the Big Bang, dark matter, the cosmological constant (speed of light), black holes, and string theory (he calls string theorists a "lost generation"), and offers a "modified gravity theory" to reconcile the mess he makes of modern physics' favorite concepts.
Julian Haigh
Dec 08, 2012 Julian Haigh rated it liked it
Didn't understand much, but enjoyed it as a current (and not talking down to me) book on physics: gravity, cosmology and string theory. Interesting: I endeavour to be able to come back to the subject material with more understanding a second time.
Steve
Feb 15, 2009 Steve rated it liked it
Shelves: science
Interesting alternative to dark matter and dark energy, explanations for faster galaxy rotation than matter in galaxy will allow and accelerating expansion of our universe. More data and testing will be required to validate his approach.
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