Warped Passages
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Warped Passages

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  2,078 ratings  ·  120 reviews
The universe has many secrets. It may hide additional dimensions of space other than the familier three we recognize. There might even be another universe adjacent to ours, invisible and unattainable . . . for now.

Warped Passages is a brilliantly readable and altogether exhilarating journey that tracks the arc of discovery from early twentieth-century physics to the razor'...more
ebook, 512 pages
Published November 10th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Robert
Jan 30, 2011 Robert rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
Shelves: science
I reviewed this once before and a tecnical snafu ate it when I tried to up load it...

This book is dreadful: here are the many reasons why:

The material is disorganised. The book is ostensibly about extra spatial dimensions. The concepts are introduced in the first few chapters then don't re-appear until the last few chapters. The Standard Model is introduced twice.

The explanations are poor and sometimes wrong. The section on the Pauli Principle is riddled with errors and omissions that should emb...more
Marilyn
If you love particle physics you'll probably love this book.

The first and last fourths of the book were really interesting and mostly about new theories in particle physics.

The middle half of the book slogs through a brief history of particle physics, string theory, and multiple dimensions.

She employs a few odd tools. Most chapters begin with an Alice in Wonderland like story that is meant to demonstrate the concept to be discussed. Some readers may find it witty and amusing but I found it dist...more
Koen Crolla
People make too much of condescension in science writers; I've seen several reviews now praise Randall for not being condescending or patronising, possibly because Randall herself mentions that she wrote the book because so many others struck her as being patronising or condescending and professional reviewers are usually journalists and journalists are lazy hacks.
In actual fact, any work of popular science, particularly in the field of physics, is going to be condescending in places by necessit...more
Chris Lynch
"Every now and then a man's mind is stretched by a new idea or sensation, and never shrinks back to its former dimensions." (O.W. Holmes, Sr. 1858)

Holmes would, I think, have agreed that this book is a provider of such mind-stretching ideas. Here you'll find an excellent discussion of some of the more radical new ideas from the model-building camp of theoretical physics. Taking ideas of higher dimensions and branes borrowed from string theory, Prof. Randall and co-researchers have produced inter...more
Mike
Oct 29, 2011 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
A few weeks ago I came across an interesting blurb about Ms. Randall's latest book. Since I was unfamiliar with her or any prior books (one was mentioned in the write up), I did some cursory digging and found that she had written her first book in the mid-2000s. Because I wanted to be "fair" before reading the just-published book, I felt obligated to read the earlier one. Now that was a gigantic mistake! (Not the reading, just the "obligated" part.)

"Warped Passages" is a superbly written book by...more
B. Factor
Chock full of misleading analogies, painful allegories, and irrelevant material cut-and-pasted from other failed writing projects.
Karl W.
Through the early pages of the book, Dr. Randall's writing style drove me nearly crazy, but as I continued to read, either she started to get her bearings or else I got more used to it. In any event, I found this a fascinating book. Technically it is very challenging -- I am not going to pretend that I truly grasped most of what she was writing about; however, I was able, at least at some level, to follow the story she was telling, and that was a welcome sort of challenge. I enjoyed this book en...more
Ron
I thought this book, particularly when compared to, say, Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe, continually fell short of its ambitions. It's prose is only adequate and often misestimates the lay reader's level of understanding. I also found it annoying for its frequent injection of self-promotion. I can well understand that Randall might have much to say about being female and a physicist, but there is a kind of thinly-hidden effort to impress us as a kind of uber-babe, a rock climbing, equation...more
Rama
Is gravity weaker than other three forces? A solution to the hierarchy problem in physics

Gravity is the weakest forces of all the four forces of our universe, because, according to the author, it is concentrated in another spatial dimension of the universe, and these extra dimensions could be infinitely large. The summary of this book is as follows: We live in a three-dimensional pocket of higher dimensional space, also called branes. It is like a bead on a wire that can only move along one dime...more
Yasemin
It is annoying me that you rarely get female science authors who are on the same level as let's say Matt Ridley. It's not just science, it is a lot of genres and other things as well but let's stick with Lisa Randall's book for now.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a feminist, I am extremely apolitical. I experience the world from a bird's eye view while my feet are still on the ground

I liked the book, it is an introduction to "how stuff works" but it was not necessary for me to continue as I was already fa...more
Heather
I know I won't be able to truly understand quantum mechanics and particle physics until I sit down and learn the math somehow...but I thought Lisa Randall did an amazing job trying. I caught glimpses of our invisible world of virtual particles, gluons, squarks, 5th dimensions and branes.

My world has been rocked. Nuff said.
Paul
A good introduction to cutting-edge theoretical physics; Randall alerts the reader to the new particle accelerator - the Large Hadron Collider - at CERN in Switzerland, which will be able to test some predictions of theoretical models that involve such highly speculative notions as strings, extra dimensions, and supersymmetry.
Cameron
Randall's writing is difficult to follow, and she uses lackluster devices to create muddled visions of her examples. The theories were interesting, but getting to them was the hardest part.
Erik Malvick
A decent physics book. It's not very condescending but does a great job of using metaphors to build up one's understanding of quantum physics, string theory, and multiple dimensions... all of which are quite complex but at least from this book conceptually understandable.

I found some of the "fairy tale" type prefaces to each chapter a bit annoying by the end of the book and often felt they added nothing (although a few were useful). By the end of the book, I found her chronicles of her own theor...more
Gendou
Horrible writing, but interesting material.
Hard core science, but highly speculative.

I can't begin to tell you how aggravating the author's redundant writing style is!!! The author writes everything out three times. Every sentence in the book is repeated over and over. Irritatingly, Randall repeats each sentence three times. It's like she's being paid per word. The book could have easily been made a concise 200 pages, instead of 450.

The book's focus on the author's own personal work is understan...more
Laura
This book gave me what I was looking for: a qualitative understanding of string theory, so I'm giving it three stars. Lack of clarity in some sections knocks it down from a 4 or 5. It is aiming to a science illiterate audience and I suspect it reaches them very unevenly.

This book begins with extremely gentle hand holding while covering some basic mathematically concepts. Bullet points are kindly given at the end of chapters so the math or physics literate audience can skim the early chapters wit...more
Simon
This book might as well have been titled I Hope the LHC Proves Me Right. LHC stands for Large Hadron Collider, and it's just one of many scientific acronyms and abbreviations that Lisa Randall drills into the reader's head. Of course, Randall knows that one can't become a physics expert by learning acronyms alone. To be sure, she leads the reader on a brief tour of modern physics - starting with definitions of fundamental building blocks of matter - and this fills the first third (about) of the...more
Ben
I couldn't finish the book, so I took her suggestion and finished up the last hundred pages or so by reading the main bullet points at the end of every chapter. I found this book to be long-winded at times, but nothing against her, as I'm sure that she's a brilliant physicist. I just found her writing style to be too light and all over the place (granted, it is a difficult topic to write about to the lay person). She seemed awfully upbeat about the promise of string theory, barely acknowledging...more
Ryan
I don't feel entirely comfortable writing a detailed review of this book, because I didn't fully read through the entire thing - it was due back at the library, so I only had a chance to skim through the last few chapters. Eventually I'll get back to the rest of it, however.

Randall provides an introductory-level approach to string theory, as well as the history of physics leading up to it (Newton, Einstein, and that type of stuff). She does so in a relaxed, easy to follow manner that's definitel...more
David
Growing up, I wondered about the dimensions mentioned in the intro to the Twilight Zone. Then later I read the conflicts Superman had with Mister Mxyzptlk, an imp from another dimension. I also raised the question with my chemistry teacher in high school, who asserted other dimensions were possible. So when I picked up Ms. Randall's book I expected to learn about other mysterious dimensions. I also knew that according to string theory, sup-particle strings vibrated in ten dimensions. However. wh...more
Zoffix Znet
I don't feel the book lives up to its title. As the review on the cover promises, I was expecting to be dazzled with new concepts. Instead, first 350 pages I kept asking, "Are we there yet?" Before talking about the actual "Warped Passages", Lisa Randall tries to squeeze Relativity, String Theory, Supersymmetry, and Quantum Mechanics into this book, as well as touches on several key issues in physics, such as the hierarchy problem and weak symmetry breaking. I can't say she did a good job explai...more
Mary-Jean Harris
A very comprehensive and interesting book about other dimensions, string theory, gravity, and a whole lot more that you've probably never dreamed of. It is best read by people who know a little physics or other science, but most intelligent readers would be able to understand just about all of the book. It's written in a really fun way and is really exciting!
Ethan
Sep 15, 2007 Ethan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nerds
Shelves: memebase
I like Lisa Randall's science writing because she gives evidence in her prose of being a human. Her prose is wonky and academic, but in a wry, Futurama kind of way, full of pop culture and politics and journalistic observation. Even more importantly, she uses pictures, good ones, attractively rendered and laid-out pictures. And by far most importantly, she uses music. She quotes a different well-known pop song at the beginning of each chapter, with lyrics always bearing in some jokey way on that...more
Lee Drake
While I'm initially very skeptical of the presence of other dimensions, Randall's arguments are better than most. She argues that photons themselves could necessarily be constrained to our observable dimensions, thus they could be up to a millimeter in size. She does go over string theory with emphasis on multi-dimensional Calabi-Yau folds that could hold 6 dimensions (while being ultra-microscopic on Plank distances themselves).

All in all, an interesting and new direction in Physics, though ti...more
ranjit mathoda
Randall is a Harvard professor of physics who provides a non-mathematical review of why space may have more than the 3 spatial dimensions and the 1 temporal dimension we are familiar with. The short answer is that experiments bashing particles into each other show very strange results, which make better sense if certain attributes of those particles and the forces that interact with them operate in dimensions beyond the ones we're directly aware of. Like other books of its type, such as Stephen...more
Cyndie
Jun 18, 2014 Cyndie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cyndie by: Stephen P. Johnson Sr.
Shelves: non-fiction, own
I won't begin to pretend that I completely wrapped my mind around everything in this book. It definitely peaked by curiosity and I am intrigued to learn more, but this is no "particle physics for dummies". Some fascinating concepts contained within. Definitely helped open my eyes to some of the crazier aspects of our world.
Forn
Da bin ich mal gespannt. Mit Brian Greenes elegantem Universum kam ich nur begrenzt zurecht.
Und mit diesem Buch leider ebenso, wenn nicht sogar weniger, auch wenn mir einige Konzepte aus Greenes Buch hier sicherlich weitergeholfen haben.
Die kleinen Geschichten am Anfang jedes Kapitels fand ich nicht besonders hilfreich, sie störten den Lesefluss (sofern dieser überhaupt aufkam).
Im Mittelteil verstand ich gar nichts mehr und ich war öfters kurz davor, das Buch wegzulegen. Dem Ende zu wird es wied...more
Jim
I must admit that I did not finish this book. Certainly my own intellectual inadequacies are partly to blame, as I found myself lost during some portions of the material on the Standard Model. However, I believe Dr. Randall is also at fault, as the book is neither as well-organized nor as lucidly written as those of Brian Greene, Stephen Hawking, or others who write about complex scientific topics for general readers. I agree with other reviewers who found the cutesy chapter introductions to be...more
Anna Aizic
finally a book explaining complicated issues; highly recommend this book to everyone, who ever wondered about Time, Space, LIFE....yet not a scientist.
Sean O'Neil
interesting theories, but that's all they are -- theories. I got this book after watching Charlie Rose interview Prof Randall and I'll admit that I found her attractive and interesting, so I wanted to see what she had to say. I think if I were a student at Harvard (an unlikely turn of events) I'd be more enthralled by looking at her than by her theories. Sure, that sounds sexist. But I don't find much use for her theorizing, other than as generic intellectual deconstruction. She's suggesting tha...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Combine New Edition 3 17 Jun 10, 2012 12:15AM  
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  • The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe
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  • Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe
  • Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy
  • Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes on the Cosmos
  • Dreams of a Final Theory: The Scientist's Search for the Ultimate Laws of Nature
  • About Time: Einstein's Unfinished Revolution
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  • Before the Big Bang: The Prehistory of Our Universe
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LISA RANDALL is Professor of Physics at Harvard University. She began her physics career at Stuyvesant High School in New York City. She was a finalist, and tied for first place, in the National Westinghouse Science Talent Search. She went on to Harvard where she earned the BS (1983) and PhD (1987) in physics. She was a President's Fellow at the University of California at Berkeley, a postdoctoral...more
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