I am a former physicist and I listen to books to and from work as a professional photographer. There was a lot to learn if you have not kept up with quantum mechanics. I had to back it up 10 min or so every so often as my brain could not take in all the information at the speed it was given. The guy knows his stuff and puts it in logical order but you can't (I can't) grasp it as fast as he speaks it, especially when you are listening to it instead of reading it.
I wish I could say this book was elegantly written and that it did indeed describe an elegant universe. As good as the book is, though (and it is still one of the best none-the-less), I had a hard time seeing elegance anywhere.
I bought this book after seeing Brian Greene present the TV series 'Fabric of the Cosmos'. His explanations were so, well, elegant (and brilliantly visualised) that I thought for sure here is the next Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking combined!
Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the writing in this book, admittedly written many years earlier. Explanations labour tediously on foundation concepts when, suddenly, a crucial sophisticated conclusions flashes by. The 'plain English' prose is similarly punctuated with sudden clusters of esoteric vocabulary. The rhythm, therefore (especially when narrated) can be very unsettling. It's hard to know what the right level of your mind's 'engagement' ought to be at any particular time.
If you persevere, though, this is definitely one of the most comprehensive explanations of String Theory's depths available in popular science. Interestingly, though, the sub-Planck-length Universe seems awfully 'messy' and confused, not at all elegant as the book's title suggests. So, I'm left wondering exactly what the title refers to, but still very satisfied with the book on the whole.
The narrator was suitable for the material and easy to listen to. As other reviewers have noted, some foreign names are awkwardly pronounced, but I've grown used to this after hearing the same physicists' names attempted by many different narrators, all bringing their own regional peculiarities to their accents (UK vs US narrators for instance).
I had also read the book years ago, but found the audiobook to be thoroughly enjoyable. This is a great book, but the subject matter will prove to be mind-bending to most. Approach with caution and go slow. Highly recommended.
The Quantum universe
The Andromeda galaxy
The _-000000000010 seconds after the Big Bang
While not understanding all of the complicated mathematical equations necessary it was elegantly written and flowed like a wave which kept me captivated. Stunning and riveting left me with a greater sense of awe for the mysteries of the universe.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
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.
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.
The end of the book goes maybe a bit too much into the details of certain aspects of m-theory. Insted the book could pull everything together with some simpler way.
The explanations get a bit hazy towards the end of the book.
The book should maintain its clear and elaborate level till the end.
I will be listening the first half again. It was very good.
Excellent book, easy to read. It becomes difficult at the end but you would have benefited a lot from it. Highly recommended if you're interested with physics, universe, etc..
Don't like to read it myself :-)
This is by far the best book I have "read" so far.
It is accesible even for those who don't know what to expect.
It will take you on a journey of hundreds of years science at high level
Must have been difficult to do this performance. Respect!
Well, there were some chapters that were too technical; where Brian just drifted of to lonely hights leaving us (simple beings) far behind.
Up to his next one....
Everything is subjective.
All I must say before I continue is that this is, in my opinion, a bit of intermediate book. Myself, being at or above this level, will continue with my review.
Brian Greene, a pioneer on the road to figuring out the insanely complex String Theory (or M Theory, rather), describes the issues as current, and on the horizon. Indeed he also sets the stage by explaining what was discovered to have led to our current level of understanding. Doesn't misunderstand me, Greene does a great job at relating String Theory to the audience, but String Theory is a bit too complex to explain simply. Anyone else thinking of Einstein's quote right now?
"If you cannot explain something simply, you do not fully understand it."
Being that String Theory's complex and can (probably) never be proven as valid, we can safely say no one understands it. We barely conquered (if that is even an appropriate use of the word) quantum mechanics. String Theory is a bit immature, but Brian Greene does a great job at getting our feet wet and explaining the difficulties behind the formulation of a such a complex and unifying theory of everything.