by Douglas Adams Year Published: AverageThis book is a masterpiece and a cult classic with a huge fanbase all over the world. The movie based on the book was pretty bad, but the 6 part BBC series a few years ago was entertaining. This comedy is a must-read book for the science fiction enthusiast. From Wikipedia: "The series follows the adventures of Arthur Dent, a hapless Englishman who, with his friend Ford Prefect, an alien from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse and researcher for the eponymous guidebook, escapes the demolition of Earth by a bureaucratic alien race called the Vogons. Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ford's semi-cousin and part-time Galactic President, unknowingly saves the pair from certain death. He brings them aboard his stolen spaceship, the Heart of Gold, whose crew rounds out the main cast of characters: Marvin, the Paranoid Android, a depressed robot, and Trillian, formerly known as Tricia McMillan, a woman Arthur once met at a party who he soon realises is the only other survivor of Earth's destruction. " Wikipedia's article on this book is longer than its article on Shakespeare's MacBeth. So, you know it must be good!
by Michio Kaku Year Published: ChallengingAmazon.com Review How many dimensions do you live in? Three? Maybe that's all your commonsense sense perception perceives, but there is growing and compelling evidence to suggest that we actually live in a universe of ten real dimensions. Kaku has written an extraordinarily lucid and thought-provoking exploration of the theoretical and empirical bases of a ten-dimensional universe and even goes so far as to discuss possible practical implications--such as being able to escape the collapse of the universe. Yikes. Highly Recommended. From Publishers Weekly Since ingesting Einstein's relativity theory 50 years ago, physics fell down a quantum rabbit hole and, ever since, physicists' reports to the world of popular science have been curiouser and curiouser. This version, from the author of the graduate text Quantum Field Theory , is very curious as he delineates the "delicious contradictions" of the quantum revolution: that the new paradigms of subatomic matter require the existence of "hyperspace," an ultimate universe of many dimensions, to accomodate their mostly mathematical behaviors. Unified field theory as it is currently understood does not preclude any of the hypotheses that Kaku invites to this Mad Hatter's Theory Party: superstrings, parallel universes and, his centerpiece, time travel. Although occasionally facile, Kaku remains on solid theoretical ground up to the point of his untestable hypotheses, which lead to his more abstract arguments. In the past decade particle physics has lurched to astonishing contradictions and Kaku's adventurous, tantalizing book should not be penalized for promising more than present technology can test. His intellectual perceptions will thrill lay readers, SF fans and the physics-literate.
Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleporby Michio Kaku Year Published: ChallengingFrom Publishers Weekly Well-known physicist and author Kaku (Hyperspace) tells readers in this latest exploration of the far reaches of scientific speculation that another universe may be floating just a millimeter away on a "brane" (membrane) parallel to our own. We can't pop our heads in and have a look around because it exists in hyperspace, beyond our four dimensions. However, Kaku writes, scientists conjecture that branes—a creation of M theory, marketed as possibly the long-sought "theory of everything"—may eventually collide, annihilating each other. Such a collision may even have caused what we call the big bang. In his usual reader-friendly style, Kaku discusses the spooky objects conjured up from the equations of relativity and quantum physics: wormholes, black holes and the "white holes" on the other side; universes budding off from one another; and alternate quantum realities in which the 2004 elections turned out differently. As he delves into the past, present and possible future of this universe, Kaku will excite readers with his vision of realms that may exist just beyond the tip of our noses and, in what he admits is a highly speculative section, the possibilities our progeny may enjoy countless millennia from now; for instance, as this universe dies (in a "big freeze"), humans may be able to escape into other universes. B&w illus. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. From Scientific American In the end, as our universe is dying, will civilization be able to move to another universe? Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York, thinks the possibility of such a transition appears in "the emerging theory of the multiverse--a world made up of multiple universes, of which ours is but one." Our universe is now expanding. "If this antigravity force continues, the universe will ultimately die in a big freeze." That is a law of physics. "But it is also a law of evolution that when the environment changes, life must either leave, adapt, or die." Moving to another universe is one possibility cited by Kaku. Another is that civilization could build a "time warp" and travel back into its own past, to an era before the big freeze. A third is that "an entire civilization may inject its seed through a dimensional gateway and reestablish itself, in its full glory." Kaku is good at explaining the cosmological ideas--among them string theory, inflation, wormholes, space and time warps, and higher dimensions--that underpin his argument.
by Brian Greene Year Published: ChallengingAmazon.com Review There is an ill-concealed skeleton in the closet of physics: "As they are currently formulated, general relativity and quantum mechanics cannot both be right." Each is exceedingly accurate in its field: general relativity explains the behavior of the universe at large scales, while quantum mechanics describes the behavior of subatomic particles. Yet the theories collide horribly under extreme conditions such as black holes or times close to the big bang. Brian Greene, a specialist in quantum field theory, believes that the two pillars of physics can be reconciled in superstring theory, a theory of everything. Superstring theory has been called "a part of 21st-century physics that fell by chance into the 20th century." In other words, it isn't all worked out yet. Despite the uncertainties--"string theorists work to find approximate solutions to approximate equations"--Greene gives a tour of string theory solid enough to satisfy the scientifically literate. Though Ed Witten of the Institute for Advanced Study is in many ways the human hero of The Elegant Universe, it is not a human-side-of-physics story. Greene's focus throughout is the science, and he gives the nonspecialist at least an illusion of understanding--or the sense of knowing what it is that you don't know. And that is traditionally the first step on the road to knowledge.