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Dreams of a Final Theory: Search for the Ultimate Laws of Nature

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  2,456 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
“Unusually well written and informative…Weinberg is one of the world's most creative theoretical phsyicist.”
—Martin Gardner, Washington Post Book World


In Dreams of a Final Theory, Stephen Weinberg, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist and bestselling author of The First Three Minutes describes the grand quest for a unifying theory of nature—one that can explain forces as diff
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Published April 13th 2000 by Gardners Books (first published February 1st 1992)
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Manny
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who's interested in understanding how physicists see the world
Recommended to Manny by: The Goodreads recommendations engine
FinalTheory

Probably just a lucky hit? It's getting harder and harder to tell with these new deep learning architectures. Though if a human being had done that, I'd have said it was quite insightful.
_______________________

[After reading]

- Professor Weinberg, thank you for agreeing to testify in front of the committee.

- The pleasure is all mine, Senator.

- Very good. Now, let's get down to business. Why should the US pay 8 billion dollars to build this - ah -

- Superconducting Super Collider.

- Thank you. You k
...more
Squatting Erudite
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physics
Incredibly lucid, honest and concise. Possibly the best popular science book I've read so far. But I do have to warn you that I'm a theoretical physicist with worldviews closely resembling those of Weinberg, so don't expect an unbiased review.

Although he doesn't go too far to explain the actual laws of nature, as one might expect to see in a popular science book, Weinberg touches on some of the most important questions.

Can we have a final theory? Are we close? How can we know if we are close? I
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Tuomas
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: popular-science
Weinberg manages to include a lot in this book, although it's of a very manageable length. It's primarily about particle physics of course, but there is also plenty of history of science, cosmology, and a few funny anecdotes. The discussion about reduction is perhaps the most interesting though, and also the reason why I picked up the book in the first place. Weinberg is skilful in explaining difficult material understandably -- the discussion of symmetry principles comes to mind.

It must be sai
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Charlene
Absolutely a must read. I cannot believe it took me this long to read it. Weinberg presented his and other physicists' theories that try to explain the universe. As difficult and possibly impossible as this goal may be, Weinberg makes it fairly simple for the curious reader. He really does have a gift for relaying complex knowledge to the non physicist.

Since this book was written in 1992, I think readers can and should forgive it for its focus on beauty as criterion for a viable theory. It is o
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Trevor
Jan 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, science
I'm again about half way through this one, but I've spent the last couple of days thinking about a quote in this by Bohr. Now, you need to know that the Uncertainty Principle states that one can not know both the position and the momentum (sometimes people say velocity – but it is actually momentum, as they wrongly assume that a particle’s mass won’t change) of a particle at the same time and that the more accuracy you have in measuring the one, the less you have of the other. These types of pro ...more
Bob Nichols
This is sort of an intellectual biography of Weinberg’s career in (quantum) physics, and a pitch for the Superconducting Super Collider that was under consideration in the early 1990s. As with many other books for “general readership” in physics, a good part of this book is difficult to understand. Even so, there are several things that stood out.

Weinberg states outright that quantum mechanics, in contrast to classical mechanics, describes nature in terms of waves and probabilities, not particle
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Cara
Jul 18, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won't judge this book on its out-of-dateness or it's terrible audiobook narrator (not the author's fault), and I will try not to give too much weight to the ending of the book, where Steven Weinberg leaves the realm of science and instead moves into religion (this is never a good thing for a scientist to do - too often they conflate "science being unable to prove the existence of God" with "science proves God doesn't exist"). The rest of the book is pretty good, though not exceptional, and not ...more
H L
Nov 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating mashup of sciences and arts usually thought to be exclusive of the others, but this book demonstrates, probably more clearly than any other I've read, that physics, mathematics, philosophy and religion are inextricably intertwined. There's something here to stimulate the fundamentalist physicist, the atheist mathematician, and any and all combinations in between.
Safae
Oct 09, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
ليس تقيمي الاخير والنهائي لهذا الكتاب، سأعيد قرائته مرة اخرى بعد ان اتعمق اكثر في فيزياء الكم لان الكاتب طرح الكثير من المفاهيم والمسائل الفيزيائية التي وجدت صعوبة كبيرة في فهمها
Ahmed Omer
يجادل ستيفن واينبرغ في السبل التى ستمكن الفيزيائيين من الوصول للنظرية الشاملة, مبتدئا بالاختزالية في العلوم وجدواها والانتقادات الموجهه اليها ويحسب نفسه من انصارها واشد المتحمسين لها , ويعرج بعد ذلك على الرؤية التاريخية في العلوم والدور الغائب لها في التصورات الاخيرة.. وفي فصل مممتع يناقش الفلسفة وهل ستمهد لنا السبل للوصول للنظرية الشاملة ويقطع كل امل منها ويعلن انفراج زاوية النظر بينها وبين العلوم ويتهكم بها عندما يقارن بين "الفعالية غير المعقولة للرياضيات" ويناظرها بـ"اللافعالية غير المقعولة ل ...more
Jimmy Ele
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book, but dated.
Xander
Nov 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Steven Weinberg is a remarkable man. A particle physicist and cosmologist, and Noble prize winner (due to his work on the electroweak theory), he is also passionately interested in the history of science and a popularizer of the work he's involved in.

In The First Three Minutes (1977) Weinberg tried to explain to the popular audience the current scientific insights about the origin of our universe. This was (to my knowledge) the first accessibe and complete account of this topic.

Ever since the 70
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Vismay
Aug 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At last, respite! Finally there comes a writer who does not evoke God when writing a book on physics for general public, finally I get to read someone who brings out his point with little or no historical bullshit or brings in no orientalism or mysticism when dealing with the interference pattern!!

Maybe if I were a reputed critic working for Times in 1993, I might have started my critique in the above manner for Steven Weinberg’s ‘dreams of a final theory’.

Well, I my short, stupid life I have r
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Bojan Tunguz
Jun 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Steven Weinberg is one of twentieth century's greatest theoretical physicists. He is one of the codiscoverers of the Electroweak Theory, an important piece of the puzzle that describes all of the fundamental forces of nature. He is also a very prolific writer, with several important textbooks and a few books that aim to popularize Physics and make it accessible to the general audience. The theme of this book is the long standing problem in Physics, and that is the one of unification of all force ...more
Derek Davis
Feb 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Particle physicist Weinberg's extraordinary intelligence infuses every sentence, but without pushiness or arrogance. Not every concept and theory he presents comes through clearly to this non-mathematical layman, but the currents, both of writing and thought, flow smoothly. And he brings a different approach to some concepts than I have run across in other "popularizations." (Weinberg includes no math here, but certain ideas in particle physics are close to impossible to envision completely with ...more
Madelynp
Apr 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this one took me a while. It may be because my students are taking the AP exam this coming Monday, but it is more truthfully because this book was dense. Very good, but dense. Originally published prior to the defunding of the SSC in 1994, Weinberg used his discussion of the final theory as a means of framing his well-considered defense of this amazing piece of technology. The afterward, "The Super Collider: One Year Later" read like an open letter to Congress, and was clearly sorrowful, bu ...more
Shahd ITbakhi
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
رغم أن العثور على نظرية شاملة في الفيزياء أمرٌ بمثابة حلم .. لكنه بلا شك أمرٌ منتظر ، وبشغفٍ كبير بالفعل . بعد قراءتك لهذا الكتاب ستحاول كثيرًا مراجعة ما تعرفه بالفيزياء وما تسعى إلى معرفته ، غالبًا ستقدر المسائل وتمعن النظر في القوانين الموضوعة ، حتى أنّك ستحاول تقدير ما يمكن أن يكتشفه العلماء مما تحيكه الطبيعة من قوانين .. أنا متحمسة جدًا لما سيكشفه العلم لاحقًا ، ومتحمسة أكثر لو استطعت بكل ما أوتيت من قوة واندفاع أن أصل إلى جزئية أشعر عندها بالانتعاش ، ما شعرنا به مع هايزنبرج وبور وأينشتاين و ...more
Danielle Shtab
I wish I understood physics a little better, I probably could have gleaned more out of this book, but most of it was just incoherent to me. I get his general philosophy but I feel as though his explanations of particle physics were over my head. Perhaps that isn't the point of the book anyway, if not I did enjoy learning a little of the inner politics and philosophy of an extremely intelligent person.
Trovato Solo
El libro puede tener un argumento interesante, especialmente si la persona es interesada sobre el tema científico. Cetamente no es el más reciente, pero sigue siendo curioso por qué rico en su conjunto: el argumento se centra en la investigación. Dibuja que detrás del escenario se tiene una teoría sobre todo. Por lo tanto el libro es basado esencialmente en las leyes de la física ya que son las reglas básicas capaces de demostrar las cosas a la conciencia humana.
La escritura fue casi seguramente
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mohamed sheet
واينبرغ من أشهر علماء الفيزياء الملحدين في هذا العصر كما هو معروف. وفي هذا الكتاب يحاول إثبات وجود نظرية نهائية يمكن أن تفسر كل شئ في هذا الكون .في كثير من مقاطع الكتاب تظهر خلفية الكاتب الإلحادية واضحة فهو يخلط العلم بتعصبه الأعمى للإلحاد وخاصة في الفصلين الأخيرين ؛حيث يغرق في الحديث عن أمور كمشكلة الشر في العالم ويحاول أن يفسر أسباب نشأة الاديان. لا يخلو الكتاب من بعض الأجزاء الجيدة في بدايته والتي تتحدث عن التفسيرات الفلسفية لبعض الظاهر الفيزيائية. ولكن بالمجمل الكتاب يمتلئ بكثير من الهراء وم ...more
Wendelle So
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: great
from a giant of physics, a living legend.

as expected, this book scales great heights of contemplation, blah blah but I'm mostly here for the upfront potshots he takes at the 'unreasonable ineffectiveness of philosophy".

"" After a few years' infatuation with philosophy as
an undergraduate I became disenchanted. The insights of the
philosophers I studied seemed murky and inconsequential
compared with the dazzling successes of physics and mathematics.
From time to time since then I have tried to re
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Giuseppe Sirugo
Il libro può avere un racconto anche interessante, specie se interessati a l'argomento trattato. Si concentra sulla ricerca, e trae uno sfondo che su tutto si ha una teoria, quindi basato essenzialmente sulle leggi della fisica in quanto sono le regole fondamentali capaci di dimostrare le cose alla coscienza umana. La stesura quasi certamente fu scritta con diversi libri di testo importanti, altri concentrati soltanto sul diffondere la fisica: la descrizione del fisico Weinberg mostra vari aspet ...more
Jan Leslie
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Gives a detailed history of atomic theories, and a great review of current theories. May be written at a level that many people would find challenging. But still accessible to science enthusiasts
Ady ZYN
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: deep-knowledge
Highly recommended!
Arno Mosikyan
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Should have read it long ago! yet another intelligence discussion with a wise man is done.
Simon Mcleish
Mar 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally published on my blog here in October 1998.

Steven Weinberg, winner of the Nobel prize in physics for his work on elementary particle theory, wrote this book while involved in the campaign by American physicists to obtain a grant for the Superconducting Super-Collider (SSC). This campaign colours the book, a lot of it being Weiberg's responses to the type of questions both physicists and non-physicists asked about the project and its aims, or an outcome of his own background thought as
...more
José Monico
Steven Weinberg is a prolific and significant figure-head of the late 20th century physics community. So, I was a bit intimidated by the potential complexity of this book. Quickly mulling over the pages did not reveal any math text; which came to a big surprise for me. It looked like it was going to be another qualitative overview on a specific branch of physics.

It turned out to be quite welcoming and specifically catered towards the layman. I definitely appreciated his take on the state of scie
...more
Aydin
In the preface, Kuhn briefly, indirectly but beautifully thanks a friend and colleague of his, Stanley Cavell, a philosopher who, while focusing on ethics and aesthetics, was one of the few people with whom Kuhn was "…ever been able to explore my ideas in incomplete sentences."

It is a truly profound gift to find such people, and as I read this essay, I was hit by the onrushing awareness that Kuhn was one of the thinkers with whom, in many respects, I was staggeringly precisely on the same page.
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Mark
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ulises
Jan 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
He descubierto que soy positivista (y yo sin saberlo) porque creo que hay principios más fundamentales que otros...sin embargo estoy de acuerdo en que: "toda explicación puede ser a su vez explicada a partir de una teoría o conjetura de un grado de universalidad mayor. No puede haber una explicación que no necesite una explicación posterior..."(K. Popper)Así que no estoy muy convencido sobre eso de la teoría final...

Otra cosa, que siempre me ha parecido sorprendente y parece que a Weimberg tambi
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Zoubir Belaib 1 3 May 04, 2015 09:36AM  
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Steven Weinberg (born May 3, 1933) is an American theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate in Physics for his contributions with Abdus Salam and Sheldon Glashow to the unification of the weak force and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles.

He holds the Josey Regental Chair in Science at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is a member of the Physics and Astronomy Departme
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“All logical arguments can be defeated by the simple refusal to reason logically” 89 likes
“What is surely impossible is that a theoretical physicist, given unlimited computing power, should deduce from the laws of physics that a certain complex structure is aware of its own existence.” 0 likes
More quotes…