Posts Tagged ‘brian greene’

The Elegant Universe

June 19, 2011
The Elegant Universe

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Brian Greene’s “The Elegant Universe” is a useful introduction to the subject of string theory and the state of modern physics. I found it interesting and informative, with some reservations.

For one thing, I do not share Greene’s enthusiasm for string theory. No matter how elegant the various forms of string theory may seem to the physicist, the simple fact is that there is no experimental proof for any of it nor is any forthcoming at our present level of technology. In fact, to the best of my (limited) knowledge, I am not sure that string theory offers any testable predictions or explanations of physical phenomena that cannot also e explained with other theories.

Brian Greene generally does a good job of explaining but parts of The Elegant Universe were a little difficult to get through, probably more because of the extreme opaqueness of the subject, and not to any lack of skill of the author. The last several chapters, however, seemed to be increasingly esoteric as Greene used string theory to explore such subjects as the interiors of black holes and the very beginning if the universe, and before.

Overall, I would recommend this book, but not wholeheartedly.

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The Hidden Reality

April 13, 2011

I’ve been reading, or really listening to  “The Hidden Reality” by Brian Greene. Greene is one of the  scientists who can make advanced science accessible to the general public. There are too few of them left since the passing of Carl Sagan and Stephen J Gould. Anyway, The Hidden Reality is all about the concept of parallel universes or the multiverse. Greene describes all the various kinds of universes that might exist.

It is an interesting book and an intriguing subject. I’m skeptical about the multiverse concept though. The problem is that there is no evidence that any of the various multiverses actually exist. And, given that each universe in a multiverse is self-contained with no means of communicating with one another, it is not likely that we will ever have such evidence. As I said, it is an interesting concept, but unless they can come up with a testable hypothesis about the matter, I don’t think that it can be, strictly speaking, science. You might as well argue about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

By the way, the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin is infinite. Angels are not composed of matter/energy and do not take up physical space, you see.


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