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Summary and book reviews of The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene

The Fabric of the Cosmos

by Brian Greene

The Fabric of the Cosmos
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2004, 592 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2005, 592 pages

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Book Summary

Space and time form the very fabric of the cosmos. Yet they remain among the most mysterious of concepts. Is space an entity? Why does time have a direction? Could the universe exist without space and time? Can we travel to the past?

From Brian Greene, one of the world's leading physicists, comes a grand tour of the universe that makes us look at reality in a completely different way.

Space and time form the very fabric of the cosmos. Yet they remain among the most mysterious of concepts. Is space an entity? Why does time have a direction? Could the universe exist without space and time? Can we travel to the past?

Greene uses these questions to guide us toward modern science's new and deeper understanding of the universe. From Newton's unchanging realm in which space and time are absolute, to Einstein's fluid conception of spacetime, to quantum mechanics' entangled arena where vastly distant objects can bridge their spatial separation to instantaneously coordinate their behavior or even undergo teleportation, Greene reveals our world to be very different from what common experience leads us to believe. Focusing on the enigma of time, Greene establishes that nothing in the laws of physics insists that it run in any particular direction and that "time's arrow" is a relic of the universe's condition at the moment of the big bang. And in explaining the big bang itself, Greene shows how recent cutting-edge developments in superstring and M-theory may reconcile the behavior of everything from the smallest particle to the largest black hole. This startling vision culminates in a vibrant eleven-dimensional "multiverse," pulsating with ever-changing textures, where space and time themselves may dissolve into subtler, more fundamental entities.

Sparked by the trademark wit, humor, and brilliant use of analogy that have made The Elegant Universe a modern classic, Brian Greene takes us all, regardless of our scientific backgrounds, on an irresistible and revelatory journey to the new layers of reality that modern physics has discovered lying just beneath the surface of our everyday world.

Table of Contents

Preface

Part 1: Reality's Arena

  1. Roads to Reality
  2. The Universe and the Bucket
  3. Relativity and the Absolute
  4. Entagling Space

Part II: Time and Experience

  1. The Frozen River
  2. Chance and the Arrow
  3. Time and Quantum

Part III: Spacetime and Cosmology

  1. Of Snowflakes and Spacetime
  2. Vaporizing the Vacuum
  3. Deconstructing the Bang
  4. Quanta in the Sky with Diamonds

Part IV: Origins and Unification

  1. The World on a String
  2. The Universe on a Brane

Part V: Reality and Imagination

  1. Up in the Heavens and Down in the Earth
  2. Teleporters and Time Machines
  3. The Future of Allusion

Notes
Glossary
Suggestions for Further Reading
Index



Chapter 1: Roads to Reality
SPACE, TIME, AND WHY THINGS ARE AS THEY ARE

None of the books in my father's dusty old bookcase were forbidden. Yet while I was growing up, I never saw anyone take one down. Most were massive tomes–a comprehensive history of civilization, matching volumes of the great works of western ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

The New York Times - Janet Maslin

… [Greene's] excitement for science on the threshold of vital breakthroughs is supremely contagious. The Fabric of the Cosmos is as dazzling as it is tough, and it beautifully reflects this theoretician's ardor for his work. In interviews he is sometimes asked where the next generation of physicists will come from. One clear answer from the brain-teasing, exhilarating study of books like this.

Library Journal - James A Buczynski

Frogs in bowls, falling eggs, loaves of bread, pennies on balloons, ping pong balls in molasses, and babushka dolls are just some of the analogies used to explain complex concepts cleverly. After reading this book, you will never look at a starry night sky the same way again. Strongly recommended for most science collections.

Booklist

Starred Review. Forbidding formulas no longer stand between general readers and the latest breakthroughs in astrophysics the imaginative gifts of one of the pioneers making these breakthroughs has now translated mathematical science into accessible analogies drawn from everyday life and popular culture. . . . Nonspecialists will relish this exhilarating foray into the alien terrain that is our own universe.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This is popular science writing of the highest order...Greene [has an] unparalleled ability to translate higher mathematics into everyday language and images, through the adept use of metaphor and analogy, and crisp, witty prose. . . He not only makes concepts clear, but explains why they matter.

Reader Reviews

orn

fully beautiful follow thru on his previous tome 'the elegant universe'

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