Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the Tenth Dimension
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on October 13, 2000
Hyperspace is a book strongly focused on higher-dimensional space-time theories such as superstring and Kaluza-Klein-type. The 10 dimensional theory promises to vastly simplify the laws of nature and end our view of a three dimension universe. Kaku manages to compile lots of information in a very readable and fascinating book. You will understand how 10-D theories are basically simple and geometric, despite their mathematical complexity (which actually opened up new areas of mathematics).
Higher dimension theories allow us to reduce enormous amounts of information into a concise, elegant fashion that unites the two greatest theories of the 20th century: Quantum Theory and General Relativity.
Michio covers the basics of the theory, and its future implications for the future of physics and science, and even writes a few pages on the debate between the reductionism and holism in nature, and the aesthetic relation among physics, mathematics, religion and philosophy. The book flows very smoothly, never burying the reader under too many technical facts. It introduces higher dimension concepts, its relationship with currently accepted theories and the unification of all forces in ten dimensions.
Part 3 of the book starts getting heavier on astrophysics, covers Wormholes and potential gateways to other universes, black holes, parallel universes, time travel and colliding universes. Never Hollywood material, but the typical Stargate fan will probably still love this part. :-) Part 4 ends the book with thoughts on how mankind would can rule the universe if Hyperspace can be mastered, discussing the fate of the universe and its civilizations. Subjects like Entropy death, escape thru hyperspace and universal colonization are covered. Interesting, but lots of early speculation.
It is true that superstring theories currently appear impossible to test experimentally and may end up in the trash bin, but I don't think that limits this title's interest or renders it worthless. Michio's book is very well written and organized, making extremely difficult higher physics sound almost easy. Beware however, that this isn't really a good title for a complete beginner, and far from complex enough to leave some other readers satisfied. If you have some knowledge of the basics, you will be left with the impression that the ideas covered are simple, but it will only be an illusion; Very few people in the world fully master all the subjects covered. If having to understand the Riemann Metric Tensor is enough to make you run, you better keep away from this title. No knowledge in math is necessary, but of course, if you know your college math, you'll know what's happening, in some parts instead of having to just believe Kaku's word. :) Just being able to grasp the general beauty of hyperspace science is still well worth the time.
In parallel, you will hear some stories about mathematicians, events, and many curious episodes that have influenced modern science; Kaku sometimes diverges a bit from the main subject, and ends up telling stories, some about his childhood, and many about famous scientists (For instance, when dealing with Hilton's cubes, Kaku spends a few paragraphs telling us about Hilton's habits and the fact that he was a bigamist, the scandals, etc). This isn't really a problem, as the stories are usually interesting and directly or indirectly related to the subjects.
Kaku did manage to write a great laymen's (well, almost) book about higher dimensional physics and cosmology. Not many do it as well. Everybody remembers Hawkin's "A Brief History of Time" and also the now classic "The Elegant Universe". Hyperspace has its place next to these.
The discussion about God grasped my interest, but that didn't last long. I would have dropped the subject, as Michio is definitely not qualified to get into it, and I did not get the book to read a version of Kant's arguments that have been refuted to exhaustion. Note that I'm not questioning Michio's conclusions, just saying that there are far better titles on these matters and that the author should have focused on what's he's good at.
But, that little stain is no major problem, In general, very enjoyable title, also complete in notes, references, suggested readings and has a good index.
Highly recommended.
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on January 1, 2001
Though it is impossible to visualize higher dimensions and difficult for most of us to understand the equations involved in this technical field, Michio Kaku, who has become the "Carl Sagan" of our time, does an excellent job of helping lay readers comprehend hyperspace. The concept of higher dimensions, which was formerly introduced in 1854 by Geog Riemann, was not taken seriously because it was an untestable theory and lost credibility upon the introduction of quantum theory in the early twentieth century. Reinman believed that the forces of nature such as electricity, magnetism, and gravity were just effects caused by the crumpling or warping of hyperspace, an idea that Albert Eisntein revived in his theory of general relativity. In this comprehensive and often humouous work, Kaku takes the reader from the fictional characters of Charles Hinton to Relativity and String theories; both of which have revived interest in higher dimensional reality. If you thought, like me, that you could never come close to understanding the concepts of hyperspace, this book will surely bring you within reach of this understanding, while providing a sound background in the history and development of higher dimensions.
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on August 7, 2000
Everyone of us were born to comprehend the 3-dimensional world that we live in, and most of us would view time as the forth. In "Hyperspace", Kaku introduces the concept of dimensions beyond the third, and what these dimensions mean to us. Apart from talking about the possibilities of deriving a unified theory of all physical laws in higher dimensions, wormholes were also described in details as to how they could be used for travelling between different dimensions and universes, and more interestingly, how they could be used to travel through time. Most of the concepts were backed by examples and stories (including those of Kaku's childhood memories) which, not only allows the readers to easily grasp them, but also makes them more interesting to follow. However, one may start to wonder how on earth could Kaku's parents allow (and assist) their child to perform such horrific experiments!
This book was written primarily for the general public. Having said this, some moderate background and interests in physics are necessary, but then again you probably wouldn't be reading this review to start with if you weren't interested in "Hyperspace", right?
To sum up, I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who wants to find out more about the higher dimensions. Although there were occasions when I felt that Kaku has gone into too much details on the stories he quoted, which themselves could have been another interesting read if I wasn't told of the endings...
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on December 3, 2002
This is book definitely written for the layperson, but the author does no condescension when explaining complex details to the reader. No deep mathematics, no proofs, just a good book for the average person to enjoy and understand. The best book on the market for understanding the complications of the limitations of the space-time continuum of the world we live in.
Don't confuse "hyperspace" with "hypercube". "Hypercube" is a study in mathematics regarding four dimensions without time, while this book discusses as much in detail about "hyperspace", a study of dimensions up to ten. The book is actually on the higher study of physics, not mathematics, but of course, mathematics is a part of the book, if only on a limited basis.
Very interesting on the string theory, where dimensions of 10 and/or 26 are required. Also, all the competing theories are discussed, including the fact that Einstein himself was uncomfortable with studies beyond the fourth dimension. This is all discussed, very aptly, with a view to have the reader himself put on the physicist's shoes, so to speak, and comprehend creating some of theses theories, along with the rest of the academia bunch.
Diagrams and pictures are included to help the reader visualize some of this, even if it is in a limited way. Very helpful.
Einstein claimed that imagination was more than 90 percent of true scientific inquiry. I wouldn't agree with him entirely, especially in fields such as biology, but for physics study and a good review of the all the theories concerning higher dimensions, I would agree more with Einstein than not. I would even recommend this book to one comtemplating a future serious study in physics or math. I wouldn't be without it.
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on February 17, 2001
High dimensional theories are really hard to comprehend given that you can't see them but just visualize them mathematically. I think the author has done a great job exposing a non physicist to the world of higher dimensional physics.
Kaku starts the Hyperspace theory (also called Superstring or Supergravity theory) in a chronological fashion. Obviously he talks about Einstein's general relativity and then moves on to the pioneer's in the high dimentional geometry with a broad and very lucid description of Kaluza theory (later to become Kaluza-Klein) and Riemann matrices.
According to Kaku , hyperspace theory tells us before the Big Bang, our cosmos was actually a perfect ten-dimensional universe, a world where interdimensional travel was possible. However, this ten-dimensional universe "cracked" in two, creating two separate universes: a four-and a six- dimensional universe. The universe in which we live was born in that cosmic cataclysm. Our four-dimensional universe expanded explosively, while our twin six-dimensional universe contracted violently, until it shrank to almost infinitesimal size. This would explain the origin of the Big Bang. If correct, this theory demonstrates that the rapid expansion of the universe was just a rather minor aftershock of a much greater cataclysmic event, the cracking of space and time itself. The energy that drives the observed expansion of the universe is then found in the collapse of ten-dimensional space and time. According to this theory, the distant stars and galaxies are receding from us at astronomical speeds because of the original collapse of ten-dimensional space and time.
This is by far the best description of the theory I've read so far in a book. The subject matter does require concentration. Even though personally it is hard for me to come to terms with many aspects of the theory, it is definately a mind opener.
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on May 22, 2001
I guess I would have liked this book a lot more if I had read it before Brian Greene's excellent book, _The Elegant Universe_.
Michio Kaku has a rare talent for being able to explain very complex and abstract systems and situations in terms that people who have not had a graduate level college course in the subject can understand. He thus moves quite deftly from subject to subject, taking the time to explain things in terms that any reader should be able to understand.
However, for a book on Science, Kaku gets caught up in discussions about things that did not contribute much to the text (although a discussion of God does not necessarily _detract_ from the book, it isnt what I was looking for).
Kaku has written another book, _Visions_, which covers many of the subjects elaborated on in this book. I would suggest readers get the Visions book, and also pick up a copy of the much more modern and somewhat higher-brow book by Brian Greene, _The Elegant Universe_.
Four stars because it is a good book, five if it were contemporary.
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VINE VOICEon December 21, 2003
This is an odyssey into the history of development of the concept of hyperspace that includes fourth and higher spatial dimensions to account for the riddles and unsolved problems of unified field theory. Since the postulation of special theory of relativity, Einstein and subsequent physicists until now have struggled to explain the four natural forces; the electromagnetic force (explained by Maxwell's field equations for electricity & magnetism); the strong and weak nuclear forces (explained by Yang - Mills field equations for subatomic forces); and the gravitational force (explained by Einstein's field equations of gravitation and relativity) by one unified field theory (theory of everything: String Theory). In other words, unifying the forces of the big, the cosmos, and the laws of the small, the microcosm (subatomic forces) by one single theory. The first part of the book describes how laws of nature become so simple to understand if higher dimensions are invoked; the author gives us a good historical background to build his case for hyperspace concept. The second part of the book describes the evolution of quantum mechanics and String theory. An introduction to wormholes, black holes and the use of these cosmic bodies for interstellar travel is given in the third part. The fourth part rambles through the future of the universe with irrelevant and some times out of focus narrative. The book is entirely free of physics and mathematics; from the point of understanding the basic concepts this approach is welcome. This book also gives an insight into the poignant story of Riemann (p.42) and Ramanujan (p.174) who sustained enormous personal and family hardships to contribute significantly in the field of mathematics. We also get a glimpse of academic rat race that involves professional rivalry, name & work recognition, and personal ego that is prevalent in academics. This is illustrated when Einstein delays Kaluza's paper for publication for 2 years (p.102). Bohr calling Pauli's lecture crazy (p.137); Sheldon Glashow ridiculing t'Hooft's work (p.121); a superior discouraging Mahahiko Suzuki's publication about Euler's Beta function (p.161); and Pauli being furious about Eisenberg's claim, Einstein - Bohr argument, and Schrodinger frustrated with Bohr's interpretation (p.261).
The author rambles about symmetry in arts; what is that got to do with hyperspace? The reader can find this discussion in any art book. Time travel has been described in layman's language in many books in depth; this discussion is unnecessary for this book. Throughout the book, the author refers to standard model and the equations of quantum mechanics as ugly; Equations are not ugly, they are complex or non-symmetrical.
The author could have devoted one chapter to describing the field equations in layman's terms; it would have helped a more enthusiastic reader to build a bridge to physics and tensor calculus. The reader should not be discouraged about mathematics in understanding relativity; many physicists themselves are heading to the library to learn about mathematics in String theory (Part 2). More appropriate title of the book could be hyperspace - a historical development of String theory. Despite the minor concerns, this book has strong points as observed above. I encourage the reader to buy this book; if you are not happy with this book, it is less than two-lunch money (page numbers from 1994 edition).
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on March 8, 2001
Though it is impossible to visualize higher dimensions and difficult for most of us to understand the equations involved in this technical field, Michio Kaku, who has become the "Carl Sagan" of our time, does an excellent job of helping lay readers comprehend hyperspace. The concept of higher dimensions, which was formerly introduced in 1854 by Geog Riemann, was not taken seriously because it was an untestable theory and lost credibility upon the introduction of quantum theory in the early twentieth century. Reinman believed that the forces of nature such as electricity, magnetism, and gravity were just effects caused by the crumpling or warping of hyperspace, an idea that Albert Eisntein revived in his theory of general relativity. In this comprehensive and often humouous work, Kaku takes the reader from the fictional characters of Charles Hinton to Relativity and String theories; both of which have revived interest in higher dimensional reality. If you thought, like me, that you could never come close to understanding the concepts of hyperspace, this book will surely bring you within reach of this understanding, while providing a sound background in the history and development of higher dimensions.
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on February 21, 2004
+++++

This book, as author Dr. Michio Kaku says, "is about a scientific revolution created by the theory of hyperspace, which states that dimensions exist beyond the commonly accepted four of space and time." As a result, Kaku explores the world of geometry and space-time--that is, he explores the invisible universe.

This book makes accessible to the general but intelligent reader the fascinating research on hyperspace theory.

Scientifically, the hyperspace theory goes by other names such as Kaluza-Klein theory and supergravity. But in its most advanced form, it's called superstring theory. This theory predicts the precise number of dimensions: ten.

This book, which has a main narrative of about 330 pages, is divided into four parts:

Part one (four chapters) develops the early history of hyperspace (which began in the mid-1800s), emphasizing the theme that the laws of nature become simpler when expressed in higher dimensions. For example, in space-time, the laws of gravity and electromagnetic radiation (such as light) each obey a different physics and a different mathematics. However, if a fifth dimension is added to the space-time continuum, then the equations "governing light and gravity appear to merge together like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle."

The main conclusion of this part is that space-time is inadequate or "too small" to describe the forces that shape our universe. When expressed in higher dimensions, however, there is "enough room" to explain these forces.

The second part (five chapters) elaborates on part one's conclusion emphasizing that the hyperspace theory may be able to unify the four fundamental physical forces of nature (as well as their collection of subatomic particles) into one major theory (the so-called "Theory of Everything"), a unification that Einstein was unable to achieve.

Hyperspace theory suggests the possibility that everything we see around us (such as trees, mountains, and stars) is nothing but vibrations. "If this is true, then this gives us an elegant, simple, and geometric means of providing a coherent and compelling description of the entire universe."

Part three (three chapters) explores the possibility that, under extreme circumstances, space may be stretched until it rips and tears. From this, we get the concept of "wormholes" or tunnels that link distant parts of space and time. Thus, time travel via time machines that exploit these tunnels may be possible.

Cosmologists have proposed the possibility that our universe is only one among an infinite number of parallel universes. By analyzing Einstein's equations, they have shown that there might exist a web of wormholes that connect these universes.

Although theoretical, hyperspace travel may eventually provide the most practical application of all: to save intelligent life, including ours, from the death of the universe by collapse. In the last seconds of our universe's death, intelligent life may escape this collapse by going into hyperspace.

The last part (three chapters) concludes with a final, practical question: If hyperspace theory is proven to be correct, then when will we be able to harness its power? Answer: when our civilization develops the technical capability that enables us to harness the immense energy required for manipulating space-time or hope for contact with an advanced technical civilization that has already mastered hyperspace. (Included in this book is a good discussion on extraterrestrial civilizations.)

In the meantime, we can calculate the precise energy needed to create a "time-warp" (where space and time are twisted into a "pretzel") or to create wormholes that link distant parts of our universe. This book ends by speculating on the level of technology that's needed for us to perform these feats, a technology that will make us "masters of hyperspace."

This is a history book, a storybook (that contains both true and hypothetical stories), a physics book, a mathematics book, and a book of scientific speculation. All physics and mathematics is explained by analogy and with good diagrams. This book as a whole is enjoyable to read but I found it necessary to slow down sometimes to grasp some major concepts.

The only prerequisite needed to read this book, in my opinion, is the ability to visualize and to have an appreciation for the power of physics and mathematics.

Finally, I recognize that some theories presented in this book have advanced since its 1994 publication but I feel that this book is an excellent starting point to become familiar with key concepts that are needed to understand more advanced topics.

In conclusion, Kaku's final words in the book are as follows: "Some people seek meaning in life through personal gain, through personal relationships, or through personal experiences. However, it seems to me that being blessed with the intellect to [understand] the ultimate secrets of nature gives meaning in life." This book exposes some of those "secrets of nature" and makes them understandable. Thus I urge you to go beyond space-time and experience the hyperspace odyssey.

+++++
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on January 7, 2006
I'm not a science brain, just an average T.V. viewer who greatly enjoyed this book. I had no problem understanding the physics explained in this book. After seeing the television series "The Elegant Universe," I wanted to read more about it. Kaku's book "Hyperspace" explains the theories of Einstein, 10 dimentional space, superstrings, etc. I found the book very insightful and interesting. I enjoyed every page. I would rate it with more stars if I could.
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