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The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Designby Leonard Susskind
Synopses & Reviews
In his first book ever, the father of string theory reinvents our concept of the known universe and man's unique place within it.
The beginning of the 21st century is a watershed in modern science, a time that will forever change our understanding of the universe, Leonard Susskind contends.
Several decades ago, Susskind introduced the revolutionary concept of string theory to the world of physical science. In doing so, he inspired a generation of physicists who believed that the theory would uniquely predict the properties of our universe. Now, in his first book ever, Susskind argues that the very idea of such an "elegant theory" no longer suits our understanding of the universe, and that our narrow 20th-century view of a unique universe will have to give way to the much broader concept of a gigantic cosmic landscape — a megaverse, pregnant with new possibilities.
"As modern physics has developed a better understanding of how the universe operates at its most fundamental levels, one thing has become increasingly clear: we're damned lucky to be here at all. The laws of physics are precariously balanced, and were the value of one constant slightly different, life as we know it wouldn't exist. To explain the ridiculous improbability of it all, some physicists have turned to the 'Anthropic Principle': the universe seems perfectly tailored to us because if it weren't, we wouldn't be here to observe it. The underlying rationale for this argument involves the 'landscape' of potential laws of physics (which, it turns out, aren't so immutable after all), a whole bunch of extra dimensions and lots of particle physics. Luckily, Susskind — the father of string theory — does the job right, guiding readers through the current controversy over the Anthropic Principle. Make no mistake: this is the cutting edge of physics as described by one of the sharpest scientific minds around. While the subtitle is a bit misleading (this isn't about intelligent design in the Kansas Board of Education sense, but actually a controversy at once bigger and less prominent), persistent readers will finish this book understanding and caring about contemporary physics in ways both unexpected and gratifying." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"In this extraordinary work, Susskind ushers us to the mind-bending edge of a possible paradigm shift." Booklist
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