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Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensionsby Lisa Randall
Synopses & Reviews
The universe has its secrets. It may even hide extra dimensions, different from anything ever imagined. A whole raft of remarkable conceptsnow rides atop the scientific firmament, including parallel universes, warped geometry, and threedimensional sink-holes. We understand far more about the world than we did just a few short years ago — and yet we are more uncertain about the true nature of the universe than ever before. Have wereached a point of scientific discovery so advanced that the laws of physics as we know them are simply not sufficient? Will we all soon have to acceptexplanations that previously remained in the realm of science fiction?
Lisa Randall is herself making these extraordinary breakthroughs, pushing back the boundaries of science in her research to answer some of the most fundamental questions posed by Nature. For example, why is the gravitational field from the entire Earth so defenseless against the small tug of a tiny magnet? Searching for answers to such seemingly irresolvable questions has led physicists to postulate extra dimensions, the presence of which may lead to unimaginable gains in scientific understanding. Randall takes us into the incredible world of warped, hidden dimensions that underpin the universe we live in, describing how we might prove their existence, while examining the questions that they still leave unanswered.
Warped Passages provides an exhilarating overview that tracks the arc of discovery from early twentieth-century physics to the razor's edge of today's particle physics and string theory, unweaving the current debates about relativity, quantum mechanics, and gravity. In a highly readable style sure to entertain and elucidate, Lisa Randall demystifies the science and beguilingly unravels the mysteries of the myriad worlds that may exist just beyond the one we are only now beginning to know.
"The concept of additional spatial dimensions is as far from intuitive as any idea can be. Indeed, although Harvard physicist Randall does a very nice job of explaining — often deftly through the use of creative analogies — how our universe may have many unseen dimensions, readers' heads are likely to be swimming by the end of the book. Randall works hard to make her astoundingly complex material understandable, providing a great deal of background for recent advances in string and supersymmetry theory. As coauthor of the two most important scientific papers on this topic, she's ideally suited to popularize the idea. What is absolutely clear is that physicists simply do not yet know if there are extra dimensions a fraction of a millimeter in size, dimensions of infinite size or only the dimensions we see. What's also clear is that the large hadron collider, the world's most powerful tool for studying subatomic particles, is likely to provide information permitting scientists to differentiate among these ideas soon after it begins operation in Switzerland in 2007. Randall brings much of the excitement of her field to life as she describes her quest to understand the structure of the universe. B&w illus. Agent, John Brockman. (Sept. 1)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
A leading theoretical physicist working on particle physics, string theory, and cosmology, Randall tries to share her excitement about the field without simplifying it or presenting it as a collection of finished achievements to be passively admired. She traces the development of the field through the 20th century as a foundation for her central discussion of proposals for extra-dimensional universes.
Annotation ©2005 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Book News Annotation:
A leading theoretical physicist working on particle physics, string theory, and cosmology, Randall tries to share her excitement about the field without simplifying it or presenting it as a collection of finished achievements to be passively admired. She traces the development of the field through the 20th century as a foundation for her central discussion of proposals for extra-dimensional universes. Annotation Â©2005 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
Lisa Randall is an expert on particle physics, string theory, and cosmology. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a winner of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship, she has been a tenured professor at Princeton, MIT, and Harvard, and she is one of the most highly cited physicists in her field. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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