You are on page 1of 2

Greene does a good job of explaining the general theory of relativity, the special theory of

relativity, and some Newtonian physics. Of course, those explanations are regurgitated from
previous authors, but nevertheless, a good summary.
I don't recommend this unless you are feeling a bit lost and need to find a new religion.
eb !", #!$% George
I was tired of reading nothing but literature, my main squeeze, and having only
vague notions about scientifc concepts whose names are often thrown around in
public discourse. And so I've resolved to throw in a non-fction boo into my reading
now and then, and, physics representing one of the larger gaps in my nowledge, I
chose to read !he "legant #niverse.
$ow glad I am to have read it. As it turns out, my idea of string theory was
erroneous, as was my rudimentary grasp of "instein's theory of relativity. I wasn't
e%pecting to read about the latter, but it turns out that the casual understanding of
string theory that this boo sees to instill requires some understanding of relativity
and some other ideas in physics. !he frst chapters of the boo give a crash course
on what's happened in physics since about the turn of the century, and then &reene
starts in on string theory. !he "legant #niverse is therefore a wonderful resource for
any reader interested not only in an introduction to string theory but to relativity,
quantum mechanics, and 'in the fnal chapters( the big bang.
!hough I admit that other science boos could have done the same, this one
reindled in me an interest in science that's lain dormant since middle school. 'I'm
now in my mid-)*s(. +ften the boo challenges the reader with somewhat dense
passages about di,cult concepts, but, considering the sub-ect matter, &reene
proves a passionate, lucid teacher.
- &reene e%plains relativity so I get it, quantum physics so I follow it, and string
theory so that at least I get what it e%plains. .or me, that's pretty good.
!here are a few things in the boo, layman though I am, that I now are
already a little dated - he eeps referring to the age of the universe as /0
billion years, rather than /1.2 billion. Also, he tals about how some big
e%pansion in the moments -ust after the big bang would e%plain how the
universe is as big as it is, while gravity slows it down. !he problem there is
that a couple of years ago scientists realized the e%pansion of the universe is
speeding up
- 3rian &reene... is not 4tephen $awing. And I'm saying this only because I
would love for &reene to have $awing's clarity when writing5e%plaining.
&reene says a lot of things, but doesn't say anything relevant. $is storytelling
sills -ust aren't that good 'for me(. I now he tries to simplify things for the
ordinary people, people without any clues what theoretical physics is. I have
some nowledge 'although I'm not an e%pert, and I respect 3rian &reene as a
scientist( about theoretical physics, and I thin I have to read more
6advanced6 boos about this particular branch of science.