String Theory For Dummies Paperback
A clear, plain-English guide to this complex scientific theory String theory is the hottest topic in physics right now, with books on the subject (pro and con) flying out of the stores.
String Theory For Dummies offers an accessible introduction to this highly mathematical "theory of everything," which posits ten or more dimensions in an attempt to explain the basic nature of matter and energy.
Written for both students and people interested in science, this guide explains concepts, discusses the string theory's hypotheses and predictions, and presents the math in an approachable manner.
It features in-depth examples and an easy-to-understand style so that readers can understand this controversial, cutting-edge theory.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 384 pages, Illustrations
- Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd
- Publication Date: 01/11/2009
- Category: Physics
- ISBN: 9780470467244
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Review by bragan
This book, in the "...for Dummies" tradition, attempts to explain string theory in a way that's simple, clear, easily accessible to someone coming into it with minimal knowledge, and constructed in such a way that readers can dip in and out, rather than necessarily reading straight through. Needless to say, this attempt is doomed to failure. Even with the 100 pages of (highly compressed) Newton-to-Hawking physics lessons that are provided as necessary background, it's still doomed to failure. Theoretical physics of this kind doesn't just involve math -- the kind of math you pretty much have to have a PhD to understand -- it's <I>made</I> of math. And most of it is just not going to make much sense if you try to take the math out.Still, that having been said, the book does at least provide a little taste of what string theory is, how scientists approach it, and what kind of questions it's trying to answer. It also spends a couple of chapters looking at the possible implications of fun little ideas like parallel universes and time travel. More importantly, it gets into the actual <I>doing</I> of science, rather than just reporting the (in this case, still pretty iffy) results of scientific explorations. There's a lot of even-handed discussion of both the strengths of string theory and the criticisms of its opponents, along with some important context about what it means for an idea to be scientific and why there's room for debate about whether string theory does or doesn't qualify. Rating: 3.5/5, with the note that it's actually kind of impressive that it succeeds that well, given the restrictions of the format.