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The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  23,632 Ratings  ·  743 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
ebook, 592 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Vintage (first published 2003)
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John Carroll arcticlight, I agree totally. I read this over a seven month period and most days only read a couple of pages. It was a great introduction for me who…morearcticlight, I agree totally. I read this over a seven month period and most days only read a couple of pages. It was a great introduction for me who have only HS science from over 50 years ago. (less)

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Mar 22, 2011 Greg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
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
Feb 04, 2009 Trevor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
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
Jul 31, 2014 Fortunr rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, what a wonderful book. What a ride it was.
Brian is definitely one of the best science popularisers about, hands down. It is amazing how he manages to convey potentially complex subjects, such as quantum mechanics and relativity, in a simple but at the same time rigorous manner. And he does that with a contagious enthusiasm which reminded to me why I love physics. I also greatly appreciated the fact that he never gets into the game (like so frequently happens in popular science books, unfor
Jen Padgett Bohle
Dec 13, 2007 Jen Padgett Bohle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 04, 2008 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physics
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
Let's start with the positives:

Greene does an excellent job of explaining very hard-to-understand concepts in non-mathematical ways. That said, I think it was unecessary to use popular culture the way he did. It feels silly, reading about Einstein and general relativity and getting an example which uses the Kwik-E-Mart, Bart, and Lisa and so forth. But okay, I admit that this is a fairly small detail that shouldn't take too much away from the overall experience. The important thing is that the
Mahmoud Homsi
Jan 23, 2016 Mahmoud Homsi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
رأسي آلمني كثيراً خلال قراءة هذا الكتاب و لكن مع ذلك لم أستطع تركه
حسناً.. إليك بعض المعلومات الصادمة، بعضها حقائق و البعض الآخر نظريات و فرضيات و لكنها معتمدة على استنتاجات رياضية

1- أنت لست ثابت، أنت في حركة دائمة و متسارعة أيضاً
2- القوى الكهرومغناطيسية هي التي تحمل جلدك و عظامك مع بعضها البعض
3- نحن نعيش ضمن 11 بعداً و ليس ضمن ثلاثة أو أربعة أبعاد
4- قد يكون هناك عدة أكوان أخرى مختلفة و ليس كون واحد Multiuniverse
5- الزمن ليش شيء ثابت.. الزمن شيء نسبي يختلف من شخص لشخص و من مكان لمكان
قد يكون سريع

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
Paul  Perry
Apr 12, 2015 Paul Perry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 26, 2008 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Miloš Kostić
Jul 17, 2016 Miloš Kostić rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Odlična knjiga za sve laike koji se pitaju šta su to prostor i vreme. Tema je obrađena vrlo temeljno.
Jan 30, 2014 Diana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“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
Wayne Barrett
“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?”
Admittedly, my head was spinning quite a bit during this read. After all, trying to understand quantum physics is something my brain just isn't wired to do.
I love science, and even though volumes like this can be a task to get through, I am always left enlightened and amazed at the facts and philosophies of existence and all that it e
Dec 17, 2009 DJ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: popular-physics
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
aPriL does feral sometimes
I wish I could say 'The Fabric of the Cosmos' is an easy read which makes clear a subject that only geniuses understand normally about what classic physics and quantum mechanics have to do with understanding the mysteries of cosmology, particularly the theories regarding what the universe is, how it began, what made it function the way it does and why there seems to be an arrow of Time. I can't. Physics is too hard for me. However, Brian Greene is a brilliant man with a teacher's magic talent of ...more
Dec 12, 2008 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Larry Webber
Apr 15, 2008 Larry Webber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 24, 2015 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
THE FABRIC OF THE COSMOS. (2004). Brian Greene. ****.
This is another in Greene’s series of books attempting to educate the average reader in the concepts of cosmology. I admit that I skimmed over those parts that I was familiar with, and also skimmed over those parts that were beyond my understanding. Greene attempts to present the current burning questions in his field using simplistic examples drawn from our daily lives. It turns out, however, that the items in question are not so simple. Alth
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
Brilliant Hope
Jul 06, 2015 Brilliant Hope rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I have not finished it yet :)) but to be honest
Stunning book,erudite author made me read his books with passion actually this is the second book I read for prof.Brian greene ,I admire his resilience in explanation ,this feature is extremely rare with other cosmologists, he could show me another realm away from my own perspective
I acquired many remarkable transformations in my ideas about the universe which I used to think it No longer had to be altered
More profoundly talking I believe now that
The book focused mainly on the concepts of space and time, and how they build the universe around us. Starting with the concept of space and how that's changed over the years, then time and how that's changed and now the concept of spacetime, and then the universe itself. A large part of the book was used trying to explain, "time's arrow" why things go forward but never backwards, why entropy is always greater in the future and never the past. It was all very interesting. At times I did get a bi ...more
J.M. Hushour
Jan 24, 2015 J.M. Hushour rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Being utterly unscientific (I still believe toasters toast toast by invoking thrice the name of said bread and summoning forth a kind of crisping deity), I pounce on shit for the lay reader. Sacks, Sagan, Ramachandran, Richard Simmons, etc. I had never heard of Brian Greene and have typically held physics and such things at arm's length, with my other hand pinching my nose shut as if holding the world's most curious diaper: there is probably much of interest within to parse out, but noxious enou ...more
Jun 06, 2012 Gary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"A First step for understanding the universe."

He mentions in the beginning that a refutation for the Albert Camus question why don't we all just commit suicide is because we can learn about the universe and discover our place in it while we're alive. After reading this book, you'll always have unfinished business in discovering more and more about the universe. This book is a very good intro to physics and discovering about the universe.
Vuka :3
Feb 24, 2013 Vuka :3 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physics
This is as fine (or very near) as popular physics goes. Although the book is maybe a bit too simple at times, I really enjoyed how Greene is able to present some very difficult concepts by gradually building up ideas. Instead of jumping over here and over there, he leads the reader in a very precise (well, as precise as you can get without serious mathematics) and logical manner which seems to be satisfying both to the layman and to the expert. Excellent!
Dec 12, 2015 Mishehu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another brilliant addition to the pop physics literature from Greene. In a word: wow! It doesn't get better (or more fascinating, or more clearly and compellingly explained) than this. Very cool to know that the existence of the Higgs particle/field that Greene discussed at length has since been verified by the LHC. Awaiting experimental confirmation of micro black holes, strings, branes, ....
Mike Morg
Mar 21, 2015 Mike Morg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the authors words: "To excel in physics is to embrace doubt while walking the winding road to clarity. The tantalizing discomfort of perplexity is what inspires otherwise ordinary men and women to extraordinary feats of ingenuity and creativity; nothing quite focuses the mind like dissonant details awaiting harmonious resolution"

The Fabric of the Cosmos is a thrilling unparalleled odyssey through space, time, and reality. The author Brian Greene is eloquent, insightful, cunning, cordial and c
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
Jul 01, 2013 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 26, 2015 Biserka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: popular-science
I'm into reading these kinds of books. It's not the first one I've read either, but unlike other popular science books about physics I've read, I understood at least 85% of this one without having any education in phisycs other than what we've learned in primary school. The explanations are very clear - or at least they were to me - sometimes even too clear. Some things that I've unterstood emediately, were explained on multiple pages, but that just shows that the writer could position himself i ...more
Oct 11, 2009 Marcus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, physics
I started this book hoping to get a basic understanding of the Theory of Relativity. I got that, and much, much more. I can't remember ever having read an author as talented at distilling and simplifying the complex as Brian Greene. He is great at using metaphor, repetition and illustrations to explain exotic, intertwined subjects.

I'm really pleased at how far he was able to take me without requiring me to use math or learn equations. I appreciate the fact that I'd have a deeper understanding o
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  • The Goldilocks Enigma: Why is the Universe Just Right for Life?
  • From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time
  • Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe
  • Before the Big Bang: The Prehistory of Our Universe
  • Cycles of Time: An Extraordinary New View of the Universe
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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.
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“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?” 30 likes
“Understanding requires insight. Insight must be anchored.” 27 likes
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