Brian Greene: The Elegant Universe

Published: 2019-12-13 14:30:00
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In his book The Elegant Universe, Brian Greene provides a very unusual blend of scientific insights and writing through elegant theories (Greene, 2000). Greene rolls back the mysterious layers of the concepts surrounding the theory of superstring in order to disclose a universe that incorporates eleven dimensions, through which the space fabrics can tear and repair themselves. In his opinion, all matter (including the tiniest quarks and the most colossal supernovas) are created through the vibrations of the tiniest or microscopic energy loops. Brian Greene thereby employs diverse examples, extending from the amusement park-rides to garden-hose ants in order to portray the most beautiful yet peculiar realities, which the modern-day physics finally presents. Through an unprecedented ability to entertain and illustrate, The Elegant Universe emerges as a very delightful and coherent expedition into the modern physics, which brings humans closer to a definite understanding on how the entire universe works.

Commencing from a brief consideration and/or introduction of the classical physics that focuses on the key conflicts and misunderstandings surrounding the concepts of physics, Brian creates a historic context of string theory as a basic means through which the deterministic Newtonian concepts of the microscopic world and the standard models of particulate physics of the probabilistic world can be integrated (Greene, 2000). The book further discusses the critical issues and/or problems facing the contemporary worlds physics, which comes out to be the unification of the theory of quantum mechanics and general relativity by Albert Einstein. Greene further submits that the string-theory is a remedy to the two contradictory concepts. He often uses thought experiments and analogies in providing solutions to the laymans challenge of coming into terms with his theory, which holds the prospects of creating a unified theory of the worlds physics. In this book, there is a chronological flow of ideas and/or information as Greene develops a trend of sequentially introducing every single fresh new insight after the other. In this great tradition of physics theorists writing to the masses or public, The Elegant Universe introduced a new standard that would be challenging to beat.

There have been misconceptions and ill-concealed concepts in physics closet, which insinuate that the quantum mechanics and general relativity, in the way they are formulated currently, cannot be right both at the same time. Each concept is only found to be extremely accurate in its own spectrum. For instance, the theory of general relativity seamlessly explains the large-scale behaviors of the universe, while on the other hand, the theory of quantum mechanics impeccably elucidates the behaviors and properties of sub-atomic particles and/or molecules. Nonetheless, the two theories horribly conflict each other under extreme circumstances such as the big bangs close times or black holes. In this respect, Brian Greene, being a specialist of the quantum theoretic field, stand by his belief that these two mainstays of physics can possibly be reconciled through the superstring theory, which he refers to as a theory of everything (Greene, 2000). This theory has been recognized to be part of the 21st century phenomenon, which by chance fell into the 20th century. In close terms, the theory is not yet completely worked out. Regardless of the uncertainties encountered, string theorists are known to work best in finding the approximate solutions for approximate equations. In these regards, Brian Greene thereby provides a tour of the string theory hence coming up with concepts that are solid and comprehensive enough to scientifically satisfy the literate worlds population. Throughout The Elegant Universe, Greene strategically focuses on science as his core pillar, hence providing the non-specialists with at least some illusions and elements of understanding. The book further provides a sense of having the knowledge over what is not yet known, which many people believe to had been the first step towards the traditional approach to knowledge.

As Laurie (2004) acknowledges, The Elegant Universe endeavors to impart a comprehensive understanding of the string theory to average readers and reveals the beneficial implications of Greenes ideologies on the worlds physics. He cleverly achieves these feats through traversing the modern physics history and complexities, but in simple and understandable context. As such, the book simplifies the complex string theory and makes it accessible to all. Greene exhibits his remarkable gift of focusing on the day-to-day phenomena by adeptly illustrating what could be going on across the phase of the world in dimensions that are modest yet complex and beyond the feeble human perceptions. Even though people may tend to dismiss strings and the string theory merely as a publish and perish mill, Greene illustratively demonstrates how these strings have been used to demonstrate the association between physics and mathematics, which have been useful in finding the solution age-old mysteries or puzzles in many fields (Laurie, 2004). Therefore, The Elegant Universe remains appealing to the fields of astronomy, as well as physics and mathematics since it probes deep into essential insights that are provided by the string theory to solve the hotly debated concepts and concerns about cosmology. The later chapters also prepare the readers of string theory for the possible scientific advances that are likely to emerge in the applications of the string theory through the coming millenniums.


Greene, B. (2000). The elegant universe: Superstrings, hidden dimensions, and the quest for the ultimate theory. Vintage Series, Random House Inc., February 2000.

Laurie, B. M. (2004). Reviewed work: The elegant universe: superstrings, hidden dimensions, and the quest for the ultimate theory by Brian Greene. Isis. 95(2), 327-331.


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