The universe has many secrets. It may hide additional dimensions of space other than the familier three we recognize. There might even be another universe adjacent to ours, invisible and unattainable . . . for now.

Warped Passages is a brilliantly readable and altogether exhilarating journey that tracks the arc of discovery from early twentieth-century physics to the razor's edge of modern scientific theory. One of the world's leading theoretical physicists, Lisa Randall provides astonishing scientific possibilities that, until recently, were restricted to the realm of science fiction. Unraveling the twisted threads of the most current debates on relativity, quantum mechanics, and gravity, she explores some of the most fundamental questions posed by Nature—taking us into the warped, hidden dimensions underpinning the universe we live in, demystifying the science of the myriad worlds that may exist just beyond our own.

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061981234
List price: $1.99
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This is a beautifully written account of complex scientific ideas. The book covers extra spatial dimensions – how they might come about and what consequences they would have. Most features are ably explained by using an analogy. Thus as the provider of a popular account of recent speculations, this book fares very well. Yet there is also a political undercurrent to slightly unnerve. For instance she neatly sidesteps controversies by simply expressing her opinion. So she opines that string theory is the ‘best’ of current suggestions for a more fundamental theory. Thus she misses opportunities to give more convincing reasons for the studies. For work that has drifted so far from the mainstream and piled up speculation on top of speculation that larger justification would have given the book more meaning.more
Good overview of some recent developments in string theory, but some muddled explanations made this a slog. I skipped to the end of the chapters and read the bullet points too often.more
A great general-audience book on modern physics—string theory, particle physics, relativity, etc. While informative and well-written, Dr. Randall at times takes simplifying analogies too far, such that the reader is left wanting a more in-depth explanation of the science itself. Having said that, I feel like this book has prepared me to tackle Briane Greene's works, and I would recommend it for anyone looking for a good introduction to this subject matter.more
I couldn't finish the book, so I took her suggestion and finished up the last hundred pages or so by reading the main bullet points at the end of every chapter. I found this book to be long-winded at times, but nothing against her, as I'm sure that she's a brilliant physicist. I just found her writing style to be too light and all over the place (granted, it is a difficult topic to write about to the lay person). She seemed awfully upbeat about the promise of string theory, barely acknowledging the fact that it's nearly impossible (if not so) to test any of these theories out. Physics at this level is nothing but advanced mathematics, yet she barely admits this fact. Had this book proposed to talk about the mathematics rather than the "physics" of string theory, I would have been able to digest this book easier. Physics at this level is nothing but mental masturbation.I have done a fair amount of reading on this material, and while it is good at explaining the extra dimensions, I would point readers to other books if they want a good introduction and history to the science leading up to string theory (Brian Greene and Michu Kaku come to mind). Sorry, but I just couldn't get into this book, and I really wanted too...more
Absolutely wonderful book. Lisa manages to describe without maths what is behind current theories in physics and the workings of the fundamental particles of all matter. She actually makes the unfolding mysteries of quarks and leptons fascinating reading, describing the paths that research has taken in the last 50 years or so and what is left to find out. You won't remember much of the details but what you will get is a general understanding of what they are looking for and how they do it.more
This is not an easy book to read. What's easy about quantum mechanics? To my own astonishment, however, Lisa Randall took me from basic physics to the esoteric theories of warp geometry, string theory and added dimensions in a way that I could understand and actually remember. She uses examples from our daily lives in an imaginative and fun way to make the readers understand some extraordinarily difficult concepts and take us along the road of discovery and, of course, speculation.This book has nothing to do with Star Trek or Star Wars but I found it just as fascinating.more
Hard to read but quite enlightening with a lot of redundant passages. Style and short stories at the beginning of each chapter rather dull. Nevertheless recommendable for everyone who wants to broaden his horizons (in the truest sense of the word).more
A fascinating look at where the world of outré physics is going. Moderately-hard slogging, but probably worth it, although I do find myself with a question or two. I didn't finish it because it had to go back to the library--I'll have to re-borrow it sometime.more
The absolute best description of a multi-dimensional universe I've ever read for someone without the necessary background to understand anything more than a rare, rough, abstraction of the mathematics involved. Which, sadly, is me. But less sad for the existence of this book.more
Fascinating, but really hard to get through for a non-science person. She does her level best though.more
Lisa Randall does an excellent job of making complex ideas understandable to nonspecialists. She explains new ideas about the dimensionality of spacetime and along the way the reader gets to discover the underlying component parts of the universe. To one interested in God, theology and religion, this book is especially fascinating. Creation is truly extraordinary (and that's what I'd expect from an extraordinary God).more
Read all 14 reviews

Reviews

This is a beautifully written account of complex scientific ideas. The book covers extra spatial dimensions – how they might come about and what consequences they would have. Most features are ably explained by using an analogy. Thus as the provider of a popular account of recent speculations, this book fares very well. Yet there is also a political undercurrent to slightly unnerve. For instance she neatly sidesteps controversies by simply expressing her opinion. So she opines that string theory is the ‘best’ of current suggestions for a more fundamental theory. Thus she misses opportunities to give more convincing reasons for the studies. For work that has drifted so far from the mainstream and piled up speculation on top of speculation that larger justification would have given the book more meaning.more
Good overview of some recent developments in string theory, but some muddled explanations made this a slog. I skipped to the end of the chapters and read the bullet points too often.more
A great general-audience book on modern physics—string theory, particle physics, relativity, etc. While informative and well-written, Dr. Randall at times takes simplifying analogies too far, such that the reader is left wanting a more in-depth explanation of the science itself. Having said that, I feel like this book has prepared me to tackle Briane Greene's works, and I would recommend it for anyone looking for a good introduction to this subject matter.more
I couldn't finish the book, so I took her suggestion and finished up the last hundred pages or so by reading the main bullet points at the end of every chapter. I found this book to be long-winded at times, but nothing against her, as I'm sure that she's a brilliant physicist. I just found her writing style to be too light and all over the place (granted, it is a difficult topic to write about to the lay person). She seemed awfully upbeat about the promise of string theory, barely acknowledging the fact that it's nearly impossible (if not so) to test any of these theories out. Physics at this level is nothing but advanced mathematics, yet she barely admits this fact. Had this book proposed to talk about the mathematics rather than the "physics" of string theory, I would have been able to digest this book easier. Physics at this level is nothing but mental masturbation.I have done a fair amount of reading on this material, and while it is good at explaining the extra dimensions, I would point readers to other books if they want a good introduction and history to the science leading up to string theory (Brian Greene and Michu Kaku come to mind). Sorry, but I just couldn't get into this book, and I really wanted too...more
Absolutely wonderful book. Lisa manages to describe without maths what is behind current theories in physics and the workings of the fundamental particles of all matter. She actually makes the unfolding mysteries of quarks and leptons fascinating reading, describing the paths that research has taken in the last 50 years or so and what is left to find out. You won't remember much of the details but what you will get is a general understanding of what they are looking for and how they do it.more
This is not an easy book to read. What's easy about quantum mechanics? To my own astonishment, however, Lisa Randall took me from basic physics to the esoteric theories of warp geometry, string theory and added dimensions in a way that I could understand and actually remember. She uses examples from our daily lives in an imaginative and fun way to make the readers understand some extraordinarily difficult concepts and take us along the road of discovery and, of course, speculation.This book has nothing to do with Star Trek or Star Wars but I found it just as fascinating.more
Hard to read but quite enlightening with a lot of redundant passages. Style and short stories at the beginning of each chapter rather dull. Nevertheless recommendable for everyone who wants to broaden his horizons (in the truest sense of the word).more
A fascinating look at where the world of outré physics is going. Moderately-hard slogging, but probably worth it, although I do find myself with a question or two. I didn't finish it because it had to go back to the library--I'll have to re-borrow it sometime.more
The absolute best description of a multi-dimensional universe I've ever read for someone without the necessary background to understand anything more than a rare, rough, abstraction of the mathematics involved. Which, sadly, is me. But less sad for the existence of this book.more
Fascinating, but really hard to get through for a non-science person. She does her level best though.more
Lisa Randall does an excellent job of making complex ideas understandable to nonspecialists. She explains new ideas about the dimensionality of spacetime and along the way the reader gets to discover the underlying component parts of the universe. To one interested in God, theology and religion, this book is especially fascinating. Creation is truly extraordinary (and that's what I'd expect from an extraordinary God).more
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