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Parallel Worlds: The Science of Alternative Universes and Our Future in the Cosmos Paperback – 26 Jan 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; First Thus edition (26 Jan. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141014636
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141014630
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"In Parallel Worlds, Michio Kaku brings his formidable explanatory talents to bear on one of the strangest and most exciting possibilities to have emerged from modern physics: that our universe may be but one among many, perhaps infinitely many, arrayed in a vast cosmic network. With deft use of analogy and humor, Kaku patiently introduces the reader to variations on this theme of parallel universes, coming from quantum mechanics, cosmology, and most recently, M-theory. Read this book for a wonderful tour, with an expert guide, of a cosmos whose comprehension forces us to stretch to the very limits of imagination." --Brian Greene, Professor of Theoretical Particle Physics, Columbia University, and author of "The Fabric of the Cosmos "and "The Elegant Universe ""Kaku employs an amiable style that does much to make the story accessible even for those of us who have trouble telling the difference between superstring theory and Silly String aerosol. . . . Fascinating and sometimes downrigh

From the Inside Flap

Is our universe dying?
Could there be other universes?
In "Parallel Worlds," world-renowned physicist and bestselling author Michio Kaku"--an" author who "has a knack for bringing the most ethereal ideas down to earth" "(Wall Street Journal)--takes readers on a fascinating tour of cosmology, M-theory, and its implications for the fate of the universe.
In his first book of physics since "Hyperspace, Michio Kaku begins by describing the extraordinary advances that have transformed cosmology over the last century, and particularly over the last decade, forcing scientists around the world to rethink our understanding of the birth of the universe, and its ultimate fate. In Dr. Kaku's eyes, we are living in a golden age of physics, as new discoveries from the WMAP and COBE satellites and the Hubble space telescope have given us unprecedented pictures of our universe in its infancy.
As astronomers wade through the avalanche of data from the WMAP satellite, a new cosmological picture is emerging. So far, the leading theory about the birth of the universe is the "inflationary universe theory," a major refinement on the big bang theory. In this theory, our universe may be but one in a multiverse, floating like a bubble in an infinite sea of bubble universes, with new universes being created all the time. A parallel universe may well hover a mere millimeter from our own.
The very idea of parallel universes and the string theory that can explain their existence was once viewed with suspicion by scientists, seen as the province of mystics, charlatans, and cranks. But today, physicists overwhelmingly support string-theory, and its latest iteration, M-theory, as it is this onetheory that, if proven correct, would reconcile the four forces of the universe simply and elegantly, and answer the question "What happened before the big bang?"
Already, Kaku explains, the world's foremost physicists and astronomers are searching for ways to test the theory of the multiverse using highly sophisticated wave detectors, gravity lenses, satellites, and telescopes. The implications of M-theory are fascinating and endless. If parallel worlds do exist, Kaku speculates, in time, perhaps a trillion years or more from now, as appears likely, when our universe grows cold and dark in what scientists describe as a big freeze, advanced civilizations may well find a way to escape our universe in a kind of "inter-dimensional lifeboat."
An unforgettable journey into black holes and time machines, alternate universes, and multidimensional space, "Parallel Worlds gives us a compelling portrait of the revolution sweeping the world of cosmology. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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By Matthew H VINE VOICE on 19 April 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is mind blowing. Written on a level that makes it accessible to pretty much everybody it covers all aspects of cosmology and their implications regarding time travel, parallel worlds, string theory and black holes. It even covers some of the history behind the major scientists involved (Einstein, Gamow, Schrodinger, Hoyle etc) and includes anecdotes telling of the debates they had with each other concerning some of the major questions. It doesn't matter if you don't fully understand some of the ideas (Quantum theory, for example, is probably fully understood by nobody), there are plenty of other things to keep you interested and its all so well written that it really is close to being impossible to put down.
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I love documentaries that start talking about the quantum world. Of course there is part of your mind that is shouting "this makes no sense" but instead I listen to the bit that says "I must know more". If you are turned off by phrases like M-theory or cosmological constant then this is obviously not the book for you.

If, like me, you love popular science and want to push things a little further without getting bogged down in mathematical formulae which mean NOTHING to me then this is the book for you. Kaku is a great guide through the physics of the very big like red dwarfs and black holes to the subatomic world of gluons and string theory. Whenever there's a danger of losing the reader he uses a simple analogy to help the information make sense. His style is light but serious and his ability to pack so much in without losing a layman like me is impressive.

This is a fabulous book about science for the casual adult reader which will get you to look at the world in a very different way. Enjoy the ride.

If you liked this there's more historical debate and fun at @HistoryGems on Facebook and Twitter
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An astonishingly thought-provoking read that seems to cover all the bases on quantum mechanics and M-theory, written in plain layman's English. The explanations satisfy where Hawking's Universe in a Nutshell confounded. Kaku doesn't shy away from the implications or the tough questions quantum mechanics and parallel universe theories hold. The last chapter in particular takes an interesting look at all sides of the question of a Creator, and Kaku gives his own personal viewpoint. The best science book I've read in ages.
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Michio Kaku's "Parallel Worlds" is the best popular science non-fiction ever written. Its breakthrough theories reach out to the most naive reader with such a strength that whatever you've known about the Big Bang or religious essays on the beginning and the end of our world, suddenly becomes a tiny moment caught in the universe yet ever-evolving.

It has very logical structure on complex issues such as the essence of non-material dark energy that apparently consists the 73 percent of the energy in our universe, the bubble theories of the existence of parallel universes where the humanity can move to as our planet comes to an end due to the unavoidable universal freeze. Thus, he masterfully presents the idea of multiverses that co-exist in a string, subject to ongoing Big Bangs here and there. As he narrates "...entire universes continually sprout or "bud" off other universes. If true, it would unify two of the great religious mythologies, Genesis and Nirvana. Genesis would take place continually within the fabric of timeless Nirvana".

(One has another appreciation for Michio Kaku for his bringing up in a Buddhist family who nevertheless sent him off to a Catholic Sunday School had made him one of the most read scientists.)

Decoding Einstein's and Darwin's at their time distant theories on reading "the God's Mind" and the "end of humanity", Michio Kaku unveils the latest developments in the scientific world on the humanity's beginning and future, claiming that even a string of Big Bangs and multiverses would still need an ultimate creator/composer...

This book is a definite buy on the most indefinite questions we have.
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This is the third of Kaku's books that i've read, and is quite easily his best.

It is a book that confronts the biggest questions in cosmology and quantum theory head on, and addresses philosophical and theological implications in a sensible manner, but is nonetheless incredible for it. There is a richness of subjects here, all discussed in logically sequenced chapters, and the more you read, the more you discover.

Although this book is written for the intelligent layman, this is a popular book where Kaku, who is sometimes forced to hold back with interiewers in media appearances, 'cuts loose' with the depth of his understanding, and offers a personal take on the anthropic principle and Copernican principle, and the ultimate properties of this universe. The chapter on the development of Quantum Physics is as well-written and clear as any on the subject, and his anecdotes about other well-known scientists and their own journeys to their discoveries, as well as his own, are a welcome addition and flavour the largely cosmological enquiries with an historical and personal perspective, including his encounter with Richard Feynman after giving a talk on String Theory. This helps the book retain a human scale that helps appreciate the big ideas even more.
He also introduces Carl Sagan's counterpart to the Kardashev Scale, which is based on information rather than energy, but there is so much more, including a look at M-Theory and Branes, and even Richard Dawkins gets a brief mention.

The edition I have also has a glossary of terms at the back, and is the coup de grace for this very comprehensive, optimistic and wonderfully illustrative take on the cosmos.

A must-read for anyone who anyone even vaguely inquisitive about our universe.
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