THE FABRIC OF THE COSMOS: Space, Time and the Texture of Reality

Brian Greene, Author . Knopf $28.95 (592p) ISBN 978-0-375-41288-2

String theory is a recent development in physics that, by positing that all which exists is composed of infinitesimally small vibrating loops of energy, seeks to unify Einstein's theories and those of quantum mechanics into a so-called "theory of everything." In 1999, Greene, one of the world's leading physicists, published The Elegant Universe (Norton), a popular presentation of string theory that became a major bestseller and, last fall, a highly rated PBS/Nova series. The strength of the book resided in Greene's unparalleled (among contemporary science writers) ability to translate higher mathematics (the language of physics) and its findings into everyday language and images, through adept use of metaphor and analogy, and crisp, witty prose. The same virtues adhere to this new book, which offers a lively view of human understanding of space and time, an understanding of which string theory is an as-yet unproven advance. To do this, Greene takes a roughly chronological approach, beginning with Newton, moving through Einstein and quantum physics, and on to string theory and its hypotheses (that there are 11 dimensions, ten of space and one of time; that there may be an abundance of parallel universes; that time travel may be possible, and so on) and imminent experiments that may test some of its tenets. None of this is easy reading, mostly because the concepts are tough to grasp and Greene never seems to compromise on accuracy. Eighty-five line drawings ease the task, however, as does Greene's felicitous narration; most importantly, though, Greene not only makes concepts clear but explains why they matter. He opens the book with a discussion of Camus's The Myth of Sisyphus , setting a humanistic tone that he sustains throughout. This is popular science writing of the highest order, with copious endnotes that, unlike the text, include some math. (Feb. 16)

Forecast: With a first printing of 125,000, Knopf clearly hopes this title, a main selection of BOMC, will at least match the sales of The Elegant Universe. Greene, a charismatic speaker, is going all out for the book, with a 14-city author tour and much major media, including an appearance on Letterman. Simultaneous Random House Audio editions will extend the book's reach: expect high interest and big sales.

Reviewed on: 02/09/2004
Release date: 02/01/2004
Show other formats
FORMATS
Open Ebook - 299 pages - 978-1-299-03348-1
Compact Disc
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7393-0925-4
Paperback - 592 pages
Ebook - 592 pages - 978-1-4000-4335-4
Compact Disc - 978-0-7393-2365-6
Open Ebook - 592 pages - 978-0-307-42853-0
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-7393-5327-1
Hardcover - 569 pages - 978-0-7139-9677-7
Hardcover - 592 pages - 978-0-14-103762-2
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.