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The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  85,229 ratings  ·  1,975 reviews
The international bestseller that inspired a major Nova special and sparked a new understanding of the universe, now with a new preface and epilogue.

Brian Greene, one of the world's leading string theorists, peels away layers of mystery to reveal a universe that consists of eleven dimensions, where the fabric of space tears and repairs itself, and all matter—from the small
Paperback, 425 pages
Published September 2nd 2004 by Vintage Books USA (first published February 1st 1999)
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Leo Navis It is described very easily, actually. You will have to concentrate of course, but the examples are easy to understand.

He takes another route, if you…more
It is described very easily, actually. You will have to concentrate of course, but the examples are easy to understand.

He takes another route, if you want. He doesn't try to teach you math but to show you through easy every-day-examples the concepts behind Einstein, Standardmodell and String-Theory. (less)
Abdurrahman Hassouna How can i get it ?
P.S : I'm from Morocco…more
How can i get it ?
P.S : I'm from Morocco(less)
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Start your review of The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
Dec 16, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science
[Original review, written December 2008]

When I read this book, I remember thinking it was pretty interesting, but I am surprised how few insights I have retained... to be honest, hardly any. Smolin's The Trouble with Physics, which I read much more recently, suggests that string theory is in big trouble, and right now I am more tempted to side with Smolin.

There's this old Nasrudin story, where he's somehow ended up as judge in a court case. The D.A. really makes a good case, and Nasrudin can't r
Mar 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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Do I understand string theory? Not sure.

Do I understand M theory? A little bit but don't ask for any algebraic reasoning.

Do I know exactly what a Calabi-Yau is? Not really but I think they look a little like the hair balls from my cat.

This is the second time I've equated quantum physics and all its detours to a hair-ball. That's because I can study a hair ball and still have no idea what it is for and why they exist. String Theory and the elusive TOE is in the same category. I could go on my
Apr 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I left Christianity a few years ago and swore off religion altogether; however, after reading this book, string theory has become tantamount to religion in my life. Brian Greene writes beautifully about particles, planets, and the origins of our universe as we know it today. It is a heavy book- I don't recommend it for anyone who wants a quick, easy read. It took me almost two months to get through, but I learned a tremendous amount and came away in complete awe of the world and the forces at wo ...more
Manuel Antão
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2001
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

The Kabbalah: "The Elegant Universe - Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory" by Brian Greene

(Original review, 2001)

The Kabbalah also describes 10 dimensions and beings that inhabit them. Perhaps these beings are real and at certain levels of dimensional perception they have already seen and experienced these advancements in human history like a child being taught 2+2 to the wave compilation of an electr
Riku Sayuj
Aug 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pop-science
To think I put all that effort to understand a discredited theory...
Daniel Clausen
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-of-2019
For most of my life, physics and the general sciences have seemed beyond me. At the same time, I've been lucky enough in high school and university to have instructors who are willing to let me "give science a try" in a not threatening way. This book is one such attempt to allow ordinary people to give science a try. In this book, you'll get a crash course in physics as an evolving subject, from the theory of gravity, to special relativity, to general relativity, to quantum mechanics, to string ...more
Apr 30, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: mere mortals (but only the first third of it)
Recommended to Rob by: io9
AN INTRODUCTION BY WAY OF HYPERBOLIC SENTIMENT: The Elegant Universe is "The Bible" of superstring theory[*:].

I close the covers of The Elegant Universe with powerfully mixed feelings. On the one hand, Brian Greene gives us a lucidly-written layman's-terms explanation for high-concept modern physics, providing an excellent survey of 20th century science and painting a vivid picture of a promising strategy for reconciling the discrepancies in the otherwise dominant theories. On the other hand, ab
Aug 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
4.0 to 4.5 stars. There is a great quote to the effect that "if you can't explain a subject in non-technical terms so that a lay person can understand it than you haven't really mastered the subject yourself." On that basis, it is clear that Brian Greene has DEFINITELY mastered the subject of general relatively, quantum dynanmics and string theory (at least to the extent present technology allows). For such a complicated and often "non intuitive" subject, Greene does an excellent job of laying o ...more
Elyse  Walters
Oct 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My local book club picked this book for our non-fiction month. I've been a part of this group- the largest-best Bay Area Book club!!!!

In the 5 years I been part of this group, I can't remember a more challenging book to fully understand. The superstring theory is 'taught' by Brian Green' for those of us with maybe a basic Physics level one course. I can't imagine understanding anything, without having had at least some High School or College physics. This book is not for everyone, yet it's Top N
Mar 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Greene's eminently readable attempt to explain the possibilities for string/superstrings to provide the linchpin for the long-awaited-and-desired merger of gravity with the two nuclear and electromagnetic forces into a Grand United Theory. Frankly, the entire idea of rolled up dimensions—of a universe containing perhaps ten, twelve, eighteen dimensions, of which we are only capable of perceiving four—is suitably mind-blowing and humbling at the same time; and although Greene's low-culture themed ...more
Jack Thornsberry
Jun 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book blew my mind countless times as I read through it, so much so that I could usually only read 10-20 pages in one sitting. I had physics in high school, watched Cosmos and tons of other programs on the universe/relativity/quantum physics etc. so I have always had an interest but not enough to have that be my profession - nor am I smart enough in that way. Books like this let you visit that world for a while and this author does a fantastic job explaining general and advanced physics, Ein ...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
‘The Elegant Universe’ by Brian Greene is a general introduction to cosmology and string theory. It is a beautifully written book! However, it is not for beginners. I think some classes in physics or cosmology, or a long-time subscription to a magazine like New Scientist or Science News would be a necessary educational background before reading this book. So. As far as I can tell, the book is a five-star read in clarity and expert knowledge.

From Wikipedia, I learned Greene is a genuine scientist
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
If you’ve heard of string theory, and know it’s not about tying shoelaces, then you probably know about Newtonian and Einsteinian physics, especially that which pertains to gravity, special relativity, and general relativity. You’ve probably heard of quantum physics as well, which studies the microscopic interactions of particles. But you might not know that general relativity (which explains the behaviou
Dec 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
I read this book while taking a course (for non-physics students) called Modern Physics in Perspective, which centered on string theory. I learned so, so, so much in this class & the book helped a lot. If you're reading this book unassisted, be aware that there are some very confusing sections that you'll need to read a few times. Sometimes his analogies are a bit too inane. Also, I've discovered that many physicists have an unhealthy obsession with their research pet projects- I'd advise that y ...more
Physics books. Can I understand them properly? No. Am I still absolutely fascinated by them? Yes. String Theory. Do I understand it properly? Hell no. Am I fascinated by it? To the last detail.
Robin Wasserkaise
Mar 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who appreciate the Universe

This book presents the latest breakdown of empirical existance with string theory- it's really well written and it sugguest how the fundimentals of all existing things come together in a very similar way as our understanding of music (little vibrations). I love this subject because, where the goal of civilization is to appreciate life in some form of organized chaos, some well spoken theorists have the ability to put things into perspective in such a way that the world seems to teem with possibi
Apr 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 Stars for The Elegant Universe (audiobook) by Brian Greene read by Erik Davies. This is a great overview of string theory. Greene does good job of putting a number of theories into perspective. It can be a bit of a challenge keeping up with the science listening to the audiobook.
Dec 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
The first few chapters are fascinating as Greene recounts the history of modern physics, its departure from classical, Newtonian understanding. Then, he moves into string theory, and I found the arguments and explanations harder to follow. As Greene wrote the book just a few years after the Second Superstring Revolution, it makes sense that the arguments aren't as well-developed as those describing theories and experiments perfected and refined over the past 100 years or so. I really enjoyed the ...more
João Vaz
Jul 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dear God,

Will you ever allow us folks down here on Earth to come up with Einstein’s dream of a Theory of Everything (ToE)? The fact of the matter is that there are essentially two opposing theories upon which rests our knowledge of the universe: General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. That is, the world of the large and the world of the miniscule. But whenever we try to unify them, our calculations just fall short; or better, fall large!, for we bump into infinity.

Oh wait!, this book has jus
Genia Lukin
Nov 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science
I never really got the hang of String Theory. I find it awfully weird and almost nigh-unscientific. Not being a physicist, I try not to make judgments about it, since I clearly don't understand it one bit - at least on the math level! - but I have to say that Brian Greene didn't endear it to me.

I also fervently found myself wishing for the Nth time that science books were not so firmly divided between "professional, terrifying math texts" and "written for people who never figured out the Theory
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Greene can explain complicated theories better than anyone. I read the best explanation of Einstein’s general and special relativity theories. Especially when when we see an object travelling at high speed, they appear the age more slowly. But the same applies to the other side looking at us, making us age more slowly from their standpoint! This is perfectly fine unless they want to meet up, and one side accelerates to meet the other one. In this case the accelerating side will find they indeed ...more
Dan (Reader&Writer)
I love this book! Now I admit, I’m a maths guy, but I found dipping in and out of this to be so much fun. Complex stuff presented simply, if you like maths, you’ll most likely love this too.
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Disclaimer: I am not a physicist. I have a MSc in environmental sciences which is 20 years out of date.

Brian Greene describes elegantly special and general relativity as well as important aspects of quantum physics in the first third of his book. It is worth its money for these first few chapters.

Unfortunately, his writing about the five string theories and their meta-theory called M-theory is almost unreadable and loses its focus very rapidly. Brian Greene seems to be so intimately and uncondit
Nov 30, 2009 rated it it was ok
Dr. Greene, unfortunately, imagines himself to be a much better writer and expositor than he actually is. Far too much time is wasted on silly examples to explain his points; so much that the analogies not only break down but become absurd. These concepts are not very difficult. Dr. Greene fairly well crosses the line into talking down instead of explaining things.

However, this book has some rather well laid out charts and diagrams and other visual aids. Importantly these come with a gracious de
Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
Read this sometime in the aughts. It was a down to earth presentation of a very esoteric theory. I like Greene's style of exposition and got a better (for all intents and purposes) layperson's understanding of the subject. Good stuff.
Alex Zakharov
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picked this one up in preparation for an event with Brian Greene. Written over 15 years ago, it is missing the latest developments and consensus, which seems to be that the original vision for String Theory (ST) as a TOE didn’t pan out, yet it is still the only TOE we got. It's a bitch we can’t test it, and a shame we can’t find the shape of the Calabi-Yau manifold that corresponds to reality that we live in, but otherwise ST is quite beautiful indeed.

On the plus side - ideas from ST are now fi
Mohamed al-Jamri
This is the first book by Brian Greene that I read. The first chapters were amazing and engaging, however later chapters about string theory were very hard for me to understand and I actually didn't finish the whole book, because I could not understand what I was reading.

The author uses many metaphors to make his ideas simpler. He starts with a very easy to understand telling of history of scientific discoveries reaching to the theory of general relativity and quantum physics and the unification
Jul 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brian Greene had put all his efforts to write this book as much simple as he can and he succeeded to do so.The way he describes the technical terms in this book with such a great simplicity is really very appreciating.Several examples are also taken into account to profoundly explain some of the subtle concepts in this book.It takes us back to Relativity and then to Quantum Mechanics before proceeding to String Theory.It is hard to tell whether I believe in String Theory or not. There are ample ...more
Shamana Ali
Aug 21, 2012 rated it did not like it
I have copious notes where I disagreed with the author. While I understand he is probably the leading public proponent of string theory, I felt that his oversimplification lead to some really problematic axioms and it was upon these shaky foundations that he tried to map out string theory. I'm afraid I think that the Theory of Everything (or Grand Unified Theory) will be articulated in a much more coherent way if one sets aside the supposition that is string theory. This may also be an oversimpl ...more
Omar Abdelaziz
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

او اتفرج على السلسله اتعملت 2003
الجزء الاول

الجزء التانى

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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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