K.D. Absolutely's Reviews > Final Theory

Final Theory by Mark Alpert
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's review
Oct 04, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: suspense-thriller, guy-lit, populist
Read from December 18 to 21, 2011 — I own a copy , read count: 1

Science weaved intricately to a suspenseful thriller. We have many trial lawyers who are successful novelists in the suspense thriller genre, but we have only one physicist. His name is Mark Alpert. He is currently an editor at the Scientific American and this is his first novel.

Released in 2008, it is about Albert Einstein’s other theory that we worked on during the second half of his life, Einheitliche Feldtheorie or Unified Field Theory a single set of equations that would explain all the forces of Nature. Einstein did not publish his final paper on this so this remained to be a bit of a mystery. This is what Wiki says:
”Following his research on general relativity, Einstein entered into a series of attempts to generalize his geometric theory of gravitation to include electromagnetism as another aspect of a single entity. In 1950, he described his "unified field theory" in a Scientific American article entitled "On the Generalized Theory of Gravitation". Although he continued to be lauded for his work, Einstein became increasingly isolated in his research, and his efforts were ultimately unsuccessful. In his pursuit of a unification of the fundamental forces, Einstein ignored some mainstream developments in physics, most notably the strong and weak nuclear forces, which were not well understood until many years after his death. Mainstream physics, in turn, largely ignored Einstein's approaches to unification. Einstein's dream of unifying other laws of physics with gravity motivates modern quests for a theory of everything and in particular string theory, where geometrical fields emerge in a unified quantum-mechanical setting.”
Probably intrigued by this and following the footsteps of Dan Brown with his bestselling The Da Vinci Code in 2005, Alpert joined the bandwagon. Armed with his expertise in science and physics, this book came out three years after Robert Langdon made a debut as a symbologist in the controversial world of Dan Brown.

It tells the story of a college professor, a father and a divorcee, David Swift who impressed his professor when he was in college with his paper on one-dimensional universe. His professor really liked him that when he was dying, Swift was called to hear a series of number that would lead him to know the secret behind Einstein The Unified Field Theory. Of course there should be other parties interested to know this series of numbers. An assassin called Simon and the FBI are all vent to make Swift churn out the numbers. It involves car chase in at least five states in the US and the involvement of his partner, fellow professor Monique Reynolds and for more heartwarming edgy familial feel, his little budding scientist boy and his estranged wife, Karen.

That’s all there is to this novel. A thriller using Einstein and his unfinished theory thrown into a convoluted yet still pulsating and edge-of-your-seat car chase. It’s good that David Swift has a good memory of remembering those digits. If I were him, with all the shootings, speeding cars, bomb blasts and my own family and girlfriend in danger, I would have died of heart attack or maybe choked to death because of fear and those numbers would just fly away to forgotten recesses in my mind.
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Reading Progress

12/18/2011 page 288
80.0% "The book is very interesting because it was written by a physicist-novelist!!! How many novelists are physicists?"

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