Top critical review
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Great read 1/3. later more difficult to believe..
on March 27, 2011
Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe was a national best seller and for me an interesting book. I bought The Elegant Universe to try to understang String Theory. I'm not a physicist with only one physics course taken. I've read the book A Brief History of Time by Stephan Hawking ( 4 stars, but a difficult read in the later chapters, a little about String Theory... see my review). The Elegant Universe is the first book I've read mainly about String Theory.
The first 1/3 of The Elegant Universe was spectacular....5 stars. Brian did a great job of explaining Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity and General Theory of Relativity for large scale items of the universe and Quantum Mechanics for the very microscopic scale. We see the difficulty all the top scientists have had (including Einstein) to combine these theories into a universal law explaining the total universe that takes into consideration the week forces, strong forces, electromagnetic and gravitational forces. No one has been able to do it.
The next 2/3 of the book was a more difficult reading. I still don't totally understand String Theory ( I think few people do). Brian Greene did everything he could to try to have String Theory explain both Einstein's Relativity theory for the large and Quantum Mechanics for the incredibly sub atomic small in one complete packaging trying for the grand prize Law that would tie in everything to explain the function of the entire universe.There is a lot of speculation and little proved. Brian even says we don't have the technology today to totally prove String Theory and make a Universal Complete Law. It may take decades and decades if ever. I still can not totally believe String Theory but will keep an open mind as I have not read anything else that combines the results of the theories of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. Its hard to envision trillions and trillions of one dimensional microscopic strings with incredible strength vs point objects.Plus thrown in the vibrational frequencies of the strings themselves. Then there must be at least 10 dimensions for String Theory to work. Deep, deep stuff to believe. So far no way to prove it and just a fantastic idea shown to try to achieve the total Universal Law.
First 1/3 of book 5 stars, later 2/3's 3 stars. Recommend this book but the later chapters are a little hard to understand. The Elegant Universe was a major Nova Special on PBS. I'm going to try to get a copy of that special, maybe it would help on String Theory understanding.
Brian Greene a good author/physicist taking on a difficult subject. I purchased another book by Brian Greene, The Fabric Of The Cosmos and look forward to reading it.