April Books

Mar 312004
Authors: Brooke Harless

A book about understanding the universe by a leading physicist

may fail to sound like leisurely reading, yet Brian Greene, author

of the astounding book, “The Fabric of the Cosmos,” gives an

entertaining grand tour of the universe.

The book, number three on the non-fiction New York Times

Bestsellers List, shows our world to be very different from what

common experience leads us to believe.

Space and time are the “fabric of the cosmos” and they remain

among the most intriguing and mysterious concepts.

Greene poses many questions, including space as an entity, time

having direction and the universe existing without space and time.

Greene frames his book around these thoughts, guiding his readers

toward modern science’s new and deeper understanding of the

universe. The book draws from a multitude of scientific theories

including Newton’s unchanging realm — where space and time are

absolute – and Einstein’s fluid conception of space-time and

quantum mechanics — where vastly distant objects can bridge their

spatial separation to instantaneously coordinate their behavior or

even undergo teleportation.

Written to accommodate people not well-versed in quantum physics

or other scientific theories, even a creative writing major could

read it without too much difficulty. Laced with wit and humor,

Green makes reading about incredibly complex theories much less


Greene takes readers step-by-step through sixteen chapters plus

illustrations to tackle the theory of universal reality. He also

interweaves analogies and personal experiences to reach a wide


His language reflects a deep passion for science and a gift for

translating concepts into poetic images. When explaining, for

example, the inability to see the higher dimensions inherent in

string theory, Greene writes, “We don’t see them because of the way

we see … like an ant walking along a lily pad … we could be

floating within a grand, expansive, higher-dimensional space.”

The book may prove to be a difficult bedtime read as deep

thought about mind-stretching theories that keep the reader awake

and pondering for hours. I recommend this as a

I-have-a-serious-amount-of-time-on-my-hands summer read.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

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