There was a time when “universe” meant all there is. Everything. Yet, in recent years discoveries in physics and cosmology have led a number of scientists to conclude that our universe may be one among many. With crystal-clear prose and inspired use of analogy, Brian Greene shows how a range of different “multiverse” proposals emerges from theories developed to explain the most refined observations of both subatomic particles and the dark depths of space: a multiverse in which you have an infinite number of doppelgängers, each reading this sentence in a distant universe; a multiverse comprising a vast ocean of bubble universes, of which ours is but one; a multiverse that endlessly cycles through time, or one that might be hovering millimeters away yet remains invisible; another in which every possibility allowed by quantum physics is brought to life. Or, perhaps strangest of all, a multiverse made purely of mathematics.
Greene, one of our foremost physicists and science writers, takes us on a captivating exploration of these parallel worlds and reveals how much of reality’s true nature may be deeply hidden within them.
©2011 Brian Greene (P)2011 Random House Audio
Brian is doing his best to explain String Theory and other vital concepts. But, he lapses into cosmic jargon and he lost me many times.
Where he is headed is amamzing, and he is brillant, but if the reader is new to cosmology, beware.
This book brings you up-to-date on the latest in cosmology theory. The author is clear enough for the non-scientist to follow most of what he's saying, without watering down the
complexities. Also, unless you have some kind of prejudice against people who accentuate the letter "s," you'll have no problem enjoying the author's narration of this book. I think most people will enjoy his reading.
Having this read by Brian Greene himself is a very nice touch. The concepts and principles are very well laid out. The concepts can get deep and there are a lot of implied assumptions and thought exercises. But the topic is founded on assumptions and thought exercises.
Highly recommend reading if only for the accepted pronunciation of various mathematical and science terms.
Brian Greene (The Elegant Universe; The Fabric of the Cosmos) in The Hidden Reality approaches the question of alternative universes. Is our universe the only universe? The short answer for Greene is “no” and readers will be rewarded for reading this book for his longer explanation. Each Chapter considers an alternative approach to understanding the universe; parallel worlds, quilted multiverse, inflationary multiverse, string theory, Brane and Cyclic multiverses, the landscape multivedrse, and the quantum multiverse. For me, the most helpful chapter dealt with string theory. I thought started this book thinking I would have to set it aside pretty quickly, and made it through even string theory. If you have taken on Greene before, this volume was more approachable than the others. Anyone can benefit from a reading of this work. I came away with absolutely nothing that would help me in my everyday life, but very stimulated by the ideas saturating this volume. I hope that Greene will give us more soon. The author's own reading of this book is excellent.
I have long been a fan of Brian Greene and his skillful attempts to bring extremely difficult topics in physics within the general understanding of a non-mathematical audience. I thought both The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos were tour de forces of both lucid and entertaining writing, and both were rich with information not easy to absorb in another form or from another writer. Now along comes The Hidden Reality. Now we have Brian Greene tackling arguably a far less known or understood, and in many ways far-fetched topic: multiple universes. Is our universe the only one, or “all there is”, (i.e. the meaning of “universe”), or is everything we have ever observed or conceived of existing only one of a multitude (perhaps an infinite number) of such universes? By taking on such a topic in the first place, Greene is upping the ante quite a bit, even in comparison with discussions of topics like string theory.
At this point, I begin to take issue with his approach. I can see that Brian chose to “put out there” a panoply of wild ideas proposed by others, without passing judgment on whether they are right, wrong, or just plain ridiculous. In particular, I have problem believing that the “quantum multiverse” of Everett, the simulation multiverse or the everything (mathematical) multiverse are more than human-inspired fantasies.
I find the idea of a multiverse in general very appealing and reasonable, as I could never accept the “fact” that a single Big Bang, before which there was “nothing” started it all. Brane collisions or Big Bang like bubble formations within a much larger overall field of some sort make more sense. It makes sense that our universe is neither special as being the only one in time or in “the space of spaces”. But it’s going out on a limb to “know” that the landscape in which they exist is infinite in time or spatial dimensions. Greene has written a thoughtful and provocative book that will stimulate lively discussion.
Excellent book but less accessible than Elegant Universe. Concepts are very abstract and keeping up requires a lot of focus and scientific reasoning. Not really a light read or something to listen to at work or during a commute. Having said that the text is challenging and fulfilling and Brian does an excellent job of covering a large amount of material while still taking time to craft metaphors to help the listener keep up. I recommend this book if you watch Nova or Cosmos and think "yeah, but I've heard all this before." The Hidden Reality plunges into very deep matters and lesser known scientific inquiry. Four stars.
The best book on the multiverse when compared to 'Parallel Worlds' and 'Mathematical Universe' (have not heard Hawkings take yet). Greene stays very tightly focused on the goal of threading together the disparate 'hints' points toward the multiverse. That is a key to enjoying this book, it's all about hints, and clues, and implications taken to their logical extremes; so, given that, it's important to note that arguments must be tightly followed to understand why this matters. There is no definite answers or experiments, just rational. But Greene handles this exceptionally, guiding the reader carefully along the path from implications of the cosmological constant/expanding universe/dark energy, to the Big Bang and the theory of inflation, to string theory and quantum gravity, to quantum mechanical wavefunction collapse and the many-worlds hypothesis, to black hole entropy and the holographic principle, to branes. Parts can seem unrelated to each other, but each offers a hint at 'something more', which is the central theme of the book. There is more to know, here's some ideas on how we'll get there and how we got to those ideas.
Brian Green has an incredible talent to explain the complex and abstract in ways that can help virtually anyone to understand it. I have long wanted to understand the cosmos and quantum theories without being overwhelmed with complicated mathematics. The Hidden Reality, as well as his other books, took me on a mental guided tour through realms I've never imagined. I can't wait for his next book.
Let me first say, I love Brian Greene. I have The Elegant Universe DVD series, have attended his presentations, and even have two books signed by him. So I wanted to love this book. The problem is that here, Greene reads at a pace so slow and expressive, it sounds as though he's reading to kindergarteners. I'm not exaggerating. It was nothing like how he speaks in his series. It was painful to listen to. Speeding it up did not help. Much worse was the constant name dropping. While it is understandable that some concepts require an explanation of the physicist that discovered it, there seemed to be mini-bios and accolades for every colleague, i.e. the "brilliant" so-and-so, and references to who wrote what scientific paper, when all he needed to do was describe the theory or concept. Finally, he lost me when he began using pop culture (Cartman from Southpark, of all things) as illustrative reference points for physical science. While what he was describing was fascinating on its own, he would suddenly stop to use simplistic explanations, such as imagining Cartmen getting fatter. The combination of all of those things ruined it for me. It was an overwhelming disappointment.
Never got to the ending. As noted above, it was simply too painful to listen to.
Not much else I can add to what I already wrote.
A PBS series, yes.
It was my free trial Audible book, so I wish I'd chosen a better one.
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