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Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos Paperback – February 14, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (February 14, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400033721
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400033720
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (163 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Well-known physicist and author Kaku (Hyperspace) tells readers in this latest exploration of the far reaches of scientific speculation that another universe may be floating just a millimeter away on a "brane" (membrane) parallel to our own. We can't pop our heads in and have a look around because it exists in hyperspace, beyond our four dimensions. However, Kaku writes, scientists conjecture that branes—a creation of M theory, marketed as possibly the long-sought "theory of everything"—may eventually collide, annihilating each other. Such a collision may even have caused what we call the big bang. In his usual reader-friendly style, Kaku discusses the spooky objects conjured up from the equations of relativity and quantum physics: wormholes, black holes and the "white holes" on the other side; universes budding off from one another; and alternate quantum realities in which the 2004 elections turned out differently. As he delves into the past, present and possible future of this universe, Kaku will excite readers with his vision of realms that may exist just beyond the tip of our noses and, in what he admits is a highly speculative section, the possibilities our progeny may enjoy countless millennia from now; for instance, as this universe dies (in a "big freeze"), humans may be able to escape into other universes. B&w illus.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Scientific American

In the end, as our universe is dying, will civilization be able to move to another universe? Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York, thinks the possibility of such a transition appears in "the emerging theory of the multiverse--a world made up of multiple universes, of which ours is but one." Our universe is now expanding. "If this antigravity force continues, the universe will ultimately die in a big freeze." That is a law of physics. "But it is also a law of evolution that when the environment changes, life must either leave, adapt, or die." Moving to another universe is one possibility cited by Kaku. Another is that civilization could build a "time warp" and travel back into its own past, to an era before the big freeze. A third is that "an entire civilization may inject its seed through a dimensional gateway and reestablish itself, in its full glory." Kaku is good at explaining the cosmological ideas--among them string theory, inflation, wormholes, space and time warps, and higher dimensions--that underpin his argument.

Editors of Scientific American --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


More About the Author

Michio Kaku is the co-founder of String Field Theory and is the author of international best-selling books such as Hyperspace, Visions, and Beyond Einstein. Michio Kaku is the Henry Semat Professor in Theoretical Physics at the City University of New York.

Customer Reviews

It is a very interesting book and easy to read.
Rui Antunes
Michio does an excellent job of explaining concepts in terms the average person can understand.
Richie Swellz
I highly recommend it for anyone interested in astronomy or astrophysics.
Andre LeBlanc

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

236 of 244 people found the following review helpful By Dave Schwinghammer VINE VOICE on February 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Michio Kaku's discussion of PARALLEL WORLDS results from physicists' attempts to reconcile Einstein's Theory of Relativity with that of quantum mechanics to form a "theory of everything." M-Theory, the newest form of string theory, allows for the possibility of a parallel universe no more than a millimeter from ours. Kaku believes the newest super collider, which should be ready in 2007, may reveal evidence pointing to this alternate universe.

Another theory, Alan Guth's inflationary universe theory, argues that the universe expanded much faster than the speed of light (possible because this was empty space that was expanding) and that the antigravity force which caused this original Big Bang still exists, allowing for more explosions, more inflation, and multi-universes.

Also, if we apply the quantum theory to the universe, we are forced to admit that the universe, like an electron, may exist simultaneously in many states.

Kaku asks the question, "What might these alternate universes look like?" Kaku theorizes that each time a new universe sprouts off from the original the physical laws change, creating entirely new realities. All of this gets even stranger when Kaku projects that all possible quantum worlds might exist simultaneously.

The author does not shy away from controversial issues, such as the Designer Universe. At one point he compares the likelihood of our world occurring by accident to a "Boeing 747 aircraft being completely assembled as a result of a tornado striking a junkyard."

PARALLEL WORLDS really gets interesting when Kaku discusses Nikolai Kardashev's classification of civilizations according to energy output. Type I would have harnessed planetary forms of energy.
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163 of 167 people found the following review helpful By Gary E. Albers on August 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think it was Niels Bohr, the great Danish physicist, who told his fellow scientists many years ago that they had an obligation to try to enlighten laymen about the latest findings of science. This was not long after Einstein's theories of relativity and the development of quantum mechanics had demonstrated that the world in which we live and thrive was much stranger than previously thought. The comfortable and intuitive cosmos, as described by Newtonian mechanics, had been superceded by a world view that seemed not only bizarre, but even incomprehensible.

This new book by Michio Kaku is one of the latest efforts by leading-edge scientists to fulfill that felt need recognized by Bohr. Targeting the educated layman, Kaku addresses his audience in a manner that is both entertaining and non-intimidating. Instead of mathematical descriptions, he relies on everyday analogies to convey his meanings. He includes a good measure of the history behind the theories, spiced with anecdotes and humor. While tackling an inheritantly difficult subject matter, he has succeeded in making it about as accessible as it could possibly be for a lay audience.

I emphasize that this is an up-to-date account. Just a few years ago, some physicists were merely speculating about the possibilities of multiple universes, parallel worlds, time travel, worm holes...things that sounded then more like science fiction than fact. Data only recently acquired by the WMAP satellite and the rapid development of string theory (and its latest incarnation, M-theory) have caused many of the best minds to not only entertain the possibility of such phenomena but, in many cases, consider them necessary corollaries to any credible Grand Unified Theory ( i.e., a "theory of everything.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Smallchief on June 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
I've read half a dozen books attempting to explain the essentials of cosmology, the big bang, quantum mechanics, string theory, dark energy, and other facinating, but horrendously difficult, concepts. Kaku does better at helping my feeble mind understand the origin, the composition, and the ultimate fate of the universe than any other author I have encountered. Moreover, this book is up-to-date -- published in 2005 -- and given recent developments in theory any book over about 5 years old will be a bit behind the times.

In Chapter One, Kaku summarizes in simplified form what he will discuss in the rest of the book -- and lo-and-behold I could understand it! He then gives a brief history of cosmology and delves into the development of cosmological thought. I stumbled through a lot of the material, but his writing and examples, often drawn from science fiction, were interesting, although not always comprehensible to me.

The most unique part of the book was his speculation that a near infinite number of different universes may exist in different dimensions and that someday, a billion or so years hence, we may learn to pass from one to another. In fact, as he points out, it may become necessary for the survival of the human race when our old star begins to burn out. Confirmed atheists may be offended by his frequent references to what sounds a lot like "God." His speculations on the nature of future civilizations, the possibilities of time travel, and man's search for the "theory of everything" were fascinating.

For the general reader who wants to take a tour of our universe -- its largest and smallest elements -- this is an excellent introduction.

Smallchief
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