26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
The best and toughest popular science book to date - Destined to be a classic!!,
This review is from: The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe (Hardcover)
Eventually History remembers the great books - "The Road to Reality" is a true work of art, destined to be a classic - It is the first genuine attempt to cover in one book the state of theoretical physics today. Where other popular science books attempt to simplify the theory and omit equations, thereby reducing themselves to talking about the theory ... "The Road to Reality" PRESENTS the theory. It is a subtle, but important difference that I will try to illuminate in the rest of this review.
"The Road to Reality" makes the modern theories of physics easily accessible to mathematicians and layman alike, in a self-contained text. It achieves this by virtue of being the first popular science book on theoretical physics to devote its first 16 chapters to introducing the reader to the pre-requisite Mathematics and `Philosophy of Science' necessary to understand the theoretical physics presented in chapters 17 to 34. The book is littered with necessary equations, but all are introduced in a logical, intuitive manner and provided with some of the best explanations in words and pictures that I have seen to date.
As such the equations can be viewed merely as markers in the text if reading as a popular science book. Conversely they can be used to guide the serious theoretical physicist in attempting the minimal but carefully chosen and difficult exercises, and any mathematical investigations the reader may be inspired to conduct themselves upon reading the beautiful exposition of physical theories of our universe.
As justified above, the best thing about the book is its 1094 pages can be read at various levels .... from a cursory glance (genuinely constituting popular science, albeit a difficult read) or as serious academic study (taking you well into a post-graduate level appreciation of mathematics and theoretical physics). For the academic, it will accelerate your path to becoming a rounded theoretical physicist. Every school should own this book and every potential student of maths or theoretical physics should attempt to read it pre-university.
There is no room for dubious analogies in "The Road to Reality", which removes the scope for confusion. Apologies to those readers who like analogy, but there is no place for it in theoretical physics - Communicating an understanding of what the theory is really about, to a level that it seems intuitive to the reader, is the goal of this book.
It's my favorite book of all time. I can't recommend it more highly than that!!