The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time and the Texture of Reality (Penguin Press Science) Paperback – 24 Feb. 2005
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Top reviews from United Kingdom
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Greene has a unique ability to lead you by hand through the most complex, mind-bending and bizarre mysteries of our universe – gently and carefully coaxing you through unexpected layers of reality just beneath the surface of our everyday experiences. From dark matter to space warps, quantum mechanics and string wiggles through 11 dimensions, Greene is thought-provoking, highly informed and above all, completely grounded and witty.
Make no mistake; this is an extraordinarily complex subject which even particle physicists are still attempting to understand. So this is not going to be an easy read. But I actually finished it – and now at last I have a fair understanding of the theoretical physics of how space and time came to exist. You might consider reading Greene’s “The Elegant Universe” first - he simply is marvellously talented; these two books offer no better introduction to general relativity and quantum mechanics.
I was a little daunted by the subject material to begin with, but soon lost my inhibitions - it's not half as bad as I expected and I'm actually finding myself second-guessing some of the directions and explanations that author is taking in explaining the wierdness of the relativistic and quantum worlds. Either I'm not as deeply stupid as I thought or Greene's treatment is perfect for the non-expert reader.
It's still a challenging book, and I'll need a re-read at sometime in the near future to fix the concepts in my head, but I'm looking forward to the prospect.
A few minor gripes:
- The illustrations don't seem to have transferred well to the paperback version - they're on the small side and difficult to interpret and return to. Perhaps larger, colour illustrations, gathered in a central section would have been better.
- Some of Greene's analogies grate a little. He makes a lot of use of analogies, which I guess is inevitable and necessary given the esoteric nature of the subject matter. However, one is occasionally left wondering whether these analogies tell the whole story or if there's something important that's been left out for the benefit of the reader's sanity. The early ones on relativity are played out by The Simpsons (obviously Greene is a fan!) which comes across as a little patronising and later ones relate to baseball, which doesn't translate well for the British reader.
- Although the conclusions are mind-boggling (quantum entanglement, string theory) a degree of shell shock is setting in - can the universe get any wierder? I'm only 3/4 of the way through! and it is difficult to lift oneself to the heights of admiration and wonder that Green obviously reaches - Ho hum! More strangeness!
Nevertheless, this is well worth a read and don't be put off by the subject material. You'll never look at the world in the same way again.
Top reviews from other countries
When we look at the quality of the paper used and the printing quality that is not that good....but the cost of the book is appropriate for the quality which it provides...
Pages looks like they are xeroxed.
Too small print.
Book cover is torned at the corner.
It's printed on very white, thin pages.