The Elegant Universe
By Brian Greene
Narrated by Erik Davies
Who cares about physics?
If the world is orderly and predictable, physics is the key to that orderliness and predictability; the key to our future.
Greene excites a listener’s appreciation of string theory and its potential for becoming the basis for a unified field theory (a fundamental theory that explains everything about everything). The goal of physicist’s, since Einstein’s scientific break through (the theory of general relativity), has been to find a unified field theory. The consequence of E=MCsquared reminds us of the importance of understanding physics.
Brian Greene is a theoretical physicist that helps bridge the gap between sciences’ understanding of the universe and an uninformed public. He links analogy with obscure conceptual physics. Many concepts addressed by Greene remain obscure (“Calabi-Yau manifolds” for example) despite his valiant effort to analogize his way to our understanding. But, “The Elegant Universe” does open doors for a non-physicist’s understanding.
“The Elegant Universe” unfolds the concept of vibrating strings that may constitute the elemental makeup of the universe. The concept is called string theory. With this theory, quantum mechanics becomes a scientifically verifiable structure for physics; something that Einstein could not accept in his life time. Greene explores the theory that elemental particles are made up of strings that vibrate at different frequencies. Those vibrations determine the elemental nature of particles that make up the world; one string can become different particles based on the frequency of its vibration. These strings move through out the galaxy to make-up all that we see and think we know of the universe. Conceptually, strings make up all matter and energy and have characteristics that maintain and repair the fabric of space.
String theory has the potential of explaining how the universe works. Quantum mechanics, ideas of equivalency (energy and mass), duality, symmetry and super symmetry are explored by Greene in “The Elegant Universe”.
The truth of string theory either obviates or combines the reality of space, time, and dimension. The future of string theory rests on experimental observance and measurement. Advances in string theory demand predictability and comprehensibility.
Unraveling nature’s mysteries may or may not be accomplished with this exploration but string theory has the potential of being the greatest discovery
since Newton’s theory of gravity and/or Einstein’s theory of relativity.