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The Little Book of String Theory
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The Little Book of String Theory

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  546 ratings  ·  55 reviews
"The Little Book of String Theory" offers a short, accessible, and entertaining introduction to one of the most talked-about areas of physics today. String theory has been called the "theory of everything." It seeks to describe all the fundamental forces of nature. It encompasses gravity and quantum mechanics in one unifying theory. But it is unproven and fraught with cont ...more
Hardcover, 174 pages
Published March 18th 2010 by Princeton University Press (first published January 1st 2010)
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Ben
Dec 12, 2013 rated it did not like it
Could not finish

In a 150 page book for laymen,you should not be able to get your audience to the point the they can understand sentences like "...D5-branes are exchanged with solitonic 5-branes, and D3-branes are unaffected by the duality..."

Actually, you should never write sentences like that. Real articles don't even say things like that. If they do, then it is something like "GiantEquation... where the variables XYZ are exchanged to form GiantEquation..."

This dude somehow thought he just tran
...more
Cybermilitia
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Olayi ana hatlariyla anlatan bir kitap. Okuyup not alip, sonra isin matematigine gomulmek gerek. Bir iki ilginc fikir vermedi degil. Arada tekrar tekrar okumam gerekecek.
M.J.
May 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is a mystery. "The Little Book of String Theory" occupies a strange space: not accessible enough to be a true introduction, yet not technical enough to be more than a primer for those with more familiarity with the topic. It is therefore an admirable attempt, with enough successes to invite a second read after a period of digesting its contents, but enough failures to keep it from easy recommendation.

Gubser's writing style is strangely conversational and inviting, clearly aiming at the
...more
Fuzzball Baggins
Feb 10, 2018 rated it liked it
It was interesting, but it would've been better without so many unnecessary analogies. Especially the ones where the author went on a wild tangent in order to find some excuse to show off about his rock climbing abilities. 'One time, I was rock climbing this really hard mountain, and it was super cool and I'm awesome and a really good rock climber' - this goes on for like three pages - 'and in a way, rock climbing reminds me of gluons...' and then there's a dumb one-line analogy about particle p ...more
Mikayla
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who like physics
I enjoy the Gubser's narration, and the content of the book engrosses me. However, I've reached a point in this novel where I can't fully understand everything and will most likely revisit this at a later date when I'm further along in school.
Marius
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Somehow, a book about string theory made me really doubt the whole field... The explanations are poorly written, and often leave the reader more confused than enlightened. The numerous analogies for the layman are both not able to encapsulate the problem well, and are tediously long. However, the underlying theoretical ideas are none the less fascinating.
Ahmad
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
يحوى الكثير من المصطلحات الصعبة. يحتاج إلى معرفة مسبقة بنظرية الوتر وما تحتويه. بالنسبة إلي كشخص لا يمتلك معرفة كبيرة بنظرية الوتر او فيزياء جسيمات الطاقة العالية فقد كان تحديا كبيرا.
لكن قراءته كانت ممتعة.
John Micallef
Aug 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Good information, poorly written. The interesting parts of the book were heavily bogged down by myriads of unnecessary analogies.
Brendan  McAuliffe
Aug 16, 2010 rated it did not like it
Another popular science attempt that they had no idea what to do with.
Sebastian
Oct 15, 2017 rated it did not like it
Well, I guess the Gubser method of instruction does not work too well on me.

Having finished a beautiful, elegant popular-level explanation of the main competing quantum gravity theory to strings - LQG - I wanted to be fair and look (once again) into what the deal is with those damn strings and whether anything worthwhile has been dug up recently. However, not wanting to waste too much time on a theory I’m not sure I buy, I decided to go with this, well, little book on string theory.

It, however,
...more
Hristos Dagres
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ο συγγραφέας κάνει μια φιλότιμη προσπάθεια να εκλαϊκεύσει με εύληπτο τρόπο, χωρίς όμως να να προδίδει την επιστημονική διάσταση ενός θέματος που βρίσκεται τόσο βαθειά στο χώρο της θεωρητικής φυσικής που καθιστά την απόπειρα εξ αρχής ακατόρθωτη. Στην πορεία αναπόφευκτα, είναι αναγκασμένος να περικόψει ή να αποφύγει περίπλοκες μαθηματικές αποδείξεις, να απομονώσει μόνο τα πολύ ουσιώδη από διάφορες θεωρίες και να κάνει αναγωγές ή εξαγωγές συμπερασμάτων από διατυπώσεις που - τουλάχιστον εμένα - δεν ...more
Rama
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physics
An introduction to string theory

This book starts with a brief introduction to the basic laws of physics, and the search for an ultimate theory to explain the physical reality. When the author starts describing the string theory, things get complicated. The reader must bear in mind that this is not an easy field to appreciate since it involves multi-dimensions of space and one time dimension; string theory has 26 dimensions, and superstring theory has 10 dimensions. Besides this, the fundamental
...more
minhhai
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: english, science
An informal and elegant story-telling of String theory for non-technical readers (zero math required). The book covers very very basic ideas in modern Physics, String theory, Particles Physics, their relationship and the struggle of String theory for experimental verification.

My strongest impression about the book is its elegance, which probably is owing to the author's personality. It's extremely difficult to talk about least accessible topics like String theory in such a short book, but Steven
...more
Bogdan Kulinich
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
That's a highly recommended book for all the weirdos interested in string theory. First of all, it is really little. So that when you've decided that enough is enough, you will be reading the last page. Second, it is written in a real english and not in its poor imitation as is often the case with the most non-fiction books written by scientists for lay people community. There are a lot of funny stories taken from the authors life woven into the main theme of physics and mathematics of strings. ...more
Isabelle
Jan 26, 2018 rated it liked it
The little book of string theory is an interesting attempt, caught between making itself understood, and not making itself too dense. I have somewhat of an underpinning of quantum mechanics and related fields from my degree. I found that when I already knew the topic, the explanations seemed very clear and well put together and even drew a chuckle or two from me (sparticle is honestly one of my favourite words).
Unfortunately, when the topic was unfamiliar to me, it was very easy to lose the thre
...more
Chrisee
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-and-psych
Although The Little Book of String Theory is marketed for the interested laymen, it is anything but. For those who are well-versed in string theory, the book will be perhaps a more interesting read. However, string theory is a complex field and Gubser's attempts to clarify its concepts are not always successful (quite the contrary). Since the analogies and dubious writing might contribute to some confusions surrounding string theory, I don't think this book is geared towards its intended audienc ...more
Danial
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
این کتاب توسط استیون اس گوبسر در سال ۲۰۱۰ نوشته شده، ایشون استاد دانشگاه پرینستون رشته فیزیک هستن. خیلی سعی کرده با لحن خودمونی همراه با شوخی متن رو پیش ببره. این کتاب خیلی سنگین بود برای من و چیز زیادی متوجه نشدم، نه بخاطر ضعف توضیح نوسنده بلکه بخاطر مطالب کتاب، فیزیکدانا چند دهه درگیر این نظریه هستن و خودشون اقرار میکنن که این نظریه رو هنوز کامل نفهمیدیم، حالا تصور کنید بخاید این نظریه رو به زبان غیر ریاضی و در ۱۴۰ صفحه یاد بگیرید، مسلما به نتیجه ای نمیرسید. ولی از خوندن این کتاب پشیمون نیستم.
Carla
May 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I really wanted to like this book. I really wish I was smart enough to understand this book. This book went way over my head but there were still pieces that were interesting and it definitely increased my curiosity (that's a success, right?). I wish he would've broken it down more simply (is that even possible?). I envy all the people that read this book and understood it completely. Envy! Oh, if there's someone that can explain branes to me, that'd be great 😬
Kieran Wood
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good book, it realy ramps up from chapter 4 onward. Sometimes the work is hard to tell which theory he is discussing, and keeping track of that is somewhat difficult. It would have been better to dedicate either whole chapters, or sections to different theories to help keep it straight. All in all a good book, although because it was published in 2010 it would be interesting to see the advances in the field since then.
Dhruv
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good introductory narration with no mathematical beef for people fairly familiar with the concept. I would definitely recommend this book to the readers who are curious to learn about the topic. Also since the book was published in 2010, there is no mention about gravitational waves discovery or LIGO.
Chase Snarr
May 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned-to-read
The subject matter is interesting. I kept up in the earlier chapters then got lost in the later chapters. Clearly much of this is over my head but sometimes I felt confused because of weird comparisons.
Erin Greenberg
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An accessible overview of string theory that uses everyday examples to describe rather nebulous concepts. Overall, a great read.
To Chin
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Conveys some key ideas at a popular level. Good casual reading.
Jocelyn
May 20, 2013 rated it liked it
The Little Book of String Theory is an overview of the main ideas in string theory, written by a physics professor and string theorist.

While this book isn't meant to be a textbook and is meant to connect with the layman who is not an expert on theoretical physics, I can't help but wish it were a textbook. I need more diagrams! It is good at giving a fairly in-depth look at string theory, D-branes, quark-gluon plasma and so on, but I felt that the writing was a little all over the place. For inst
...more
Jina
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This was another great read for me. I enjoyed how Steven would get technical, then realize how abstract this ideas might be, and then recap with simplifying what was actually the most important thing to take away. I was very surprised that he got through 95% without bringing up math. He did mention some simple, basic physics formulas here and there and used (again, very basic) algebra to explain a portion of string theory better, but that was it. To which the author says: “As important as mathem ...more
Marcus Welsh
Aug 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I believe this book provides a great introduction for anyone who is unfamiliar with the concepts of string theory. The author does a great job of reviewing fundamental concepts in quantum physics, providing a great overview of symmetry, and does an exceptional job describing Branes. However, for anyone unfamiliar with fundamental concepts of quantum physics in the beginning will probably have a hard time grasping the later chapters, as those require familiarity with basics concepts in quantum ph ...more
Alex
Nov 17, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
This is a good book to familiarize yourself with String Theory.

The author, a physics professor at Princeton, makes a brilliant effort to use many "common world" analogies to make his increasingly esoteric subject less so, including Chopin sonatas and Fred Astaire dancing.

Recommended to everyone who likes popular scientific texts and is not afraid to stop in the middle of a book to contemplate the weirdness of existence. It'll make you appreciate more what the amazing people working at LHC are tr
...more
Vangelis Kritikos
Popular science writing is a fine art, much more difficult than scientific paper authoring, especially in the subject of theoretical physics: The writer has to present some difficult to grasp, out of ordinary experience, theoretical and abstract concepts to the lay reader. I think that this book has failed in its purpose, presenting short bits of information about s-string theories without any documentation and in an unbalanced way.

Perhaps the message of the book is the following: such topics c
...more
Aravind Ingalalli
May 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Theory of Strings is how near to reality? They talk of 26 dimensions, 11 dimensions, and all that is formulated through some mathematics. Book is for laymen with almost no mathematical descriptions, and almost boring for one who is freak about equations. Some simple equations with the physical meaning behind them would have been better work. Well, by the way, after I was done with reading book, and I was muling over one thought: what these strings are? If they are fundamental, then does string t ...more
Amanda
Sep 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
If you ever have a chance of understanding string theory, then this is the book that will be able to explain it. Written by a college professor (who I would totally would have had a crush on if I was in his class) who uses vivid examples, like Frank Sinatra dancing with a green blob, to explain the most fundamental aspects of string theory. In the process, he successfully avoids getting caught up in the politics of the theory - like which scientists deserve the credit - and he doesn't drift into ...more
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