Customer Review

47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacks criticality. Good book nontheless., 30 July 2005
This review is from: The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory (Paperback)
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 well be mathematical coincidences, and of course, you can never get past the fact that there is no experimental evidence of strings whatsoever. Moreover, string theory is part of a class of theories increasing in number that are decidedly 'Un-Popperian' (i.e. unfalsifiable), simply because many of the predicted effects of the theory are at energies way beyond anything we are likely to measure.
The problem with Brian Greene's book is that it mentions none of this. It is not at all critical of the theory. At best, it talks of String Theory as the 'only game in town' (The most popular game yes, but certainly not the only one), and at worst, it talks of String Theory as if it has been proven already! This is not what I expect of a science book; even one designed for the layman.
Having said all this, the book was enjoyable to read - I even read the followup. By all means, buy it and read it, and you will have a good time I assure you. For an objective view of the future of research in theoretical physics however, 'The Road to Reality' by Roger Penrose is a much much better book.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Dec 2009 21:48:28 GMT
K. Rogers says:
I found this book a far more accessible read than 'The Road To Reality', I could not put it down. Unlike this reviewer I did come away with the impression that String Theory was only an option and also that unmeasurability should not detract from the benefits of encouraging collaboration between mathmatics and physics.
I think the book does what is needs to do, make particle physics accessible to the interested layperson with a modest education.
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