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The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos Paperback – November 1, 2011
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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“Brian Greene has a gift for elucidating big ideas. . . Captures and engages the imagination. . . . It’s exciting and rewarding to read him.” —The New York Times
“A wonderful way to coax your brain into a host of strange and unfamiliar domains.” —The Boston Globe
“Exciting physics, wrapped up in effortless prose. . . . Greene has done it again.” —New Scientist
“If extraterrestrials landed tomorrow and demanded to know what the human mind is capable of accomplishing, we could do worse than to hand them a copy of this book.” —The New York Times Book Review
“The multiverse is an idea whose time has come. . . . The book serves well as an introduction . . . and will open up many people’s eyes.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Greene takes us down the rabbit hole yet again, this time setting a course for the terra incognita of parallel universes, hidden worlds, alternate realities, holographic projections, and multiverse simulations. Greene likes to drop you into the middle of the action first and then explain the backstory, but he has an elegant knack for anticipating questions and immediately dealing with any confusion or objections.” —The Daily Beast
“An accessible and surprisingly witty handbook to parallel universes…. Greene is immensely gifted at finding apt and colorful everyday analogies for the arcane byways of theoretical physics.” —The Toronto Star
“Mind-stretching. . . . [The Hidden Reality is] Greene’s impassioned argument ‘for the capacity of mathematics to reveal hidden truths about the workings of the world.’” —The New Yorker
“Like [Stephen] Hawking and [Roger] Penrose before him, [Greene] is an author who writes with the confidence and authority of one who . . . has seen the promised land of cosmic truth.” —Bookforum
“If you like your science explained rather than asserted, if you like your science writers articulate and intelligible, if you like popular science to make sense, even as it probes the heart of difficult theory, you are going to love The Hidden Reality and its author, Brian Greene.” —New York Journal of Books
“Greene’s forte is his amazing ability to give clear, everyday examples to illustrate complicated physical theories.” —The Globe and Mail
“Ambitious. . . . Entertaining and well-written. . . . Greene is a keen interpreter.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“A lucid, intriguing, and triumphantly understandable state-of-the-art look at the universe.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“With a slew of clever analogies, Greene communicates with uncommon clarity, intuition, and honesty.” —The Oxonian Review
“Greene’s success at explaining the patently inexplicable lies in the way he delightfully melds the utterly bizarre and the utterly familiar.” —Providence Journal
“Exotic cosmic terrain through which Greene provides expert guidance.” —The Oregonian
“Mind-blowing.” —The Sunday Times (London)
“Highly rewarding.” —Scotland on Sunday
“[Greene] has something fresh and insightful to say about pretty much everything”—ScienceFiction.com
“Vast, energetic and complex.” —The Easthampton Star
“The best guide available, in this universe at least.”—Science News
“Greene’s greatest achievement is that even as you grapple with these allusive concepts, you start falling in love with these mysteries.” —The Express Tribune
About the Author
Brian Greene received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his doctorate from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He joined the physics faculty of Cornell University in 1990, was appointed to a full professorship in 1995, and in 1996 joined Columbia University, where he is professor of physics and mathematics. He has lectured at both a general and a technical level in more than thirty countries, and on all seven continents, and is widely regarded for a number of groundbreaking discoveries in superstring theory. His first book, The Elegant Universe, was a national best seller and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His most recent book, The Fabric of the Cosmos, was also a best seller. He lives in Andes, New York, and New York City.
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Still it is interesting to see the direction being taken by some of the great names in Cosmology and Quantum Physics. While there is little chance that any of this material will be proven through experimentation in our lifetime, the consideration of such concepts fires the imagination and stimulates the creative mind to consider realms well outside the box of everyday thought.
An infinite number of universes repeating an infinite number of patterns, which means there's a copy of you, me, the guy next door, the gal down the street, the dog, cat, mailman and whoever else, existing in some other universe wondering, living out similar or dissimilar lives that you and I have experienced.
Eh, I'm not sure I buy into that, though I understand the idea being conveyed. But hey, a lot of it is conjecture and speculation based on the mathematics. But, if math is real, and is a tool we use to understand our world around us, then how can we not follow the trail of where the math leads us in terms of extreme environments and other environments that the mathematics says should exist.
The problem, again as Greene states himself, is that we'll probably never be able to prove either way whether the math is telling us the truth or not. That is unless you know someone who's got an interdimensional machine for sale ... or rent. Or heck, even borrow one from your neighbors.
Levity aside the material in this book really does go way out there in terms of what might be, what might be possible, and what the math behind all the theories says is.
Wow. Pretty heady stuff. I'm not sure whether to call it science or science fiction, or some kind of unholy marriage of both. Either way it is interesting stuff, and does pass the time. Definitely not a book for the scientific feint of heart, and also a bit of a psychedelic trip without the drugs.
It sure would be fun to visit some of those parallel universes. But, until that happens, we'll have to live with Greene's book.
If you're a science enthusiast, then I say take this book with a grain of salt or two. If you're heavily into theoretical physics, then this is the book for you. If you're into hard science, the I'd recommend you hold up your holy symbol of choice at this book and back away.
An interesting read all the same.
is he deals with the possibilities of us being in a SImulation. (Look out, Twilight Zone!) Chapter 10 deals with the concept of what is reality -- since all is filtered thru our brains/senses -- what are we not seeing, or how are we seeing whatever is there? A case in point is the movie Thirteenth Floor, as well as Matrix, wherein the main characters are not dealing with 3D physical reality -- they have more of a SImulation, and this idea intrigues Dr Greene.
The application of the idea also intrigued the author of Virtual Earth Graduate and he (Hegland) goes into quite some detail in 2 chapters relating how Earth really could be a SImulation, albeit a very sophisticated one. And there are many physicists who are now saying the same thing about Earth and offer credible reasons for thinking thus... including Nick Bostrom.
While the idea sounds silly on the surface, one of Dr Greene's key points (there are several) is that physical constants of the Universe should not be changing -- the speed of light, the decay rate of radioactive material, C-14 dating, etc... and they are -- which would happen if we were in a SImulation whose 'envelope was being pushed' by the mathematical rounding errors that are beginning to (eventually) overwork the system, and Dr Green reminds us "Logic alone cannot ensure that we are not in a computer SImulation." (p 289). To really get a sense of this issue, one needs to see the movie Thirteenth Floor.
And if we are simulated, is the next level 'up' which drives our SImulation itself simulated? And then do we live in a SImulated Multiverse? And what happens when one of the simulations crashes? Dr Greene's book is fascinating in this regard. He also looks at the Double-slit Problem, Parallel Universes, Black Holes, Branes and Strings.
Dr Greene's other main point was that over time, with mathematics that is not carried to decimal points with infinite precision, there are going to be recursions of the same formulas and their outputs which will suffer rounding and approximations to the point where internal consistency is lost, sections of the SImulation would become incoherent, and the Simulation will crash -- is that what happened to the Maya back in AD 800 when they just all disappeared?
(See Virtual Earth Graduate for a better, longer review of this issue.)
Other physicists suggest that the Earth may be in a quantum computer running "qubits" and they theorize that just the Earth (not the universe) would be scalable to run within the memory confines of the largest computer that we can build nowadays... and all it would have to do is create just those scenes into which the ensouled human moves, suggesting as did JIm Elvidge in The Universe Solved that many humans would be Non-Playable Characters (NPCs) as in any VR Game. If this idea fascinates you, check out those books mentioned. Parts of the concept are not froo-froo and this gives cause to reflect...
In short, if quantum physics annoys you, or you just can't feature some of the strange postulates, then try Dr Paul LaViolette's Genesis of the Cosmos book -- he says that Subquantum Kinetics (using the ether) has better answers than does quantum physics with its Dark Matter...