"Parallel Worlds" by Michio Kaku

Tell us about some books you really enjoyed reading.

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Paddy Casey
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"Parallel Worlds" by Michio Kaku

Post by Paddy Casey » Tue Jun 10, 2008 11:59 am

I don't know whether I can say I "enjoyed" this book as I would relax over a good novel, for example, but together with the book "The Big Bang" by Simon Singh it has quite changed the way I perceive the world I live in. It has unhinged my understanding of "reality" and given additional meaning to phrase "For now we see through a glass, darkly...." (First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians (Bible, 1 Corinthians 13, verse 11). It also brought the Elephant parable* to mind in that it shows clearly how misleading our perceptions of our world can be.

The book is not science fiction but a kind of scientific journey into the mysteries of our cosmos. The author takes one on a dizzying ride to explore black holes and time machines, multidimensional space and, most tantalizing of all, the possibility that parallel universes may lie alongside our own. He presents many of the leading theories in physics; from Newtonian physics to Relativity to Quantum Physics to String theory and even into the newest version of string theory, called M-theory, just to name a few. He makes available to the reader a comprehensive description of many of the more compelling theories in physics, including many interesting predictions each theory makes, what physicists, astronomers, and cosmologists are looking for now and what technology they are using in their search.

"Parallel Worlds" requires concentration to understand the concepts it summarises but the effort is very worthwhile. As I say, you end up looking at your world in a very different - and more questioning - way. It also makes one realise that all the arguments about the way we and our universe came to be (intelligent design, evolution, Creation, etc.) are probably meaningless because they are probably nothing other than differing views of the same process.


* Four blind men are introduced to an elephant for the first time. The first palpates its trunk and announces that an elephant
is shaped like an undulating tube around 6 inches in diameter. The second blind man palpates its leg and contradicts the first, stating emphatically that an elephant is shaped like a tree trunk and is immobile. The third slaps the flank of the elephant and contradicts the other two vehemently, saying that an elephant is like a wall which moves slowly back and forth. The fourth palpates the ear and proclaims loudly that the elephant is shaped like a large, thick leaf. Each insists that his version is the correct one and the argument becomes very heated and ends in a brawl. The moral of the story is that there may be several ways of perceiving the same object and one should be very careful not to assume that one is the sole possessor of the whole truth in a dispute.

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