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The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality | [Brian Greene]

The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality

Space and time form the very fabric of the cosmos. Yet they remain among the most mysterious of concepts. Is space an entity? Why does time have a direction? Could the universe exist without space and time? Can we travel to the past?
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Publisher's Summary

Space and time form the very fabric of the cosmos. Yet they remain among the most mysterious of concepts. Is space an entity? Why does time have a direction? Could the universe exist without space and time? Can we travel to the past?

Greene uses these questions to guide us toward modern science's new and deeper understanding of the universe. From Newton's unchanging realm in which space and time are absolute, to Einstein's fluid conception of spacetime, to quantum mechanics' entangled arena where vastly distant objects can bridge their spatial separation to instantaneously coordinate their behavior or even undergo teleportation, Greene reveals our world to be very different from what common experience leads us to believe. Focusing on the enigma of time, Greene establishes that nothing in the laws of physics insists that it run in any particular direction and that "time's arrow" is a relic of the universe's condition at the moment of the big bang. And in explaining the big bang itself, Greene shows how recent cutting-edge developments in superstring and M-theory may reconcile the behavior of everything from the smallest particle to the largest black hole. This startling vision culminates in a vibrant eleven-dimensional "multiverse," pulsating with ever-changing textures, where space and time themselves may dissolve into subtler, more fundamental entities.

Sparked by the trademark wit, humor, and brilliant use of analogy, Brian Greene takes us all, regardless of our scientific backgrounds, on an irresistible and revelatory journey to the new layers of reality that modern physics has discovered lying just beneath the surface of our everyday world.

©2004 Brian Greene; (P)2004 Books on Tape, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Nobody ever said that cosmology was simple, not even Stephen Hawking, in whose tradition Dr. Greene impressively follows....He is both a skilled and kindly explicator....The Fabric of the Cosmos is as dazzling as it is tough." (The New York Times)
"It will be enjoyable and stimulating for the lay reader, who will even learn about time travel and teleportation. This is one popular-science book that won't be left on the coffee table half read." (The New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

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4.2 (1152 )
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4.1 (310 )
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  •  
    Martin HagerstenSweden 02-26-04
    Martin HagerstenSweden 02-26-04 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Space and Time for the Common Man"

    Greene has a wonderful gift for explaining complex matters in a clear and entertaining manner. I was a bit worried that without the diagrams and figures the book would be hard to follow, but except for one or two passages Greene's explanations were easy to follow from his verbal descriptions. If you want to know what is going on at the frontiers of physics this is the book to get. Still you should be prepared to expand some intellectual effort to get the point of such things as Bell's inequalities and quantum nonlocality. I especially enjoyed the description of how the passage of time was an illusion, at least for someone who believes in the physics point of view. Even so this book is a wonderful way to pass time.

    34 of 34 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew Pflugerville, TX, USA 02-23-04
    Matthew Pflugerville, TX, USA 02-23-04
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    "Lucid, Revealing, Thorough"

    If you're new to the worlds of quantum physics and relativity, this book makes an excellent primer; non-scientists who just want to brush up on their physics will find plenty to like here as well--Greene's explanation of the Aspect experiment is the first I've ever read that actually makes me feel as though I understood what was actually going on. His frequent use of Simpsons and Star Wars characters as the subjects of his examples is charming in its unabashed geekery. The only sour note is the narrator, who sounds as though he's reading a 1940's newsreel. Once you get used to the ponderousness of the narration, though, the content gets you through.

    61 of 62 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Colorado Springs, CO, USA 02-21-04
    Christopher Colorado Springs, CO, USA 02-21-04
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    "Great new book by Brian Greene!"

    This book just barely came out and I can't put it down. Greene delves into areas of physics that will fascinate even the novice reader. The only drawback is that the narrator's style can be monotonous and his pronunciation errant. Nevertheless this is a book that is well worth the read for anyone hoping to better understand our elegant universe!

    31 of 32 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Rialto, CA, USA 09-16-04
    Cynthia Rialto, CA, USA 09-16-04
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    "Quantum Physics For Dummies!"

    This book finally makes quantum physics understandable (as much as anyone is truly capable of understanding quantum physics) and even enjoyable. Coming from me, this is quite a statement. I have a shelf full of books promising to explain quantum physics in simplified terms. I think I made it to chapter 3 in one of them. The author begins by taking the reader back to the basic science class of yesteryear, and giving a review of Newtonian and Einsteinian physics. Even though this is for the benefit of those with absolutely no background science, there are enough new little tidbits sprinkled in, that weren?t covered in those classes, to give the average individual a few ?Hmmm, I don?t remember hearing that before? moments. Greene moves on to sub-atomic particles and explains how light is both a wave and a particle. The reader can finally understand these concepts because many fascinating experiments are described and explained. Just about the time when you think you?re getting lost, he backs up and relates what you?ve just learned to what you knew (or thought you knew) before. After showing you how to process this new information by taking you backwards a few steps, he gently moves you forward again. He explains how observing a particle in any way, changes it. I had heard this, too, but my interpretation was, of course, much, much too simplistic. Three steps forward, one step back. He slowly pushes your capacity to question the most basic assumptions about life. He goes into ?Time?s Arrow?. If we can remember the past ? why can?t we remember the future? Mathematically we should be able to. Can our actions NOW effect the PAST? It certainly appears that they do. And it is all explained, bit-by-bit, piece-by-piece. Schrodinger?s Cat is explained! It has to do with probability waves, their collapse, and the ?light is a wave and a particle? thing - or so one of the current theories goes.Then again there's that multiple dimension theory. And string theory. And the . . .

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gregory Gaithersburg, Moldova, Republic of 07-10-08
    Gregory Gaithersburg, Moldova, Republic of 07-10-08 Member Since 2007
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    "Five Stars"

    I'm a sceptic and normally don't give five-star ratings to anything. I've listened and re-listened this audio book several times. Mr.'s (Prof.'s?) Greene's book gave me the chills more times than anything else I've heard or read. Reluctantly (on principle) I give it 5 (five) stars. His book is a journey for a lazy and ignorant sceptic like myself. His "mind-boggling" and "earth-shattering" exclamations are just that for me.

    If you want to get close to understanding what he is talking about and too lazy to learn the math behind it - this audiobook is for you.
    It's a classic.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bjorn Pleasanton, CA, USA 04-13-04
    Bjorn Pleasanton, CA, USA 04-13-04 Member Since 2000
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    "Great book, but hard to listen to"

    This author writes wonderful books, but I think it will be hard for most people to get past this narrator. He sounds like he is doing a 1940's newsreel. It is too bad, because the book is very accessable in its text. How and why did they choose this guy to read it? I can't believe he gets paid for this.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P. Hawley Hollis, ME USA 06-15-08
    P. Hawley Hollis, ME USA 06-15-08 Listener Since 2004
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    "Good material. I wanted to like it."

    I enjoyed the material. I've seen Brian Greene on Nova and read one of his other books, but I could barely get through this book.
    It's probably just me, but I can't stand this narrator.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeffrey Redmond, WA, USA 10-26-05
    Jeffrey Redmond, WA, USA 10-26-05
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    "Horrible Narrator"

    Judging from the reviews, most people loved this. However, I couldn't get through it at all because of the extremely boring and monotone narrator. I really couldn't stand him. I had hoped Brian Greene would narrate his own book as I thought the "Elegant Universe" series on PBS was really good.
    Oh well. I recommend that you listen to a sample before getting this. I think you'll either like or not like the narrator

    18 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Osseo, MN, USA 04-23-09
    David Osseo, MN, USA 04-23-09
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    "Its all in there! And Organized too!"

    After listening to "The Fabric of the Cosmos", I could not think of a question it did not answer. I can recall only a few instances where a 'relisten' was necessary to understand the concepts/principles presented by the author - considering the subject matter and my ignorance on the topics, this is amazing to me.

    The book builds the readers understanding gradually, and presents this intricate material logically and in a gripping package.

    Well done!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David New York, NY, USA 03-01-09
    David New York, NY, USA 03-01-09 Member Since 2002
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    "The Best Layman's Guide to Current Physics"

    Greene is brilliantly insightful in his way of evenhandedly surveying the current field hand the differing points of view involved in a way that brings much of it right down to earth. Physics, whether astro- or quantum, isn't "out there," after all. It's here and now. It's what we are made of and live among.

    Compare this with the pseudoscientific types, like Gregg Bradden who try to convince the gullible with non-existent certainties geared toward quasi-religious pursuits of their own invention.

    I'll take Brian Greene's fascinating reality, embedded with facts and generally accepted theories. They are more than amazing enough for me.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
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