The Great Beyond: Higher Dimensions, Parallel Universes and the Extraordinary Search for a Theory of Everything

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9780471465959: The Great Beyond: Higher Dimensions, Parallel Universes and the Extraordinary Search for a Theory of Everything

The concept of multiple unperceived dimensions in the universe is one of the hottest topics in contemporary physics. It is essential to current attempts to explain gravity and the underlying structure of the universe. The Great Beyond begins with Einstein’s famous quarrel with Heisenberg and Bohr, whose theories of uncertainty threatened the order Einstein believed was essential to the universe, and it was his rejection of uncertainty that drove him to ponder the existence of a fifth dimension. Beginning with this famous disagreement and culminating with an explanation of the newest "brane" approach, author Paul Halpern shows how current debates about the nature of reality began as age-old controversies, and addresses how the possibility of higher dimensions has influenced culture over the past one hundred years.

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From the Author:

What strange new realms lie just beyond ordinary space and time? Could there be parallel universes, separated from us by the thinnest curtain, penetrable only by the invisible pull of gravity? Could the existence of higher dimensions unite all the forces of nature into a grand Theory of Everything?

Many decades ago, Albert Einstein, Theodor Kaluza, Oskar Klein and other scientists dreamt of unification by means of unseen hyperspace connections. Their visions persisted throughout the horrors of the Second World War, when their desire for unity clashed with the utter chaos around them. Young researchers escaping Europe joined Einstein in his plan and worked beside him as he ceaselessly modified his ideas. Even from his deathbed, Einstein asked for pencil and paper in a vain attempt to complete his scheme.

In recent years, Einstein’s dream has been brilliantly revived through string theory, supergravity, M-theory, brane worlds and other unified models. Scientists are now grappling with the possibility that the universe has as many as 11 dimensions. They are designing clever experiments with the hope of discovering hidden portals to neighboring domains. Join the bold quest to explore higher dimensions, parallel worlds and the ultimate theory of the cosmos.

From the Inside Flap:

It is among the most elegant, radical, and tantalizing theories ever to be fashioned by the keen lathe of mathematical insight. For the better part of two centuries, the notion of higher dimensions beyond space and time has fueled the imaginations of scientists, writers, occultists, and more than a few con artists.

By turns triumphed, mocked, and misinterpreted, the concept of unseen directions outside the range of our senses may now present the only path toward unifying all of the forces of nature into a single cohesive expression: a theory of everything. The best way to understand the substance and impact of this mind-bending idea is to start from the beginning.

In The Great Beyond, the award-winning physicist, mathematician, and author Paul Halpern presents a comprehensive history of the foundations and development of this unfathomable yet irresistible construct. He traces the influence of multidimensional theory on science and society, profiling dozens of brilliant, idiosyncratic thinkers whose labors and insights have advanced, expanded, and popularized the theory. Readers will meet the mathematician who believed that geometry could explain the entire universe, the headmaster who imagined life in two dimensions, and the two theorists who independently discovered the "miracle" that forms the foundation of all modern multidimensional concepts.

At the core of this fascinating tale is Einstein’s famous quarrel with Heisenberg and Bohr, whose theories of uncertainty threatened the order that Einstein believed was essential to the universe. Halpern explains how this discrepancy between these two well-established theories drove Einstein to ponder the existence of a fifth dimension, and how his attempts to devise a unified field theory have influenced modern efforts, including M theory and the brane approach.

The Great Beyond will delight and astonish readers seeking a deeper appreciation of the most profound and controversial questions that confront modern science.

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Halpern, Paul
Editore: Wiley (2004)
ISBN 10: 047146595X ISBN 13: 9780471465959
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