on November 4, 1999
If you have even the slightest interest in theoretical physics, astronomy, or cosmology, READ THIS BOOK. Michio Kaku continues with "Beyond Einstein" in the proud tradition of its predecessor, "Hyperspace;" I read it as a sophomore in high school and couldn't put it down, and "Beyond Einstein" was no different. No prior knowledge of physics or mathematics is assumed; all you need is curiosity about how the world around you works. It is well-written and easy to understand, with just enough history to set the reader up for the science. This book will absolutely DAZZLE YOU!
on February 6, 2006
This isn't Kaku's best book-its one of his earlier efforts and his writing skills have gotten quite a bit better since then. However I still recommend this book. At the time I read it, I was studying electrical engineering in college and one day I ran into a friend in the student union. He started talking about all this physics stuff he was reading and how it was blowing his mind. It was like he had been through a religious conversion. He promised to let me borrow the book and it was Kaku's Beyond Einstein. A very easy read, Kaku got me hooked on physics right away, exposing me to ideas like extra dimensions and grand unified theories of particle physics I had never heard of in my engineering studies. He follows the standard historical treatment, talking about Maxwell, Einstein and the development of quantum mechanics. While it is a bit "breezy", its thoroughly enjoyable reading filled with historical antecdotes and nice descriptions of Einsteins spacetime warps. Then after the big bang he heads into his favorite topic, talking about extra dimensions and string theory. I was so hooked by this I began buying up every pop physics book I could find and soon changed my major from electrical engineering to math/physics. After reading Kaku engineering actually seemed mundane. Anyway, like I said this isn't Kaku's best book because his writing style has matured and he writes a lot better now. But the book is a gem that I recommend to those interested in science.
on December 29, 2000
This rambling survey of modern particle physics and cosmology reads well, but ultimately one has to ask, "where's the meat?" Granted, these topics are so esoteric and abstract that trying to relate them to everyday experience is nigh impossible, but a few authors (e.g, Richard Feynman and Steve Adams) have been able to accomplish this. Kaku flits from one subject to another, reciting a canon of gee-whiz observations (such as John Wheeler's suggestion that there may be only one electron in the universe, traveling back and forth in time), but he offers no logical structure upon which these conjectures are based. The book reads more like a collection of fables and fairy tales than a scientific treatment.
BEYOND EINSTEIN could arguably be recommended for those who have never done any reading on particle physics whatsoever, but for those who have already looked into it, the book will probably disappoint.
on March 8, 1999
Although not as well written as, 'Hyperspace,' Michio Kaku has put complicated aspects and terms of cosmology and quests for unified field theories into a simple, easy to follow book by using many similies and metaphores. The book totally avoided explaining the concept of superstring theory, but instead it gave a lot of information that lead up to it. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Dr. Kaku's new book because it gave lots of information about different theories that lead to superstring theory, such as: special relativity, general relativity, Maxwells theories, Newtons theories etc. The book also grasped the concept of understanding the beginning of the universe before and after the big bang, although not going into it in much scientifical detail. However, the big bang is totally theoretical and hard, infact impossible to explain omnisciently. The book has some diagrams; resultingly, making the comprehension of some ideas much easier. Dr. Kaku is indeed capable of better work, (not that this isn't good) he is by far one of the best autors of the understanding of space, in my opinion the only better autor is Steven Hawking himself. Dr. Kaku is an inspirational role model to me and I hope others agree. His books can be read by anyone from elementary school students to top physicicists, due to the simplification of the terms of thought. The only people that I don't recomend this book to are the people totally interested in the science and detailed decriptions of superstring theory. Otherwise a Must to read!!!!!!!!!!!!!
on July 28, 2006
I really liked this book. It found it easier to understand (and less gee-whiz) than Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe (paperback and CD). Kaku and his co-writer presented a very clear description of what hyperspace would look like to four-dimensional creatures such as ourselves. (This was the first clear layman's description I have read.) I only wish I understood better the quantum mechanics that "vanquished" Newton's and Einstein's propositions about gravity in very small spaces; perhaps some drawings would have helped. In addition, perhaps a chart or diagram of basic sub-atomic particles would have helped.
Nevertheless, I was intrigued by the book. Thompson's co-writing makes it intelligible to lay persons such as myself. The one element that Kaku leaves out is whether string or superstring theory is "testable." In dimensions of the size of 10^-18 cm, perhaps we cannot really make testable predictions, as Greene asserts in his book and CD.
on August 29, 1998
I felt that the book may have overstated it's content, expecting a decent description of superstring theory. This book certainly is lacking in that regard. However after reading the cover, I noticed that it doesn't promise to be that!
On the other hand, the book delivers what its cover promises: 'an exciting exursion into the discoveries that led...' to the theory of superstrings. Well, it may not be too 'exciting', but the author's enthusiasm for the subject is infective, and I found the book enjoyable to read.
To those who are looking for a complete treatment of superstring theory, I cannot reccomend this book, but if you are interested in the path taken to the theory, this may be a worthwhile read.
on October 13, 1999
As an engineer I like to keep up with things, plus I've always enjoyed Physics. This book easliy brings you up to date with modern Physics, and has many interesting stories about many of the great men and women in Science. It doesn't grind you through lengthy equations and it doesn't cost $50. Highly recommended.
on April 15, 2000
Beyond Einstein is Michio Kaku's second best book compared to Hyperspace. In this book he mainly writes a hypothesis on: The Superstring, Hyperspace, kaluza-Klein,and GUT. He gives parables to help you comprehend his ideas and better understand this book. Beyond Einstein is an excellent book that will leave you thinking about the physical attributes of modern Theoretical Physics.
I can only give this book a very lukewarm endorsement. My two complaints were that it is sketchy and somewhat out of date.
Sketchy --- By sketchy I mean that it does not explain anything in depth. This book just skims the surface of string theory and most of the subjects covered are discussed just superficially. This is not, in and of itself, a necessarily bad thing. In fact, for some audiences it is actually a desirable feature. High school students and those who just want a brief introduction to string theory and some aspects of modern physics may find this just what they want, but those who want a somewhat more in depth discussion will be disappointed. While superficial, the book does give an overviews of many subjects, namely: quantum mechanics, relativity theory, QED (and the difficulties with renormalization), the Standard Model (and its deficiencies) and cosmological features such as dark matter, dark energy, black holes and the big bang theory. There are also a lot of thumbnail biographies of people like Evariste Galois, Stephen Hawking and Vera Rubin scattered throughout the book.
The book is largely about superstring theory, but there is no clear distinction between this and string theory. (I think that the former refers to the fact that superstring theory incorporates supersymmetry into string theory, but this is never stated in this book.) There is a discussion of symmetry, but Noether's theorem (a major reason for considering symmetry) is never mentioned. In contrast to the obvious enthusiasm shown by the authors for superstring theory, it is not a theory ascribed to by the majority of physicists. While the authors do admit that there is no experimental verification for superstring theory, they neglect many other criticisms. For example, Lee Smolin (who is never referenced in this book) and others have pointed out that there are many, many, variations of string theory, but no way to determine which is the right one (or if any one of them is correct). The above-mentioned criticisms should not, however, be taken as a completely negative assessment of this book. As has been mentioned, a lot of material is covered, although in not as detailed or balanced a manner as I would have liked. You, however, may be looking for as less detailed treatment of and this would then be a good book for you. The style is breezy and informal and you can learn a lot from the time spent with this book.
Somewhat out of date --- The cover of the book states that it has been revised and updated, but it seems that it has only been updated to 1995. (There is another version of the book, with a slightly different sub-title which was published in 1998, so some of the following comments may not apply as much to this 1998 version.) Twelve years is a long time for a subject like string theory. The authors tout superstring theory as the most up to date idea, but it has now being supplanted by M theory. This need not be a problem if one is interested in superstring theory as of 1995 and if one takes some of the claims put forward by the authors with a grain if salt, but this is a problem if you want something more closely resembling the current view of particle physics. As a general rule I think that one should only spend time with modern physics books, prepared for a general audience, that were written within the last 5 years (at the outside). I wish that I had paid more attention to my own rule, but the revised and updated statement above the title of the book fooled me. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
on April 17, 2006
This fascinating book will take you through the realm of cosmology, physics, and the world of mathematics. However, the book at times can be hard to understand because it uses very hard language and refers to several theories and scientist. It is necessary to have small background knowledge in physics and in many of the scientists and theories the book mentions. It mentions scientist such as Einstein, Heisenberg, Bohr, Hawkins, Newton, Maxwell, Feynman, Glashow, Nambu, and many more. The book mainly talks about the Theory of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics; however, it does mention several other theories too. It talks about Quantum Mechanics and Einstein's theories in detail; therefore, those theories are easy to follow. Nevertheless, once the book starts talking about all the theories that came in response to Quantum Mechanics and the Grand Unifying Theory the book becomes hard to follow. This book tells the history of how several theories have evolved and are being developed to create one theory that unites the four fundamental forces of the world. The four fundamental forces are electromagnetism, gravity, weak nuclear force, and strong nuclear force. All these forces are very different, however, with the Superstring Theory; all these forces will be unified. I recommend this book because it will change you perception of the universe all everything that is around us. It will baffle your mind with new ideas that seem to be science fiction, yet are somewhat true. This book is also a great book to learn the basis of the theory of Relativity, Quantum Mechanics and many more astonishing theories that have shaped the way we view space, time, and the world.