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The Elegant Universe (Nova DVD)

  1. Apr 25, 2005 #1
    What do you guys think about this (for those who have seen it)?

    Is it fairly accurate, easy to understand (but not too simple)?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 25, 2005 #2
    I’ve read the book, or tried to on occasion. On Intuitive level it seems that there must be something to it. but I’m having a hard time understanding it on an intellectual level.

    The pbs special just confused me even more. Brian Greene kept saying the same thing over and over, but never really went any where.
    I was all set for some special insight into quantum mechanics but instead, I ended up more confused than enlightened. :confused:
  4. Apr 26, 2005 #3
    I personally think its an extremely watered down version of the book, to gain the interest of the general public who don't understand the maths behind it.

    Note that even the book, at the first place, is quite watered down version of the string theory. so therefore the program would be a watered-watered down version of the string theory. (or M-theory theory or just both.. :wink: )

    I personally think that the program is not very.. informative. It gets a bit confusing with all the graphic pictures.
  5. Apr 26, 2005 #4
    i'll have to try the book instead then, would you reccomend any other books on string theory?
  6. Apr 26, 2005 #5
    FYI- You can watch the entire 3 hour documentary online (it's free) at the Nova website. They also have some good reading information and pictures. ;)


    Click "Watch the Program" on the right hand side.

  7. Apr 26, 2005 #6


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    I saw this after reading the book and was disappointed. It is way too simple. It does little more than touch on the concepts.

    The book OTOH is fantastic. It is not math-oriented, which is good, because even though I'm good at math, QM math is way over my head. But the book does an incredible job of getting across the concepts in a graspable way.

    That is not to say it is an easy read, or that getting these concepts is a piece of cake. Anyone venturing into this area is going to have to accept a lot of brain-bending - that's not the book's fault. The subject is simply to complex and too far from our day-to-day experience to fit into a single or a few sittings. It's an education. That's why it's got to be in book form.

    It took me two reads to really get the concepts, but I have finally FINALLY begun to understand the bigger pictures like entanglement, string theory and even multiple dimensions. Greene's book was the only one that has ever explained multiple dimensions in a way that I really *got*.
  8. Apr 26, 2005 #7
    thanks for the opinions, i just grabbed the dvd from the library (since it was available), but i'll have to get the book too. has anyone read Brian Greene's new book (from 2004)?
  9. Apr 27, 2005 #8


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    I am half way through it.
  10. May 15, 2005 #9
    I liked the show (watched it all online) and it taught me a couple of new things. I am reading The Fabric Of The Universe right now and it is a great book.
  11. May 22, 2005 #10
    I have seen the PBS show online, I did enjoy it very much and I just got the book. However, I study molecular biology and when I see shows on the subject I do see very simplified models of the way things work and I also see new and clever ways of explaining it. So with that in mind, I would like to ask someone who has studied string theory, whether the book or show taught them anything that they had missed during their study of the subject or whether it just skipped over the concepts that are difficult to describe with some nonsensical analogy. Thanks.
  12. May 24, 2005 #11
    Dave: I suppose you were talking about "The Fabric of the Cosmos". I've read it, it's a good read I recommend it.
  13. May 24, 2005 #12
    I have both of them, and have just started the Elegant Universe. the dvd was good, although a little repetitive.
  14. May 24, 2005 #13
    I had the pleasure of seeing the show when it aired on NOVA and thought it was generally good for people who have never heard much about the subject, although it really could have been better. It was repetitive at times.

    The Elegant Universe was a fantastic book that I read a couple years ago and had a fun, challenging time trying to read while still in eighth grade (I'm in tenth now). The books goes in-depth into the details entailing string theory, its history, and its potential prospects without the reader having to worry about the highly complicated mathematics behind the theory. Brian Greene does well to help the reader along by giving well thought-out explanations, examples, and revisions. I found it to be a great book and recommend it to anyone interested in the field of theoretical physics.

    Although I purchased The Fabric of the Cosmos, I haven't yet read it, but have heard that it is easier to read and comprehend than how The Elegant Universe was presented.

    I also highly recommend all books by string physicist, Michio Kaku, including Parallel Worlds, Hyperspace, and Visions, among others.
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