The Elegant Universe

The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene came out in 1999. The book is broken into five parts. Part I: The Edge of Knowledge. Part II: The Dilemma of Space, Time, and the Quanta. Part III: The Cosmic Symphony. Part IV: String Theory and the Fabric of Spacetime. Part V: Unification in the Twenty-First Century.

Greene begins by breaking down the elements. He explains how we have the atom, the electron and Protons and Neutrons and then we have the Quark. Then he moves onto String Theory.

Just as the strings on a violin or piano have resonant frequencies at which they prefer to vibrate—patterns that our ears sense as various musical notes and their higher harmonies—the same holds true for the loops in string theory. But we will see that rather than producing musical notes each preferred patterns of vibration of a string in string theory appears as a particle whose mass and force are determined by the string’s oscillatory pattern. The Electron is a string vibrating one way; the Up Quark is string vibrating another way and so on.

The Theory of Everything or T.O.E. is an effort by Steven Weinberg to pull together all the separate theories into one theory that covers everything. The Electro-Magnetic field that Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell theorized on was the beginning of The Theory of Everything.

Light is an electromagnetic vibration perceived by our eyes. Time is not an absolute. Length varies with extreme speed. That is where Einstein’s famous E=MC2 comes in. Energy=Mass at the Speed of Light or C squared. In other words, a little mass goes a long way in producing energy. Greene also addresses Newton’s view of gravity which is not compatible to Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity. He also discusses blackholes and the idea of the Event Horizon, which is the point of no return.

Greene also covers the Big Bang Theory. He says that the universe is unfurling like a coil or spreading out like a tidal wave. Then he goes back to talking about Max Planck and the beginning of Quantum Physics. Matter comes in Waves or Particles—Quanta can be both. Richard Feynman was the greatest theoretic physicist next to Einstein. Feynman was the one who theorized the Quantum Mechanics wasn’t about one path but all possible paths.

After the Big Bang, Gravity, The Special Theory of Relativity and Quantum Physics came the String Theory. What happens when these strings collide? Two can combine into one or they can split off in different directions. This means that the state of the observer depends on the interaction and that the interaction depends on the state of the observer. We not only affect reality, but create it and change it by our very consciousness of it.

There are different types of string theory. Kaluza or Klein which represent dimensions curled up on a grid. Calabi-Yau Space represents the dimensions as multi-holes or multi-donuts. Greene also addresses the theory of worm holes. Let’s say you have a U-Shaped universe then you could take a short cut across it.

The last bit of the book is dedicated to the idea of the M-Theory. The M stands for Membrane, but it could also stand for Mother or Mystery or Matrix. M-Theory says there are 11 dimensions of space and time; which include 7 higher dimensions and 4 common dimensions.

You don’t need to be a scientist to enjoy this book. It is easily written and easy to understand. I highly recommend it.

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