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112 Reviews
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66 of 66 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deals clearly with its subject, but.....
Explaining superstring theory to the lay reader is a massive task. Not only does Greene achieve this task with amazing clarity and vision he takes the reader through an introduction to quantum theory and general relativity (as well as some of their extensions) on the way.
This has to be one of the best written science books of recent years. I hasten not to add the...
Published on 5 Oct 2000 by Peter Dzwig

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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacks criticality. Good book nontheless.
This is a prime example of the notoriety gained by string theorists for overblowing the results of their theory. The claims in 'The Elegant Universe' maybe true, and if they are, I will be the happiest person in the world.
At the moment however, there is no reason to believe this. Some of the so-called 'successes' of string theory are debatable at best, others may...
Published on 30 July 2005 by Andrew James Pearson


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5.0 out of 5 stars absolutely, utterly brilliant, 13 Dec 2000
absolutely, utterly brilliant
not much else to say, succinct, simplifies, good illustrations, after reading go to the pub and astound your friends kind of stuff.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply great, 22 Aug 2014
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Excellent book, easy to follow and would recommend to both the casual reader as well as those, like myself, studying physics.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 28 Nov 2014
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Very clear, and I'm enjoying it! Difficult to retain the concepts and I need to re-read. After a day!!
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very readable book on string theory, 1 Oct 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory (Paperback)
Brian Greene has written a book which is astonishingly readable. All the same, I skipped most of the first half, which explains some of the basics of quantum theory (Heisenbergs uncertainty, etc.) and Einstein's general relativity theory. This is only for the uninitiated. And those people will not pick up a copy of a book on string theory.
Greene talks about the failure of combining quantum and general relativity theory. And then shows how string theory developed to fill in this gap and become a contender for the theory of everything (TOE). He also explains why M theory saved the day, when people were beginning to give up hope on string theory.
Greene is very good at explaining complicated matters, making me feel I understand the subject. He does repeatedly mention problems, and these are formidable, that still remain. All the same, I can't help feeling that he should emphasise this even more. I believe he is overstating this theory's promise quite a bit. String theory hasn't made a single hard prediction. The equations used to describe the theory are approximations and nobody knows what the complete equations look like. On the other hand there is no comptetition left for TOE, so perhaps in a decade or two physics students will be studying introductory courses to string theory using a text book written by Brian Greene.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Probably a great and important book., 13 May 2009
By 
Tristan Martin (Hertfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This book is the literary equivalent of salvia divinorum, a mind-warping journey into eleven dimensional spacetime. I'm already hopelessly lost... If you want to know what The Elegant Universe is about, read a different review; choose one that has words like "quantum mechanics" and "Planck length" in it.

As an absolute layman who knows nothing about most things and certainly zilch about superstring theory, I'm probably the least qualified person to mouth off about Professor Brian Greene's book. I had read Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time. I say, "read" - I understood that the ink patterns I was staring at on the page were words and I recognised many of them. When those 'words' were combined into sentences and those sentences developed into paragraphs - that was the part when I became unstuck. Greene's book is an easier read than Hawking's but that is a highly relative statement.

[Hmm. I can rapidly see this "review" becoming the least helpful one I've ever done. Best wrap this up fast with something clever.]

What little I did understand from The Elegant Universe is that the universe (multiverse?) is a far, far weirder place than anything I can imagine. This is a book bursting with ideas and Brian Greene takes a fair stab at explaining them to me, "the masses," more impressively and impassionedly than perhaps anybody else has so far. Good on him but pearls before swine and all that. Enjoyable. Made my brain hurt.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 9 Oct 2014
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J. Harvey (UK) - See all my reviews
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Conveys a sense of the wonder of physics.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 29 Sep 2014
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Excellent condition delighted thank you
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A meticulously written review on the subject, 21 May 2006
This review is from: The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory (Paperback)
This must be the best review of String Theory on the market. Not having a physics or mathematical background I must admit that I had to really concentrate while I grappled with some of the mind-blowing concepts within the pages of this book, especially towards the end. However, perseverance paid off. I particularly liked the first few chapters, which "soft landed" me through the more familiar concepts of Special Relativity and Quantum Mechanics (gosh, did I actually just say that Quantum Mechanics was familiar?). This is an excellent accompaniment to the DVD series of the same title. Well recommended for anyone who is getting too comfortable with the physical world.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Milestone book of transient knowledge, 5 Sep 2004
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This review is from: The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory (Paperback)
The string theory upgrades the understanding of the universe with more dimensions that seem like Ptolemy's epicycles to me. One should read The Elegant Universe because it is a milestone book. A serious reader must look for simpler and therefore more real solutions like that given in the Theory of Interaction the Simplest Explanation of Everything. The history of science shows that the understanding of the universe evolves toward simplification.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellant for ALL readers interested in science., 16 Dec 2000
By A Customer
This book will inspire all! I am a Physics student and this shone light onto an area of Physics I had only heard the name of - String Theory! But it leads us in with explainations of Special and General Relativity as well as Quantum Theory (to a level needed for understanding this book). If your a student about to start a Physics degree the first two parts of the book will help infinitely to describe difficult ideas you WILL come across!! But it written in a way anyone who has an interest in science will enjoy. It may hurt at times but reading this, but it will make you think differently.
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