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The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory by Brian Greene
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“The boldness of asking deep questions may require unforeseen flexibility if we are to accept the answers.”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
“...things are the way they are in our universe because if they weren't, we wouldn't be here to notice.”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
“We all love a good story. We all love a tantalizing mystery. We all love the underdog pressing onward against seemingly insurmountable odds. We all, in one form or another, are trying to make sense of the world around us. And all of these elements lie at the core of modern physics. The story is among the grandest -- the unfolding of the entire universe; the mystery is among the toughest -- finding out how the cosmos came to be; the odds are among the most daunting -- bipeds, newly arrived by cosmic time scales trying to reveal the secrets of the ages; and the quest is among the deepest -- the search for fundamental laws to explain all we see and beyond, from the tiniest particles to the most distant galaxies.”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
“Sometimes attaining the deepest familiarity with a question is our best substitute for actually having the answer.”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe
“...quantum mechanics—the physics of our world—requires that you hold such pedestrian complaints in abeyance.”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
“Experience informs intuition. But it does more than that: Experience sets the frame within which we analyze and interpret what we perceive. You would no doubt expect, for instance, that the "wild child" raised by a pack of wolves would interpret the world from a perspective that differs substantially from your own. Even less extreme comparisons, such as those between people raised in very different cultural traditions, serve to underscore the degree to which our experiences determine our interpretive mindset.”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
“For string theory to make sense, the universe should have nine spacial dimensions and one time dimension, for a total of ten dimensions.”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
“For three decades, Einstein sought a unified theory of physics, one that would interweave all of nature's forces and material constituents within a single theoretical tapestry. He failed. Now, at the dawn of the new millennium, proponents of string theory claim that the threads of this elusive unified tapestry finally have been revealed. String theory has the potential to show that all of the wondrous happenings in the universe—from the frantic dance of subatomic quarks to the stately waltz of orbiting binary stars, from the primordial fireball of the big bang to the majestic swirl of heavenly galaxies—are reflections of one grand physical principle, one master equation.”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe
“As Feynman once wrote, "[Quantum mechanics] describes nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And it fully agrees with experiment. So I hope you can accept nature as She is—absurd.”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe
“There are two foundational pillars upon which modern physics rests. One is Albert Einstein's general relativity, which provides a theoretical framework for understanding the universe on the largest of scales: stars, galaxies, clusters of galaxies, and beyond to the immense expanse of the universe itself. The other is quantum mechanics, which provides a theoretical framework for understanding the universe on the smallest of scales: molecules, atoms, and all the way down to subatomic particles like electrons and quarks. Through years of research, physicists have experimentally confirmed to almost unimaginable accuracy virtually all predictions made by each of these theories. But these same theoretical tools inexorably lead to another disturbing conclusion: As they are currently formulated, general relativity and quantum mechanics cannot both be right.”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe
“blissful as ignorance,”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe
“…The wonders of life and the universe are mere reflections of microscopic particles engaged in a pointless dance fully choreographed by the laws of physics.”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
“Even if we choose to use the nonstandard notion of distance and thereby describe the radius as being shorter than the Planck length, the physics we encounter—as discussed in previous sections—will be identical to that of a universe in which the radius, in the conventional sense of distance, is larger than the Planck length”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe
“Far from being accidental details, the properties of nature's basic building blocks are deeply entwined with the fabric of space and time.”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe
“According to string theory, if we could examine these particles with even greater precision—a precision many orders of magnitude beyond our present technological capacity—we would find that each is not pointlike, but instead consists of a tiny one-dimensional loop. Like an infinitely thin rubber band, each particle contains a vibrating, oscillating, dancing filament that physicists, lacking Gell-Mann's literary flair, have named a string.”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe
“But the strange features of the photoelectric effect become apparent when one studies more detailed properties of the ejected electrons. At first sight you would think that as the intensity of the light—its brightness—is increased, the speed of the ejected electrons will also increase, since the impinging electromagnetic wave has more energy. But this does not happen.”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
“undulations do”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe
“Now, from special relativity we know that energy and mass are two sides of the same coin: Greater energy means greater mass, and vice versa. Thus, according to string theory, the mass of an elementary particle is determined by the energy of the vibrational pattern of its internal string. Heavier particles have internal strings that vibrate more energetically, while lighter particles have internal strings that vibrate less energetically.”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe
“If string theory is right, the microscopic fabric of our universe is a richly intertwined multidimensional labyrinth within which the strings of the universe endlessly twist and vibrate, rhythmically beating out the laws of the cosmos.”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
“The uncertainty principle tells us that the universe is a frenetic place when examined on smaller and smaller distances and shorter and shorter time scales.”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe
“at high enough energy and temperature—such as occurred a mere fraction of a second after the big bang—electromagnetic and weak force fields dissolve into one another, take on indistinguishable characteristics, and are more accurately called electroweak fields.”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe
“spewed”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe
“First, gravity and quantum mechanics are part and parcel of how the universe works and therefore any purported unified theory must incorporate both. String theory accomplishes this. Second, studies by physicists over the past century have revealed that there are other key ideas—many of which have been experimentally confirmed—that appear central to our understanding of the universe. These include the concepts of spin, the family structure of matter particles, messenger particles, gauge symmetry, the equivalence principle, symmetry breaking, and supersymmetry, to name a few. All of these concepts emerge naturally from string theory. Third, unlike more conventional theories such as the standard model, which has 19 free parameters that can be adjusted to ensure agreement with experimental measurements, string theory has no adjustable parameters. In principle, its implications should be thoroughly definitive—they should provide an unambiguous test of whether the theory is right or wrong.”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe
“la cosmología tiene la capacidad de llamar nuestra atención a un nivel profundo y vísceral, porque comprender como comenzo todo es; al menos para algunos, el punto en el que podamos encontrarnos más cerca de comprender ¿por qué empezó?.”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
“For instance, a black hole as light as a small asteroid would emit about as much radiation as a million-megaton hydrogen bomb, with radiation concentrated in the gamma-ray part of the electromagnetic spectrum.”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe
“According to special relativity, no longer can space and time be thought of as universal concepts set in stone, experienced identically by everyone. Rather, space and time emerged from Einstein's reworking as malleable constructs whose form and appearance depend on one's state of motion.”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe
“the most elementary material constituent, atoms consist of a nucleus, containing protons and neutrons, that is surrounded by a swarm of orbiting electrons. For a while many physicists thought that protons, neutrons, and electrons were the Greeks' "atoms." But in 1968 experimenters at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, making use of the increased capacity of technology to probe the microscopic depths of matter, found that protons and neutrons are not fundamental, either. Instead they showed that each consists of three smaller particles, called quarks—a whimsical name taken from a passage in James Joyce's Finnegans Wake by the theoretical physicist Murray Gell-Mann, who previously had surmised their existence. The experimenters confirmed that quarks themselves come in two varieties, which were named, a bit less creatively, up and down. A proton consists of two up-quarks and a down-quark; a neutron consists of two down-quarks and an up-quark.”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe
“the Nobel Prize–winning particle physicist Isidor Isaac Rabi greeted the discovery of the muon with a less than enthusiastic "Who ordered that?" Nevertheless, there it was. And more was to follow.”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe
“Many find it fatuous and downright repugnant to claim that the wonders of life and the universe are mere reflections of microscopic particles engaged in a pointless dance fully choreographed by the laws of physics.”
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe