The Fabric of the Cosmos

| March 27, 2012 | 0 Comments

A few days ago we had a look at the TV series of the same name, so I think it’s appropriate to check out the book as well. So here we have another best-seller by Brian Greene, a theoretical physicist, who is famous for his research in string theory and popular science books including “The Elegant Universe”. I have to be honest, “The Fabric of the Cosmos” is in many ways very similar to Brian Greene’s last book. But is it better or worse? Let’s check it out.

 

Basic Info

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1st edition (February 10, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375412883
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375412882
  • Average Amazon Customer Review:4.5 out of 5 stars (264 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

 

About the Author

Brian Greene is a professor of physics and mathematics at the Columbia University. He has received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his doctorate from Oxford University. The research interests of Brian Greene include string theory, cosmology, astroparticle physics and others. Besides his academic work Greene is also a famous popular science writer and TV host of “The Elegant Universe” and “The Fabric of the Cosmos” TV series.

 

About the Book

Brian Greene’s first book, “The Elegant Universe” was finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction, won Britain’s top prize for a book on science, and has sold more than a million copies worldwide. So naturaly the second book was eagerly awaited and the expectations were really high. Nevertheless the second book came out to be almost as successful as the first one. The Fabric of the Cosmos spent half a year on the New York Times bestseller list and inspired the Washington Post to call him “the single best explainer of abstruse concepts in the world today. But was it really that good?

To be honest, I have mixed feelings about this book. At first glance it looks like a book written following the same formula as “The Elegant Universe”, which means clear and simple explanations of complex physics concepts + some charisma and fun. It seems that Brian Greene has written another great book, this time about the physics of space time, which offers useful information presented in a simple to understand and accessible to laymen. However, there is a couple of obvious drawbacks right from the start of the book. Firstly, the illustrations are kind of disappointing, especially having in mind that the front cover looks really clear and good. Secondly, as many other reviewers have pointed out, this books seems to be kind of an oversimplified version of “The Elegant Universe, in a sense that it doesn’t contain too much new information and some of the concepts are just too “dumbed down”. Besides that the book is not bad. I guess it’s your typical popular science book, which explains the underlying physics with nice analogies and just gives you a fun ride through the world of physics.

The main themes of the book, as it is clear from the title, are mostly about space-time physics. The main subjects are space time physics, the origin of time, quantum physics and modern cosmology theories.

So, in conclusion, I think “The Fabric of the Cosmos” is not as good as “The Elegant Universe”, but it’s still a decent book, which should be read if you’re looking for an easy-to-read yet informative book.

 

Links:

1) Brian Greene’s Website

2) The Fabric of the Cosmos at Amazon:

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