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In Search of the Multiverse [Paperback]

John Gribbin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

26 Aug 2010

John Gribbin's In Search of the Multiverse takes us on an extraordinary journey through the most fundamental questions in science, exploring the frontiers of reality itself.

What are the boundaries of our universe? Could there be other worlds - do we actually live in a multiverse? Will we meet another 'us' in a different reality? Or are alternative worlds parallel but separate?

John Gribbin guides us through the different theories about multiverses, along the way explaining the every latest thinking about gravity, about time and multiple dimensions, about quantum theory, about matter itself - and even the mind-bending possibility that one day we may be creating universes ourselves.

John Gribbin is the best guide to the big questions of science. And there is no bigger question than our search for the multiverse.

'The master of popular science writing'
  Sunday Times

'In this universe at least, it's brilliant'
  BBC Focus

'Numerous books on the subject have appeared in the past few years, but Gribbin's stands out for succinctness and readability. Long renowned as one of Britain's finest popular science writers, Gribbin combines expert knowledge with straightforward, no-frills exposition'
  Scotland on Sunday

John Gribbin is one of today's greatest writers of popular science and the author of bestselling books, including In Search of Schrödinger's Cat, Stardust, Science: A History and Deep Simplicity. Gribbin trained as an astrophysicist at Cambridge University and is currently Visiting Fellow in Astronomy at the University of Sussex.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (26 Aug 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141036117
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141036113
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 263,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Gribbin stands out for succinctness and readability ... combines expert knowledge with straight-forward, no-frills exposition (Andrew Crumey, Scotland on Sunday)

Five hundred years ago it was heresy to suggest that our planet was not at the centre of the universe ... Now John Gribbin postulates something that is equally controversial for our times - perhaps our universe is not the only one in existence (Good Book Guide)

There are parallel universes where you're the editor of Focus and where Buddy Holly is planning a comeback tour . . . Gribbin unpicks the science of parallel universes . . . and, in this universe at least, it's brilliant (BBC Focus magazine)

About the Author

John Gribbin is one of today's greatest writers of popular science and the author of bestselling books, including In Search of Schrödinger's Cat, Stardust, Science: A History and Deep Simplicity. He is famous to his many fans for making complex ideas simple, and says that his aim in his writing - much of it done with his wife, Mary Gribbin - is to share with his readers his sense of wonder at the strangeness of the universe. John Gribbin trained as an astrophysicist at Cambridge University and is currently Visiting Fellow in Astronomy at the University of Sussex.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By The Kob
Format:Paperback
John Gribbin is one of the best science writes around, but even he seems to struggle with this subject.
The normal run for a Gribbin book is:
summarise the history
explore the development through experiments
restate proofs
summarise how much we know now and give indications of future developments
but, the fact that this book is almost all hypothesis and theory leaves him and us high and dry.

I suspect somewhere there was an editor saying, "No Maths!" and unusually there is not one single diagram either, the book feels cheap and slightly rushed with no one having re-read it and ordered a final overhaul to help the flow of ideas going.
Gribbin himself admits in an afterward that this isn't quite the book meant to write and that it is more personal than usual. There is definitely more of him and his views in than normal, while this is not unwelcome per se, it is odd to hear the normally silent narrator making his preference for one or other theory heard.

Then there is the title `multiverse'. In actual fact, this book is about the Anthropic principal and new theories of the big bang(s) and whole manyverse beyond our Observable Universe that might exist. Multiverse, parallel worlds and quantum physics has about 40pages in a 200page book. Interesting stuff to be sure, but maybe not where you expect it to go given the title and the blurb.

Oddly, I ordered this at the same time as Susskind's Black Hole War but read Gribbin first as an entrée to what I thought would be the more challenging read. I didn't really think the subject matter would overlap as much as it does and for my money Susskind has a clearer exposition, even with the more difficult (outrageous?) ideas.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Multiverse Review 24 Sep 2009
Format:Hardcover
Another well though out and researched book by John Gribbin that really shows how there are no clean cut lines on the fringes of science, on the outer most edges of the most macroscopic and microscopic parts of our universe there is not even a division between fact and fantasy. Loved this book and would have given it 5 stars but for 2 things,
1. Nomenclature is sometimes unclear or else several different schools of thought are describing the same thing but all with different names which makes it confusing,
2. Really needed a bigger chapter of John's own thoughts and conclusions at the end.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Solid Overview .. And More Questions Raised 27 Dec 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
What an interesting book.

Let's first dispose, perhaps, of 2 small complaints, which apply to all of John Gribbin's books: John's irrepressible habit to include largely irrelevant biographical data in his texts - as in, in this book, Quote his draft thesis, typed up by his gilrlfriend Nancy Gore, whom he married the following year unquote or "he was born in Washington DC, on 11 November 1930". Frankly - who cares? Another slightly grating habit is the belaboring of extremely elementary points - such as the author's constant reminders of what "10 the power N" means - anyone who would have difficulty grasping this, even if they extraordinarily enough did not know it yet, but nevertheless read popular science books - would surely have got it the first time!

Now for the gist of the book. The book is an overview and analysis of the current state of play in our search for understanding our Universe, either as a unique Universe or as one within a Multiverse of Universes - where our Universe is one of many (a more technical, and in some ways narrower, overview of learned opinions on the subject ranging from strong acceptance to strong rejection of the concept(s) of the Multiverse is to be found in the book 'Universe or Multiverse, edited by Bernard Carr)

John Gribbin's book shines in many ways, but leaves some questions hanging and IMHO does not go far enough in certain areas. Commendably, he cites Edward Tryon's work - a work that had been rejected out of hand by many eminent Physicists, because Tryon was way ahead of his time when he first described in the late sixties our Universe as the possible result of a rogue quantum fluctuation in a pre-existing environment.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Has Gribbin found God? 21 Oct 2009
Format:Hardcover
Has John Gribbin found God? His latest mind-blowing description of cutting edge physics and quantum weirdness starts out conventionally enough (if any of this stuff can be thought of as being conventional) but ends up concluding that our universe is an artifact created by intelligent beings in another universe. The way he explains it, it all seems quite logical, even if along the way he espouses the "block universe" idea (which Einstein favoured) which says that all times are as real as all space, so that "tomorrow" and "yesterday" always exist, in the same way that New York exists even when you are not in New York. The difference is that according to Gribbin ALL possible tomorrows and yesterdays exist in the Multiverse!
Explaning all this involves quantum physics, thermodynamics, and string theory. But in Gribbin's skillful hands the process is quite painless and straightforward. If you liked his tale of Schrodinger's Cat, this is definitely for you.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
It was the book that I wanted, it arrived promptly and in the condition stated. Very interesting content.
Published 1 month ago by Mr. N. C. Gravette
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what I was expecting
Well written, and the author takes care to be as inclusive as possible for the layman to the subject, however..... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mr. Andrew Crabtree
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like being made to feel insignificant, this is the book for you
John Gribbin has a superb writing style, he builds up the arguments slowly and clearly, and regularly reviews what has been discussed so far as a reminder. Read more
Published 7 months ago by DanB
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy reading
It is written in a very easy manner and describes complex theories succinctly and without the reader drowning in equations
Published 10 months ago by Gaston Guinness
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic
To the point with good discussion. Very enjoyable read as are his other books. Must buy, enjoy another top notch effort.
Published 13 months ago by antony
4.0 out of 5 stars Multiverse
That I managed to hang on to the narrative thread pretty-much to the end says much more about John Gribbin's writing than it does about my comprehension. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Clarsach
5.0 out of 5 stars Playful, Smart, Accessible
An excellent - and very funny - explanation of the term 'multiverse' along philosophical, political and aesthetic lines. Read more
Published on 27 Jan 2012 by J. Golding
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Gibbin presents complex theories in a way anyone can understand (with some thought). I rate this book along with Fabric of Reality by Deutsch and Hawking's book, A Brief History of... Read more
Published on 17 Jan 2012 by Lugus Luna
5.0 out of 5 stars ...left me a bit less stupid
The type of book that make you feel less stupid after reading it... Simply one of the best book of popular science on the subject for me! Read more
Published on 14 Jan 2012 by Eric le rouge
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind stretching
Excellent introduction to the frontiers of cosomology and physics. Must be read with an open mind, reality is not as you perceive it.
Published on 6 May 2011 by Stitcher
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