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# Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality

by

Max Tegmark leads us on an astonishing journey through past, present and future, and through the physics, astronomy and mathematics that are the foundation of his work, most particularly his hypothesis that our physical reality is a mathematical structure and his theory of the ultimate multiverse. In a dazzling combination of both popular and groundbreaking science, he not
...more

ebook, 432 pages

Published
January 7th 2014
by Vintage
(first published January 7th 2012)

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## Community Reviews

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Jan 01, 2014
Manny
rated it
really liked it
·
review of another edition

Recommends it for:
People interested in Big Ideas

"

That's my girlfriend, who's just been unwise enough to let me read her a paragraph of this book. But our guest K, a local nuclear physicist, is more tolerant. "Well," she smiles, "it doesn't sound so bad. A bit exciting, a bit populistic..." Blah blah blah. On the other hand, she isn't a native speaker of English.

Okay, let's start by getting the bad news out of the way. Max Tegmark's chatty, informal, slightly manic style is on the irritating side, and if you know some ...more

*Aaargh! No! Make it stop!*"That's my girlfriend, who's just been unwise enough to let me read her a paragraph of this book. But our guest K, a local nuclear physicist, is more tolerant. "Well," she smiles, "it doesn't sound so bad. A bit exciting, a bit populistic..." Blah blah blah. On the other hand, she isn't a native speaker of English.

Okay, let's start by getting the bad news out of the way. Max Tegmark's chatty, informal, slightly manic style is on the irritating side, and if you know some ...more

1) I accidentally left it behind at a cafe. When I went back it was gone :(

Imagine my surprise when I discovered some nice person had found the book and returned it to the library for me. Thank you, kind human!

2) Tegmark writes fantastically. Wisely, he doesn't try to make the reader *cough me cough* follow his maths, but instead offers URLs for papers offering the mathematical proofs for the concepts he discusses as additional reading, for th ...more

**The Mind of God**

It starts with Plato, this idea that the universe is a mathematical expression, populated by objects which are (often imperfect) copies of abstract ‘forms’ (the most perfect of which are numbers), which in turn interact according to strict rules of geometry and aesthetic necessity.* More importantly it was Plato who suggested that things are not what they seem. What we are able to perceive are distorted manifestations of eternal truths which are permanently beyond our grasp, leavi ...more

Q:

... to me, an electron colliding with a positron and turning into a Z-boson feels about as intuitive as two colliding cars turning into a cruise ship. On microscopic scales, particles schizophrenically appear in two places at once, leading to the quantum conundrums mentioned above. On astronomically large scales —surprise!—weirdness strikes again:

**if y**...more

Feb 02, 2014
David Katzman
rated it
really liked it
·
review of another edition

Recommends it for:
Those interested in cutting edge physics and speculative physics

Before I begin, a brief word about physics from a ninja.

This is a book of speculative physics. At the same time it is a mostly lucid walkthrough of the latest theories in physics. It's important to distinguish between theories and speculation. Theories are directly testable. Results of the theories are repeatable. Special and General Relativity are examples of theories that have been demonstrated over and over again. A result is calculated from the theory, an experiment is performed...the result ...more

This is a book of speculative physics. At the same time it is a mostly lucid walkthrough of the latest theories in physics. It's important to distinguish between theories and speculation. Theories are directly testable. Results of the theories are repeatable. Special and General Relativity are examples of theories that have been demonstrated over and over again. A result is calculated from the theory, an experiment is performed...the result ...more

The Stages of Truth: "Our Mathematical Universe - My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality" by Max Tegmark

Forget about Tegmark’s 4 levels. The stages of truth I can remember are:

• Old Greeks saying "We only see a faint reflection of reality", i.e. we have observation, and that's flawed.

• Old Chinese saying "All we have is observation. Reality is observation, and observation is a function of the human form" which is a most interestin ...more

Feb 14, 2014
WarpDrive
rated it
really liked it
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
science-and-maths

This is a complex and very interesting book, addressing many important questions about the fundamental nature of reality.

The author adopts (and convincingly explains) a particular version of mathematical Neo-Platonism stating that reality is essentially nothing but mathematical structures. His position might be classified as a form of mathematical “monism” (as it essentially denies ontological reality to anything except mathematical objects). From a philosophical perspective, the author can be ...more

*described*by mathematics, but that the universe

*is*mathematics. He calls this the "Mathematical Universe Hypothesis", or "MUH" for short.

Tegmark asserts that this idea is a testable, falsifiable hypothesis. I did not find th ...more

Max Tegmark calls his idea the Mathematical Universe Hypothesis, that the external physical reality described by the Theory of Everything is a mathematical structure. He starts off by, I kid you not, assuming that the external physical reality is a mathematical structure.

This radical idea, that reality is "made of math" is embodied in the title of the book, but nowhere within the pages is there any logical argument in ...more

Some extra considerations:

- In the first part, I especially liked the clear rationale for introducing inflation as "the gift that keeps on giving".

-I am puzzled by the "reality is a mathematical structure" story. What else would it be? Mathematically/logically speaking, if you have a theory describing reality it must be mathemati ...more

The promise of tying together concepts of modern physics with mathematics and a philosophy of what life and the universe are all about kept me going.

I did appreciate the enthusiasm and energy that Tegmark has for his field. Unfortunately, this came through a bit too often as being full of himself.

When it got to layman's term explanations of quantum physics and relativity, the wording was either too brief or too obscure. I recognized that a lot has been accomplis ...more

by

Max Tegmark

Max Tegmark, a physics professor at MIT, is a leading proponent of the idea of the multiverse, familiar to many as the “parallel worlds” of science fiction, but taken increasingly seriously by sober scientific theorists. Several variations on the theme tell us that there must be an infinite number of versions of our Universe (capital “U”), other universes (small “u”), some indistinguishable from our own, some with minor differences, many with significant dif ...more

Mar 05, 2014
Khalil
rated it
it was amazing
·
review of another edition

Recommended to Khalil by:
Manny

All bad books are alike , each good book is good in its way\s (I think Tolstoy will forgive me for stealing his most famous quote.As the rating indicates, we are in the second state, good book, or rather a fucking unbelievable amazing good and fresh book.

Max Tegmark is(as I see him) the Pythagorean of our era.Pythagoras and his students were interested in the mysticism of numbers, realizing that when odd numbers starting from one are added together, the sum is always a square number. From here, ...more

Max Tegmark is(as I see him) the Pythagorean of our era.Pythagoras and his students were interested in the mysticism of numbers, realizing that when odd numbers starting from one are added together, the sum is always a square number. From here, ...more

Feb 12, 2016
Mohamed al-Jamri
rated it
really liked it
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
popular-science-recommendations

This is Max Tegmark's first and only book so far. In the book, Max who likes to be called Mad Max proposes a really "mad" theory of everything called the "mathematical universe hypothesis" in which he argues that the ultimate nature of reality is mathematics. He also argues strongly for the multiverse idea, making it somewhat plausible.

The book is written with a mostly smooth and easy to understand narrative style that is often combined with inspirational quotations. It is from books like this t ...more

The book is written with a mostly smooth and easy to understand narrative style that is often combined with inspirational quotations. It is from books like this t ...more

In the Internet age, my own role as a classroom teacher has changed.

I’m no longer needed as a conduit of information, which my students can simply download on their own.

Rather, my key role is inspiring a scientific lifestyle, curiosity and desire to learn more.

Feb 01, 2016
Blair
rated it
really liked it
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
zzz-own-on-paper,
science-physics

**A Wild Ride With Mad Max**

Alfred North Whitehead famously said that philosophy is a series of footnotes to Plato. Welcome to yet another footnote, as the thesis of this book, in the author’s words, “

*can be viewed as a form of radical Platonism, asserting that all the mathematical structures in Plato’s ‘realm of ideas’ exist ‘out there’ in a physical sense.*” In other words, there is no physical reality, just pure mathematics.

This book is a fun ride for those with a reasonable understanding of physi ...more

This book is an exceptionally eye-opening read containing new, fresh concepts and unbelievable

*{sometimes shocking}*insights. ‘Our Mathematical universe’ covers topics such as

**cosmology**,

**unique philosophy**and

**the nature of reality**. It delves into scientific topics such as ‘the Big Bang’ and the beginning of creation and life itself, to our future and the existence of paralle ...more

The first one fourth: Well, I am already familiar with the history of Astronomy and Cosmology, but it's okay; it'll be treated as reminder.

Inflation part: Ah, that part is not really as complicated as it sounds at the first time. I could grasp its contents a bit better now.

The four different levels of multiverses: Okay, it's starting getting serious and I don't understand anything.

Mathematical Universe: Well, I'm still an idiot after all. What he said about maths doesn't ...more

Unfortunately, those books are rare gems... but this is definitely one of them. Tegmark did a great job at merging physics and mathematics in the most awesomely beautiful and extraordinarily simple way imaginable and I'm so glad I came across this book of his.

Highly recom ...more

*shrug*at you. That doesn’t sell! So it’s not really surprising that

*Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality*is a controversial book by a somewhat controversial physicist. I received this as a Christmas gift a few years ago, and that w ...more

Fantastically interesting, inspiring, and almost comprehensible to this non-physicist, non-advanced-mathematician! Recommended highly if these topics interest you!

My favorite parts, quoted or summarized, below (numbers after each = character counts, for my Tweeting plans):

Quotes and Info

p. 122 ...more

First of all, I liked this book (obvious from the rating, right?) But it got me very annoyed a few times.

The right mindset to read this book is to imagine that you met a very cool, very talkative and apparently very smart physicist in a bar. You had a few beers and then dared to say: "Well, tell me about physics... what's that? why do you like it?" Since bar conversations are not super structured, he started with history. "Man, imagine how other guys figure ...more

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Group Discussion Anyone? | 4 | 20 | May 15, 2014 03:03PM |

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