Monday, February 14, 2011

Nick's Picks

Continuing our regular feature of book recommendations from Uptown Borders' sales manager, Nick Taylor:

The Hidden Reality
by Brian Greene

Maelstroms of thought surround, permeate and compose the entirety of Brian Greene's newest physics journey.

A journey including infinite space containing finite possibilities and in turn near infinite variations of these limited arrangements which ultimately comprise the inflationary cosmos can only begin with Chapter 1.  Throughout the body one will be bombarded by interpretations of many multiverses inclusive of the inflationary, braneworld, cyclical and holographic principles.  One will review familiar evidence including the Davisson and Germer's "double-slit" experiment and the data of waves and undulation therein and fascinating concepts such as the Copenhagen interpretation (whereby the very act of observations impacts the outcome) and be reintroduced to string theory. 

For those unfamiliar, "string theory's claim to fame is its ability to resolve the central dilemma of twentieth-century theoretical physics: the raging hostility between general relativity and quantum mechanics." (H.R. pg 92).  Relating these tiny microscopic vibrating strings to a great macrocosm entailing multiples universes hires the image of Calabi-Yau shapes, their seemingly interminable variations and the knowledge of duality wherein lies the subtle differences amongst string theory Type I, Type IIa, Type IIb, Heterotic-0 and Heterotic-E and their gathering forms producing M-Theory.

New jarring terms aside, the beauty of this book lies within the writer's ability to relate this vast amount of knowledge in highly relatable everyday terms and situations.  Readers will relate with universal pictures made of Swiss cheese, lottery examples for probability and the simple act of walking a dog.  Also, taking into account not every reader is a physics instructor, the book's structure allows for conducive flow from section to section with occasional embedded suggestions to skip ahead while offering the more knowledgeable audience 29 pages of additional notes.

While we strive to reach an ultimate answer to our reality, where we fit and how we got here, the needed ground work is laid.  Brian Greene lays a fantastic foundation for our future while embracing and including contrarian concerns.  His book closes with the 11th chapter entitled, "The Limits of Inquiry."

Any encountering the author's previous works The Fabric of the Cosmos and or The Elegant Universe will appreciate reference to earlier sections to expand upon present comprehension or thusly be inspired to read both.  In addition to these two, my recommended supplemental readings are Cosmology:  A Very Short Introduction by Peter Coles and (for a different perspective) The Alchemy of Nine Dimensions: the 2011/2012 Prophecies and Nine Dimensions of Consciousness by Barbara Hand Clow and Gerry Clow.

During this undertaking, prepare to absorb more information than one sitting or one week of sittings could ever allow and be careful not to overload your neurological boundaries or you might just collapse into a black hole (or create a white hole [a term I was baffled to see]) and unknowingly become part of the Hidden Reality, Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos.

- Nicholas Taylor, Sales Manager, Uptown Borders

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