Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Book Review on Parallel Universe's

Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars Parallel Universes are Interesting but...........January 20, 2014
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos (Paperback)
I enjoy reading about parallel and multiverses that come about from some areas in current theoretical research in fundamental physics. I selected this book of the many on the topic of parallel universes since it was written by Brian Greene who is a string theorist and is working on a variety of these topics. He is a person truly gifted with explaining complex topics in physics in ways that make them easier to understand. I have enjoyed his book "The Elegant Universe" on string/M-theory along with the NOVA series DVD's on this book. I also enjoyed his NOVA series DVD's based on his second book "The Fabric of the Cosmos". With this in mind I read The Hidden Reality Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos. Greene in this book lays out and explains nine different versions of parallel universes. The deep laws are those of quantum mechanics and general relativity. Some physicists would say that string/M-theory which he describes are not deep laws. The explanations of all subjects are as expected clear and supported with an excellent notes section in the back. If you want to learn about parallel universes and the ideas that they come from this is an excellent book to read. That's why the book gets a four star rating.

The subtitle says the Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos. All nine of the parallel universes are based on speculative physics. Some much more speculative than others.That these theories are speculative he admits throughout the book for which he deserves credit. However, in reading this book I got the feeling that this book was the long version of a grant proposal submitted to be funded. This comes about in the numerous places in which he says much has been done but give us more time to work on these ideas. Part of the reason is that some of the parallel universes he describe depend upon string/M-theory which is a controversial topic in physics. This is because in the 30-40 years of its existence, string/M-theories have yet to make any unique predictions that have been observed experimentally in support of these theories. The theory so far is not even falsifiable. Lee Smolin addresses these concerns in his book "Trouble with Physics" as does Peter Woit in his book "Not Even Wrong". The same criticism is also true for the multiverses that come from inflationary. cosmology. However, there are a large number of sharp physicists working in these areas so it is unclear what the future holds. Parallel universe's from Hugh Everett's thesis work on the interpretation of quantum mechanics, now known as the many worlds interpretation is another area of current research in physics and philosophy. This work is based on the measurement problem in quantum mechanics. Greene suggests an experiment in the notes to test this theory, but it is unclear if this has been clearly thought out and if this experiment is even possible.

The discussion on computer simulated universes is interesting. It describes a universe similar to that in the movie "The Thirteenth Floor". While not a parallel universe in ways that physics suggests a simulated universe would make the ultimate computer game. A virtual reality that could absorb the programmers life into the simulation. Almost the ultimate drug. Live life to its fullest would have an additional impetus if you live in a simulated universe so that the creator of the simulation would not get bored with you and stop the simulation. However, since you can't prove that you are living in a simulated universe, do you need to live a life to satisfy the simulator? Interesting.

The final chapter entitled "The Limits of Inquiry Multiverses and the Future" is well written and makes an interesting conclusion to the book.


  1. Interesting thoughts. Good review on Parallel Universes. I wonder if you you have read that new book that talks about the implications of quantum computers on computer simulated realties (i.e., “On Computer Simulated Universes”)? Anyway, all of this is fascinating to think about!

  2. I haven't read any books on quantum computers and their uses in simulations. Yes it is fascinating and fun to think about parallel universes. I also have Tagmark's new book "Our Mathematical Universe" and I look forward to reading it

  3. Nice review on P.U. And I agree. Both Tagmark's book and Solomon's book are interesting reads but they are very different from one another in approach (mathematical versus philosophical).