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Warped Passages: Unravelling the Universe's Hidden Dimensions (Penguin Press Science) Paperback – 3 Aug 2006

4.1 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (3 Aug. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141012978
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141012971
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 188,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Lisa Randall, a leading theorist, has made major contributions to both particle physics and cosmology."--Brian Greene, bestselling author of The Elegant Universe and The Fabrics of the Cosmos

About the Author

Lisa Randall is on a quest to explain the fabric of reality. She is a leading theoretical physicist - the world's most cited - and an expert on string theory. She was the first tenured woman in the Princeton Physics department and the first tenured woman theorist at MIT and Harvard.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I am not a scientist. I'm a writer and former actor. But, ever since I was a kid and discovered Scientific American, I've had an abiding interest in science both for the things there are to learn and the recreation that reading science offers. So, I've read a ton of stuff about science.
I have read some books that have knocked me off my feet over the years. But, Warped Passeges knocks their sox off. I admired the book so much that after I read my library copy, I bought it.
The first time I ever heard (outside SF, of course) about dimensions beyond three of space and one of time, was not so long ago when New Scientist did a piece on the idea. The problem was that the article raised too many questions of the wrong kind. What the piece whould have done is deal precisely with the questions that were raised. Those were the simple basic questions. For example, What is a dimension? The answer was not forthcoming in any set of words that made sense.
In Warped Passages, Lisa Randall, not only answered that question but it made sense to me and gave me a good idea of what the teeny, tiny ones are. I could never find anyone to make even the slightest sensible explanation before.
The whole book answers rafts of questions of that nature and a whole lot more as well. I'm grateful to her for that. The book even led to the answer to a question that has bothered me for many years - Why is there only one time dimension?
The answer lies in Randall's field of model making (I didn't even know what model making meant in physics before reading the book) which suffuses her book. For me, it was her historical, beginning, middle, end approach that took me by the hand and led me down a pretty wonderful garden path.
You may not need the most basic questions answered.
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By John Ferngrove TOP 500 REVIEWER on 17 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As someone who took an astrophysics degree in the seventies I have tried to keep up to date with developments in the field, at the level of pop-sci books. However as of the late nineties it seemed that Physics was getting bogged down. After a long Golden-Age of prediction and dicovery the Standard Model and the Big-Bang were threatening to unravel. So the last such book I read was Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory which I found unsatisfying in that it just made clear that, if I wanted to really understand what was happening, I was going to have to devote time and energy I just didn't have, to get to grips with some new maths.

So, seven years later I thought I'd give this a try and see if I could get some kind of layman's angle on what was going on these days. The book starts well in reviewing the history of physics. There's a very concise and to the point description of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics.

There's a description of the Standard Model that I did find useful. I thought I had a fairly good understanding of the Standard Model, but the lady filled in some new areas for me, Electroweak theory and the Higg's mechanism which led me to a more flexible understanding of particle mass than I had had before.
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Format: Hardcover
On the covers of many modern physics books, addressed to laymen interested in the latest developments, abstract graphics is shown, trying to convey a sort of mystical flavour of the subject. But mostly used with the intention to stand out and get the attention of readers, who nowadays are overwhelmed by these books, especially in this World Year of Physics 2005, in which Einstein's work is highlighted.
The cover of Lisa Randall's book "Warped Passages: Unravelling the universe's hidden dimensions" is very different. The title and her name are printed in her own handwriting, which gives this book a casual, but dead honest look. As if she has just scribbled down her latest ideas and wants the world to take notice as soon as possible, but in my opinion it marks the style of someone who is brutally honest about her work and wants the reader to really understand what she is talking about.
And you will not be disappointed: her passion for her research is well reflected in this book. I read it almost like a 'who dunnit' thriller so I will not spoil your fun by giving away too much details, but, having read quite a few similar books, this one really stands out in the crowd.
All the familiar characters of modern day physics, like quantum mechanics, relativity theory, particle physics, supersymmetry, string theory and braneworlds come on stage. They are properly introduced to the reader in separate chapters, which each start with a little intermezzo to give you a feel for how the story will go on. It serves both as an appetizer and gives you a moment to reflect before indulging in the next scenes.
This all builds up to the last chapters, where all these characters seem to play a part in a mysterious plot: hiding the evidence for extra dimensions !!
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