- Series: Complete Idiot's Guide to
- Paperback: 334 pages
- Publisher: Alpha; First Printing edition (July 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1592577024
- ISBN-13: 978-1592577026
- Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 46 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #470,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Complete Idiot's Guide to String Theory Paperback – July 1, 2008
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Despite the crazy title, this is an excellent popular account of string theory. As the astronomer Martin Rees writes in the foreword, For aliens, string theory may be a doddle. But for most of us humans, they are a Himalayan challenge. So, this book is to be welcomed, not only for explaining the physics in an easily assimilated way, but also for articulating why superstrings and the rest of fundamental physics matter at all. This is something that physicists themselves rarely do. Best of all, Musser, a staff editor and writer at Scientific American, tackles the controversial aspects of string theory, which have been the subject of much journalistic nonsense lately, and gets it all just about right.
Physics World, December 2008
is actually a thoroughly worthwhile read, doing as good a job as you could hope for in reducing the Gordian complexity of string theory into something that intelligent readers feel that they understand.
Physics Education, November 2008
About the Author
George Musser is a staff editor and writer for Scientific American magazine. He was recently awarded the 2010 Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award by the American Astronomical Society. He was the originator and one of the lead editors for the magazine's special issue "A Matter of Time" (Sept. 2002), which won a National Magazine Award for editorial excellence, and he coordinated the single-topic issue "Crossroads for Planet Earth" (Sept. 2005), which won a Global Media Award from the Population Institute and was a National Magazine Award finalist.
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Of course, to be fair, this is a difficult subject to "translate" into the common vernacular so to speak, but I know some justice can be done to this feat. I know because I have read the books written by Brian Greene on the subject. For example, Green's book "The Elegant Universe" did a splendid job of presenting the concepts of string theory and the cosmos in a manner that allowed comprehension by the non-expert.
Nevertheless, in his book, Musser touches on many subjects, such as relativity, quantum theory and the world of the small, the Standard Model, black holes, the big bang, time travel, gravitons, strings, loop quantum gravity, extra dimensions, parallel universes, symmetry, branes, testing string theory, and more. New terms introduced are defined in sidebars as are explanations of key ideas and concepts albeit tersely.
If you can be content by a collection of "fast facts" on this subject matter, you will probably find this book satisfying.
This is a beautiful book, not only in its clarity but in its proper understanding that quanta are primary over particles.
Yet it still tries to sell you on the idea that strings are physical, just as 19th century science tried to sell us on the concept that mind is physical. But, to get back to the controlling metaphor, IMHO just as we have minds, and our minds are primary (controlling) over our bodies, particles are controlled by quanta. Scientists so far have mixed the metaphor and have not been able to understand that quanta control particles, condemning strings to the physical world of the particle. So like Ponce de Leon, and his search for the fanciful fountain of youth, it seeks some fanciful solution to the "extra dimensions" necessary to explain particle activity in physical, rather than naturally in mental space. But in fact the "extra" dimensions are not hidden or curled up in physical dimensions, the extra dimensions, like all quanta, are mental and the extra, controlling dimensions are mental as well.
-Ever since Hume, science has imprisoned us in the dark cave of materialism and blind empiricism and needs to restore us to the rational sunlight of plato (plotinus) -- see my website (...)or search in Google with a search term such as Clough platonic theory of mind Site: (...)