The Elegant Universe
Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
Introduced by the author
Jet packs, spinning fairground rides and an ant on a garden hose – the award-winning history of string theory from leading physicist Brian Greene.
‘Greene’s achievement is to make us feel at home in the chillingly abstract world of strings and to convince us that we must take it seriously.’
- Sunday Telegraph
In the 20th century Newtonian physics was replaced with two fundamental theories that form the foundation for our understanding of the laws of the universe: Einstein’s general theory of relativity (which accounts for the macroscopic world of the heavenly planets and their motion) and quantum mechanics (which deals with the microscopic world of atomic and subatomic particles). Each theory works perfectly. They just happen to be incompatible with one another. The answer? String theory.
Quarter-bound in cloth with printed paper sides
Set in Bembo with Museo display
Frontispiece and 16 pages of colour plates
75 integrated black & white illustrations
9½˝ x 6¼˝
Accessible and thoroughly entertaining
‘Develops one fresh new insight after another … In the great tradition of physicists writing for the masses, The Elegant Universe sets a standard that will be hard to beat.’
- New York Times Book Review
Written for those with no training in either mathematics or physics, The Elegant Universe – winner of the Aventis Science Book Prize, the Royal Society Prize for Science books, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize – reveals the strange world of string theory: a universe of multiple dimensions where all matter is generated by vibrating loops of energy. Jet packs, spinning fairground rides and an ant on a garden hose, are all expertly used by leading physicist Brian Greene to explain the incredible and beautiful world being unveiled by modern physics. With unprecedented clarity, Greene provides a lucid account of a theory that may yet form an all-encompassing ‘theory of everything’, and will certainly bring us closer to a more complete understanding of how the universe works.
In his new introduction, Greene considers if two decades of research and experimentation, particularly with the advances achieved by the Large Hadron Collider, have brought us any closer to realising the predictions of string theory. Sixteen colour plates, plus a frontispiece and 75 integrated images, visualise the experimental landmarks behind the theory. The cover design is of a Calabi-Yau manifold, the geometry used to illustrate the extra-dimensional shapes that determine the fundamental properties of our universe.