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THE FABRIC OF THE COSMOS: Space, Time, and the Textures of Reality by B Greene

THE FABRIC OF THE COSMOS: Space, Time, and the Textures of Reality
THE FABRIC OF THE COSMOS: Space, Time, and the Textures of Reality
B Greene
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Penguin Books Ltd; 1 edition (2004)
605 pages
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1630 kb
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1157 kb
EPUB size:
1738 kb

  • Manesenci
Dr. Greene is an outstanding writer who explains the complex theories and hypotheses of String/M Theory and research into the very fabric of space and time. This book is an effort to put into terms at a layman's level, the very complex research going on today at places across the globe attempting to discover the fundamental makeup of the universe. For the most part Dr. Greene succeeds in his effort to make this intensely complex subject understandable.

Written as a further investigation that was begun with his book The Elegant Universe, in The Fabric of The Cosmos, Dr. Greene leads the reader on a expedition into the darkest corners of the universe exploring the fundamental building blocks of time and space, reality and imagination, and the arrow of time and why it appears to us to have but one direction. A String Theorist, Dr. Greene's explanations weigh heavily in that direction, but he does make inroads into other theories such as Loop Quantum Gravity and their position in the entire scope of research going on today.

As new experiments are conducted at facilities such as The Large Hadron Collider at CERN or at Fermilab in this decade, it will be interesting to see if Dr. Greene's hypotheses come to fruition or if entirely new paths may open in the search for a Unified theory of the quantum realm and Gravity. In the meantime, if you have an interest in Theoretical Physics, but lack the formal training necessary to understand it on a mathematical level, I recommend Dr. Green's book.
  • Cezel
My paperback copy of this book fell to pieces from frequent rereading, so I got the Kindle version -- imperishable, I hope -- to read through again over the last few weeks. Brian Greene's three popular books (this one, "The Elegant Universe" and "The Hidden Reality," which I also have via Kindle) are marvels of clear explanation for those of us who aren't mathematically gifted. Brian Greene is a working physicist with a particular focus on string theory, but he's not out to promote his own point of view, and doesn't hesitate to point out its current shortcomings and problems. He makes extensive use of endnotes to elaborate on difficult or tangential points. His prose is pleasant and conversational.

I've enjoyed his books very much and feel wiser, not stupider, after reading them -- not always the case when I finish a book meant to explain physics to the layman. Highly recommended. I only wish this was required reading for every liberal-arts student.
  • Syleazahad
This is one of the best books I have ever read in any genre. Greene is a master teacher, and uses metaphors and analogies to explain complicated topics like relativity and quantum mechanics without using math. This book is accessible to almost anyone, and does a terrific job of explaining things like why time slows down when we move faster, why there is an arrow of time (including the concept of entropy), all the weirdness associated with quantum measurements and what that means for reality, and why very small things behave differently than very large things. There are a few times when the book gets a little deep, but Greene lets you off the hook by providing summaries and giving you the option to jump ahead to a designated page number. I stuck it out and was glad I did; as he put it, the results are amazing--and they are. Although I have read several books on this subject, none come close to the transfer of knowledge accomplished here.
  • Beazerdred
The effort to explain theories and hypotheses that are largely defined and limited only mathematically, without the explanatory mathematics (which, of course, I wouldn't understand anyway), seems to have forced Greene to invoke repeated analogy and "what ifs." The problem comes, once again repeatedly, as he often morphs the "what if" into a sort of given, or postulate. To be sure, he eventually comes back to "of course, this is hypothetical," with or without a reference to supporting math or, occasionally, experimental data. I often found myself dwelling on exceptions to his explanations and analogies, exceptions that might have been explained away by the math, or might not.

Greene's reliance on analogy was often frustrating. That kind of attempt to simplify was so incomplete that, rather than causing an "aha" of understanding, it caused me to think, "yes, but the analogy isn't the way things really are; what's the real story?"

As with many electronic book versions, one has to figure out just how modern the data and information are. I wanted something "cutting edge," but found that the book was written over a decade ago and, by checking the Web, found that some of the hypotheses have progressed. Before downloading science books, check the copyright date, not just the date of the electronic edition.

Many of the paragraphs are unmercifully long, filling whole pages (at least on my iPad).

All in all, though, a fine book, and the second of Greene's that I've read.
  • Nalmezar
Greene handles this immense topic with clarity that is the hallmark of true genius. Yet, as with Feynman and Hawking, Greene does not stoop to oversimplification or mathematics. Rather, Greene uses plain English but with logic and detail that will challenge the your conception of reality. I recommend reading this book at least twice to really get at the substance that Greene has laid out. First, treat it as a work of popular science. Don't think to deeply, and just read for high level concepts especially in the later chapters. Second, re-read the book, paying attention to the extensive end notes, and periodically pausing to explore concepts through web searches and reading other works on the same topic. My first reading was finished within a week. My second reading has lasted six months, and I am still working through the last few chapters but it had been with it.

At this point, however, the book is a little darted. It is still a must read for anyone interested in the nature of reality or quantum theory.