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The Little Book of String Theory

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  456 Ratings  ·  45 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 contro ...more
ebook, 184 pages
Published February 8th 2010 by Princeton University Press (first published January 1st 2010)
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Ben
Dec 12, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mikayla
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
M.J.
May 26, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ahmad Hagag
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Brendan  McAuliffe
Aug 16, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Another popular science attempt that they had no idea what to do with.
Sebastian
Oct 15, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jina
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 simply, 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
Bogdan Kulinich
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dhruv
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
John Micallef
Good information, poorly written. The interesting parts of the book were heavily bogged down by myriads of unnecessary analogies.
To Chin
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Conveys some key ideas at a popular level. Good casual reading.
Jocelyn
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
Stefano Finazzo
Jul 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Livros de divulgação teoria de cordas não faltam nesse mundo. Às vezes a impressão que dá é que esse buraco já está mais que saturado.

Talvez por que o assunto é fascinante mesmo. Como já ouvi várias vezes, esses tópicos são assuntos que formam buracos negros (clássicos) intelectuais. Uma vez que você entrou num deles, não sai mais. Aviso aos viajantes.

O meu problema com quase todos eles é que eles prometem muito mais que cumprem. Hype, hype e mais hype.

O livro do Gubser é um livro de divulgação
...more
Marcus Welsh
Aug 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Ben Hart
Jan 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well done Steven Gubser. Before I started this book I read a lot of comments on how people could not understand the content.

True, it is pretty heavy for a layman's introduction to string theory but not so much as to make it impossible. I found it very interesting and it gave me new information that I could get further explanations to from outside of the book. I believe this is a much better approach to a book on a subject that is highly complex and incomplete.

Thanks for writing this book. It h
...more
Rachael
Gusber does an admirable job of giving a snapshot of the landscape of string theory without going overboard in technical details. Unfortunately that also means that a lot of it reads like a botanist-like account of string theory species. Of course, it may be that it is actually intrinsically kind of tedious that way too. Nevertheless, it isn't too long and includes a background sense of what is going on and why it is important.
Izzatee Azlee
Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: educateyoself
A very compact yet easy to read and understand. Was worried I could not finish the book even though it is called 'the LITTLE book of string theory' considering its remarkable scientific explanation but i managed to pull through. There is nothing little about this book. For every theory Gubser provide a simple analogy for ordinary brain like mine to digest. Overall, recommended for quantum physics enthusiasts!!!!!

Yuk Ting
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No equations, no calculations, no symbols- not even a single one. Only ideas and concepts. (Still very abstract though, but it should be expected. Anyway it's a proposed theory of everything in our universe!) So don't worry.

It's always amazing to see how one can present such a crazy stuff in such a clear and friendly way~
Alissa
Apr 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
An interesting read. Gave me something meaty to wrap my brain around and gnaw on for a while. And, as others have said, almost no math involved.

p.s. OMG...the answer really IS "42"!! (I really want to re-read Hitchhiker )
Lori Koshork
Not having had a physics class before, I found it very difficult to understand. I liked the author's humor and analogies to help readers understand theories and principles. But it was just beyond my comprehension.
Eric Malone
Jul 04, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I generally love books about physics and math. This book, however, had me yawning. If you want a good book about physics I would recommend Leonard Susskind, Vilenkin, or deGrasse Tyson. This book is horrible.
Sara
Jun 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book gives great knowledge of String Theory with hardly any math at all. I do not understand the Math behind any of it, so I would not understand it, but he explains things in a way that any person could understand.
Mitch Allen
Jun 24, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
An inconsistent, confusing and incomplete treatment of a complex subject. Filled with jargon and random detail that will confound most casual readers but stops well short of presenting deeper explanations that would be useful to the more technically inclined.
Paul
Nov 27, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Actually, not "read" but "DNF" (though I may yet do so.). This topic is difficult enough for a lay person to grasp, but I did not find the author's explanations, common analogies and all, to be that helpful.
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