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The Complete Idiot's Guide to String Theory: Take Your Understanding of Physics Into a Whole New Dimension! (The Complete Idiot's Guides)

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3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  168 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
Everything is connected...

We're living in the midst of a scientific revolution that's captured the general public's attention and imagination. The aim of this new revolution is to develop a "theory of everything"—a set of laws of physics that will explain all that can be explained, ranging from the tiniest subatomic particle to the universe as a whole. Here, readers will
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Audio CD, 9 pages
Published May 1st 2009 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published July 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 462)
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Steven Colyer
Jan 05, 2010 Steven Colyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
George Musser has written an excellent introduction to cutting-edge Planck-length scale speculative Physics with the publication of this book. I will conclude this post with my Amazon review. Before doing so, I wish to point out that another similarly-titled book has just been published: String Theory for Dummies, by Andrew Zimmerman Jones. Both are aimed at the Intelligent Layman, but are quite different. Musser, I feel, gives a better and more objective overview of current issues and alternati ...more
Ac
Jan 25, 2016 Ac rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got this book because after watching all those documentaries on the universe and string theory in particular I was pissed that I didn't understand most of the things they were talking about. This book helped in a way, but introduced a ton of new material i wasn't familiar with. There were some explanations of things that were pretty mindblowing, like the size difference between an atom and a string; overall I had 50-60 "WTF" moments where I could not comprehend a single thing.. like "spacetime ...more
Dwight Cates
Jan 20, 2009 Dwight Cates rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent, non-mathematical introduction to string theory, one of the competitors for the Theory of Everything.

So why do we need strings? Well, there are (so far as we know) four fundamental forces in the universe. Unfortunately, right now we need two theories to explain them all -

In the world of the ultra-small quantum mechanics has been incredibly successful at describing what goes on at the molecular level and below. It's been experimentally verified many times over and unites electromagneti
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Rohan
Dec 08, 2014 Rohan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physics-science
Every time I pick a book trying to understand string theory, I end up feeling disappointed and this book (in spite of its title) was no different. This is not a book for idiots. Even after finishing the book, I can barely explain to anyone what String theory is and what it does.

Having said that, this book does talk about Big Bang, Relativity, Black Holes, Time Travel, extra dimensions and other competing theories like Quantum Loop Gravity. Author also talks about Standard Model of Physics, Higg
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Tshepo
Dec 06, 2015 Tshepo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
George Musser deserves special credit for the metaphors included in this book.

A couple of years ago I picked up Sean Carroll's The Particle At The End of The Universe and as much as I really liked it for being a simple enough entry level read, quite a lot of things still remained unclear to me, especially with regard to the standard model. George Musser's explanations and metaphors in The Complete Idiot's Guide to String Theory, although only having an even more condensed overview of the standar
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Liza Gilbert
Well, it doesn't fulfill the "Idiot" portion of its title. To read this book you either need a basic background in quantum physics or the kind of patience required to read and reread many sections of the book.

Musser did an excellent job of explaining what was theory and what had actually been proven, and he also illustrated competing theories. The graphics were a lifesaver, and made difficult passages easier to understand.

I do have a better grasp on string theory after reading this book. However
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Sara
Jan 15, 2012 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not going to pretend I read this whole book. I didn't even come close.
I checked it out at my library because I am looking into a possible major in physics and I just wanted to see what was going on. (I am very much leaning against majoring in it though.)

Other reviewers are commenting that it is difficult to understand, but if you have a basic knowledge of physics you can probably manage.

I won't be able to explain string theory to someone now, but I will be able to answer them if they ask m
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Keith Peck
Not bad. After reading, I became officially an incomplete idiot. But definitely "light."
Michael Funck
This didn't work well for me as an audiobook.
Brian
Nov 15, 2014 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Decent primer of quantum physics
Pedro Plassen
Feb 16, 2010 Pedro Plassen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Provides a decent introduction about the Relativity Theory, Quantum physics, time, black holes (interesting explanations about what might be inside them), Big Bang; dotting with some visual examples allowing the reader to understand. After that it goes, not to deeply, in to the String Theory itself, also mentioning its competing theory - Quantum Loop Gravity. The author is careful to remark these are 'in development' theories which still might not be enough to find a unifying theory that explain ...more
Mr. B
Aug 12, 2012 Mr. B rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Regardless of what the title says, this book is not for idiots. I'm guessing that someone with a background in physics would be able to access the material a little easier, but I found myself reading passages and not understanding what I had just read. It was a good lesson for me as a teacher--I have more empathy for students who struggle.

I did learn a lot, though, and not just about strings: quantum mechanics, relativity, loop gravitity... my brain is leaking from my ears.
Matt Bracksieck
Regardless of what the title says, this book is not for idiots. I'm guessing that someone with a background in physics would be able to access the material a little easier, but I found myself reading passages and not understanding what I had just read. It was a good lesson for me as a teacher--I have more empathy for students who struggle.

I did learn a lot, though, and not just about strings: quantum mechanics, relativity, loop gravitity... my brain is leaking from my ears.
Ben
Nov 29, 2010 Ben rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Glad I read it, but I think the imagery and analogies make many of the subjects even more difficult. But its a difficult tasks to try and cover the topic for a variety of readers.

Still somewhat enlightening on some physical topics, but hopefully it will be outdated soon with more research and discovery :)
Bram
Dec 23, 2011 Bram rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The book is difficult to understand, certainly not for idiots.

What's wrong with all these silly metaphors? For example,
"The amount of energy comes in discrete units, like M&Ms. You can’t eat half an M&M and you can’t have half a unit of energy; it’s either one or zero."
Olof
Aug 18, 2014 Olof rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, I don't think a complete idiot would understand all in this book... But for a physics-buff it should be compulsory reading :) Many parts WERE easy to understand. And it was written in an amusing way :)
BakuDreamer
Feb 28, 2013 BakuDreamer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the book I wish I could mail to myself in the past. ( Tachyonic anti-mail ? ) To when I was 11. ( The explication of Bell's inequality sucks, but everything else is great ) List's Borge's ' Ficcione ' in the ' further reading ' ( that rocks )
Dianna Caley
Sep 21, 2012 Dianna Caley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


So, the whole book may turn out to be fiction, but kudos to the author. He makes string theory and the competing theories come alive. He has a talent for vivid imagery that makes the theories intelligible and interesting.
Linda
The book was a good layman's representative of String theory. It is definitely something to read if you want a basic overview and understanding of String Theory and a run down of the other current theories out there.
Adina
Aug 21, 2009 Adina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do not have much background in physics, so for this author to be able to shed some light to me on this topic was amazing. I did find out how much I do not know and new, interesting questions to ponder.
Jim Johnson
Jul 09, 2013 Jim Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lot of this was still over my head but the author was an excellent communicator. There was a lot to learn and this book did a great job of laying out the case for string "theory".
Heather
Jan 03, 2011 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-read, own, science
A lot went over my head but overall I got a good picture...not that I could explain it well...looking forward to more books on the subject.
Heather Hornbacher
Too much time spent on information around String Theory and not enough about String Theory. The way it was organized was not logical to me.
Jef
Aug 08, 2009 Jef rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally I grok the YC space idea, but it turns out that we might not live in a compactified space afterall.
Loamarie
Not sure if I fully grasp the concepts, even after reading the idiot's guide to string theory...
Joel Weinert
Seems like a good primer. Spoiler: 3 leptons combine to form a proton.
Amy
Feb 04, 2011 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it...I found it very interesting and easy to understand.
Irina
Dec 17, 2008 Irina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Believe the title. Recommended ONLY for the truly idiotic.
Edelhart Kempeneers
Boeiend gebracht.
Hank Stram
Hank Stram rated it liked it
Apr 30, 2016
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George Musser is a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT and a contributing editor for Scientific American magazine, where he focuses on space science and fundamental physics. He is the recipient of the 2011 Science Writing Award from the American Institute of Physics and the 2010 Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award from the American Astronomical Society. Musser was one of the ...more
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