This Way to the Universe: A Theoretical Physicist’s Journey to the Edge of Reality

Michael Dine. Dutton, $28 (352p) ISBN 978-0-593-18464-6
Theoretical physicist Dine (Supersymmetry and String Theory) addresses big questions about the universe—including where it came from and how it’s likely to end—in this enthusiastic if impenetrable account. In order “to convey excitement about what we understand, and appreciation of the mysteries we currently confront,” Dine covers a massive range of topics, from “microminiature” subatomic particles to the vastness of the universe itself. He outlines the development of Newtonian physics and Einstein’s work on general and special relativity (the man “was a genius— and he was also lucky”), details attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity (sparked by Stephen Hawking), and investigates black holes (which he calls “theoretical laboratories), summarizing his own research on supersymmetry and string theory along the way. Unfortunately, Dine frequently forgoes necessary context; his description of quantum entanglement, for example, something that greatly troubled Einstein, is knotty, and while he makes it clear that modern physicists believe that the strength of gravitational force and the speed of light have remained constant since the formation of the universe, he doesn’t clearly explain how they know that. Nonspecialists will have a tough time finding their way into this one. Agent: Toby Mundy, Toby Mundy Associates. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/10/2021
Release date: 02/01/2022
Genre: Nonfiction
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