“In science, there are no universal truths, just views of the world that have yet to be shown false.” (From the Preface)
This is a great science book, most of which I actually understood. Everyone should have some sense of why Einstein’s formula works, and what it tells us about how the universe actually works. I felt like I should know, so I picked up this 2009 book.
Basically, the geometry of the universe is not Euclidean — meaning the geometry we all learned in public school that exists in a world of parallel lines that never intersect. It turns out the universe is a fed in which time and space are wedded together as they stretch, bend and do the things they do, and this well-written book sets out to tell you how we figured that out.
This involves a good deal of math, which is, frankly, about as easy for my brain to process as a brick would be to my gastrointestinal tract. Fortunately, one need not be able to work out all the sums describe in the book in order to grasp the larger concepts (but the mathematical formulas are explained and the reader is encouraged to work them out for him or herself).
The authors offer encouragement along the way, recognizing that:
“Perhaps we should not be too surprised that nature sometimes appears counterintuitive to a tribe of observant, carbon-based ape descendants roaming around on the surface of a rocky world orbiting an unremarkable middle-aged star at the outer edge of the Milky Way galaxy.” (Page 10)
In light of the recent announcement from NASA that they have now measured the distortions in the fabric of space by the mass of the earth that Einstein’s formula predicted, it might be good time to read this book if, like me, it’s an area of ignorance for you, too.
I would try to describe more of what this book explains, but, hey, if I could do that, I wouldn’t have needed to read this book!
It’s a fun read, really. The authors are consistently engaging without being condescending, and impart a real sense of enthrallment with the universe they set out to explain.
I recommend this book.