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The Fabric of the Cosmos

Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality
Narrated by: Michael Prichard
Length: 22 hrs and 36 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,751 ratings)

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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.

Critic Reviews

"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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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Martin
  • HagerstenSweden
  • 02-26-04

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.

44 of 44 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Matthew
  • Pflugerville, TX, USA
  • 02-23-04

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.

71 of 72 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Bjorn
  • Pleasanton, CA, USA
  • 04-13-04

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.

37 of 38 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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!

34 of 36 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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 . . .

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

29 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Jeffrey
  • Redmond, WA, USA
  • 10-26-05

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

41 of 45 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • Osseo, MN, USA
  • 04-23-09

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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jason
  • Jacksonvilee, FL, USA
  • 10-07-08

Classic Greene!

No one in the physics world can bring such a concise yet approachable view to non-physicists like Brian Greene. As a closet astrophysicist, I really enjoy Greene's prose and analogies that allow me to jump into the microscopic and macroscopic universe and understand topics that are very hard to grasp when you're lacking the upper level mathematics about which he speaks.

The problem with the book is that the last few chapters become very difficult to understand, especially after an exciting and truly riveting first 3/4 of the book.

Unlike in Fabric of the Cosmos, his first book, a lot of the information is punctuated with good narration rather than a high dependence on diagrams (which is good considering that this is an audiobook).

I think if you're absolutely shellshocked and intrigued by the way physics has evolved and how it continues to evolve, there is really no other book out there that brings such a friendly and approachable viewpoint as Greene's.

Excellent narration by Michael Prichard (who even sounds like Greene) makes it a perfect purchase.

If only I could wrap my brain around branes and such. But that limitation is more mine than the book's.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gregory
  • Gaithersburg, Moldova, Republic of
  • 07-10-08

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.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful