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Warped Passages: Unravelling the Universe's Hidden Dimensions (Penguin Press Science) Paperback – 3 Aug 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (3 Aug. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141012978
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141012971
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 131,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Lisa Randall, a leading theorist, has made major contributions to both particle physics and cosmology."--Brian Greene, bestselling author of The Elegant Universe and The Fabrics of the Cosmos

About the Author

Lisa Randall is on a quest to explain the fabric of reality. She is a leading theoretical physicist - the world's most cited - and an expert on string theory. She was the first tenured woman in the Princeton Physics department and the first tenured woman theorist at MIT and Harvard.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By John Ferngrove TOP 500 REVIEWER on 17 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As someone who took an astrophysics degree in the seventies I have tried to keep up to date with developments in the field, at the level of pop-sci books. However as of the late nineties it seemed that Physics was getting bogged down. After a long Golden-Age of prediction and dicovery the Standard Model and the Big-Bang were threatening to unravel. So the last such book I read was Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory which I found unsatisfying in that it just made clear that, if I wanted to really understand what was happening, I was going to have to devote time and energy I just didn't have, to get to grips with some new maths.

So, seven years later I thought I'd give this a try and see if I could get some kind of layman's angle on what was going on these days. The book starts well in reviewing the history of physics. There's a very concise and to the point description of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics.

There's a description of the Standard Model that I did find useful. I thought I had a fairly good understanding of the Standard Model, but the lady filled in some new areas for me, Electroweak theory and the Higg's mechanism which led me to a more flexible understanding of particle mass than I had had before.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. W. Iles on 4 Oct. 2005
Format: Hardcover
I am not a scientist. I'm a writer and former actor. But, ever since I was a kid and discovered Scientific American, I've had an abiding interest in science both for the things there are to learn and the recreation that reading science offers. So, I've read a ton of stuff about science.
I have read some books that have knocked me off my feet over the years. But, Warped Passeges knocks their sox off. I admired the book so much that after I read my library copy, I bought it.
The first time I ever heard (outside SF, of course) about dimensions beyond three of space and one of time, was not so long ago when New Scientist did a piece on the idea. The problem was that the article raised too many questions of the wrong kind. What the piece whould have done is deal precisely with the questions that were raised. Those were the simple basic questions. For example, What is a dimension? The answer was not forthcoming in any set of words that made sense.
In Warped Passages, Lisa Randall, not only answered that question but it made sense to me and gave me a good idea of what the teeny, tiny ones are. I could never find anyone to make even the slightest sensible explanation before.
The whole book answers rafts of questions of that nature and a whole lot more as well. I'm grateful to her for that. The book even led to the answer to a question that has bothered me for many years - Why is there only one time dimension?
The answer lies in Randall's field of model making (I didn't even know what model making meant in physics before reading the book) which suffuses her book. For me, it was her historical, beginning, middle, end approach that took me by the hand and led me down a pretty wonderful garden path.
You may not need the most basic questions answered.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rama Rao on 23 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
Gravity is the weakest forces of all the four forces of our universe, because, according to the author, it is concentrated in another spatial dimension of the universe, and these extra dimensions could be infinitely large. The summary of this book is as follows: We live in a three-dimensional pocket of higher dimensional space, also called branes. It is like a bead on a wire that can only move along one dimension, a brane may restrict our motion to three dimensions although other dimensions exist around it. The theory of supersymmetry also explains the hierarchy problem by postulating that every fundamental particle has a heavier partner, but the theory currently predicts particle interactions that don't occur in nature. The author predicts that if extra dimensions exist, particles could be separated to prevent unwanted interactions, and that gravity could be concentrated somewhere in an extra dimension. The force's strength becomes exponentially weaker further from the gravity brane. The model consists of a pair of universes, four-dimensional branes (three space and one time), thinly separated by a five-dimensional space called the bulk. The mathematical solutions for this setup suggested that the space between the branes is warped, and objects could grow larger or smaller (less massive or more massive) as they moved back and forth between two branes, a direct result of higher gravitational force. The fifth dimension could be so warped that the number of dimensions you see would depend on where you are in the bulk. In addition, gravity is as strong as the other forces, because it is much stronger on one brane than the other. Therefore our universe is located on a brane where only weak gravitational force is felt.Read more ›
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