Most helpful positive review
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Great book for right audience
on August 10, 2009
The books falls very nicely between casual mass-market popularization literature and professional PhD texts. The average reader can easily follow the popular books, yet one can read only so many times about ray of light in moving train and curved spacetime. To follow the real developments in modern physics is next to impossible without well-developed math skills.
Majid does a terrific job of leading to the very edge of layman understanding, proving minimal math concepts to explain structure of his ideas... and then just at the moment where loosing his train of thoughts seems inescapable provide simple and yet brilliant summation of surprising insights on his ideas about reality.
The book is not trivial to follow, and knowledge of basic math concepts would be very helpful. However, it doesn't require the actual PhD level math or deriving anything. You just need to be ready to apply much more math thinking when reading the text then it would be typical for say Brian Greene book. Working your mental gears through very simple yet fun facts like (x*y)^-1 = (y^-1*y)(x*y)^-1=(y^-1*x^-1*x*y)*(x*y)^-1==(y^-1*x^-1)*(x*y)*(x*y)^-1= y^-1*x^-1 is very satisfying.
Of many recently purchased books (including terrific works by Lee Smolin, Lisa Randal, etc) this one lets you come as close as one can to watch actual workings of modern theoretical physicist research, and almost grasp the building blocks and connections without the nitty-gritty details of rigid proof. Majid conjectures are very thought provoking, and put new light on many familiar physical concepts. Strongly recommend and just wish there were more high-end popularization books like that one.