• Our Mathematical Universe

  • My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality
  • By: Max Tegmark
  • Narrated by: Rob Shapiro
  • Length: 15 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 01-07-14
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Random House Audio
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 (1,408 ratings)

Regular price: $35.00

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Publisher's Summary

Max Tegmark leads us on an astonishing journey through past, present and future, and through the physics, astronomy, and mathematics that are the foundation of his work, most particularly his hypothesis that our physical reality is a mathematical structure and his theory of the ultimate multiverse. In a dazzling combination of both popular and groundbreaking science, he not only helps us grasp his often mind-boggling theories, but he also shares with us some of the often surprising triumphs and disappointments that have shaped his life as a scientist. Fascinating from first to last - this is a book that has already prompted the attention and admiration of some of the most prominent scientists and mathematicians.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2014 Max Tegmark (P)2013 Random House Audio
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Critic Reviews

“Tegmark offers a fascinating exploration of multiverse theories, each one offering new ways to explain ‘quantum weirdness’ and other mysteries that have plagued physicists, culminating in the idea that our physical world is ‘a giant mathematical object’ shaped by geometry and symmetry. Tegmark’s writing is lucid, enthusiastic, and outright entertaining, a thoroughly accessible discussion leavened with anecdotes and the pure joy of a scientist at work.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Lively and lucid, the narrative invites general readers into debates over computer models for brain function, over scientific explanations of consciousness, and over prospects for finding advanced life in other galaxies. Though he reflects soberly on the perils of nuclear war and of hostile artificial intelligence, Tegmark concludes with a bracingly upbeat call for scientifically minded activists who recognize a rare opportunity to make our special planet a force for cosmic progress. An exhilarating adventure for bold readers.” —Bryce Cristensen, Booklist (starred review)

“Our Mathematical Universe boldly confronts one of the deepest questions at the fertile interface of physics and philosophy: why is mathematics so spectacularly successful at describing the cosmos? Through lively writing and wonderfully accessible explanations, Max Tegmark—one of the world’s leading theoretical physicists—guides the reader to a possible answer, and reveals how, if it’s right, our understanding of reality itself would be radically altered.” —Brian Greene, physicist, author of  The Elegant Universe and  The Hidden Reality

“Daring, Radical. Innovative. A game changer. If Dr. Tegmark is correct, this represents a paradigm shift in the relationship between physics and mathematics, forcing us to rewrite our textbooks. A must read for anyone deeply concerned about our universe.” —Michio Kaku, author of  Physics of the Future 

“Tegmark offers a fresh and fascinating perspective on the fabric of physical reality and life itself. He helps us see ourselves in a cosmic context that highlights the grand opportunities for the future of life in our universe.” —Ray Kurzweil, author of  The Singularity is Near

“Readers of varied backgrounds will enjoy this book. Almost anyone will find something to learn here, much to ponder, and perhaps something to disagree with.” —Prof. Edward Witten, physicist, Fields Medalist & Milner Laureate

“This inspirational book written by a true expert presents an explosive mixture of physics, mathematics and philosophy which may alter your views on reality.” —Prof. Andrei Linde, physicist, Gruber & Milner Laureate for development of inflationary cosmology
“Galileo famously said that the universe is written in the language of mathematics. Now Max Tegmark says that the universe IS mathematics. You don’t have to necessarily agree, to enjoy this fascinating journey into the nature of reality.” —Prof. Mario Livio, astrophysicist, author of Brilliant Blunders and Is God a Mathematician?

“Scientists and lay aficionados alike will find Tegmark’s book packed with information and very thought provoking. You may recoil from his thesis, but nearly every page will make you wish you could debate the issues face-to-face with him.” —Prof. Julian Barbour, physicist, author of  The End of Time

“In Our Mathematical Universe, renowned cosmologist Max Tegmark takes us on a whirlwind tour of the universe, past, present—and other.  With lucid language and clear examples, Tegmark provides us with the master measure of not only of our cosmos, but of all possible universes.  The universe may be lonely, but it is not alone.” —Prof. Seth Lloyd, Professor of quantum mechanical engineering, MIT, author of Programming the Universe
“A lucid, engaging account of the various many-universes theories of fundamental physics that are currently being considered, from the multiverse of quantum theory to Tegmark’s own grand vision.” —Prof. David Deutsch, physicist, Dirac Laureate for pioneering quantum computing
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Michael on 02-02-14


Great ideas and great narration makes this a great audio book. The last quarter of this book has some of the most interesting ideas in physics I have heard. I think these ideas are, by far, the most likely to lead to progress in physics. The first three-quarters is good, but is just a nice rehash similar to a bunch of other speculative physics books covering a brief history of cosmology leading to the theory of inflation and various levels of multiple universes, Boltzmann brains and such, finally culminating in the Measure Problem (one cannot assign consistent probabilities to infinite sets). Then the book gets really interesting! The author proposes that math does not model the universe, but that math IS the universe. The relations defined by a mathematical structure is all that is needed for us to believe all we see and feel is real. Nothing physical is needed. I really thought I was alone in being a strong proponent of this Mathematical Universe idea, so I have quite pleasantly surprised to find this excellent presentation. I was led to my conclusions by a much different path (Bell’s Theorem & Bell Test Experiments) and take these ideas to even greater extremes than Tegmark, but this is the best (the only?) popular presentations of these ideas I have seen.

It may just be awkward editing or just these ideas are heady stuff, but by the end of the book Tegmark seems a bit schizophrenic. He seems to reject continuums and infinities and randomness as unreal (which is what I think), but then he continues to refer to, and use, these as if they were real. Also a good new model in fundamental physics should address multiple issues in physics, but Tegmark does not use his ideas of the Mathematical Universe to clarify the understanding of quantum mechanics (particularly Bell’s Theorem) and the problem linking General Relativity and Quantum mechanics. I think Tegmark underestimated the depth of the Measure Problem. The underlying problem is in any reality, it is simply not possible to take a random sample from an infinite set. Thus any assignment of probability to such constructs is nonsense. Tegmark seems to still be hoping for a resolution of the Measure Problem.

The author has a really pleasant way of covering the history of cosmology, making the story like a mystery novel, using detective work to explain one mystery after another. Yet what makes this book really worth reading is the last quarter where the ideas about the Mathematical Universe are explored. I suspect that in a few hundred years the conception of the Mathematical Universe will be considered the great turning point leading to a final, simple and beautiful, Theory of Everything.

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43 of 44 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Duncan on 01-09-14

An interesting and thought provoking hypothesis.

Max Tegmark does a great job of explaining complex physics and mathematical concepts in simple language. Anyone who finds this kind of subject matter interesting will appreciate his hypothesis. Rob Shapiro narrated the book superbly.

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18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Simon Gibson on 03-30-14

Test Your Little Grey Cells

What made the experience of listening to Our Mathematical Universe the most enjoyable?

The first half of the book gives you a history of cosmology and its associated mathematics. The second half is Max Tegmark's theory of the Big Bang and what came after.

What did you like best about this story?

A very clear explanation of the theorys of the cosmos and the problems of interpreting what is observed and calculated.

What does Rob Shapiro bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Rob Shapiro, the voice actor, gives a very well paced and clear performance of the text.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Max Tegmark can be profound, humourus and very honest.

Any additional comments?

A great book that furthers the understanding of the origin and future of our cosmos.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By G on 03-21-14

An entertaining explanation of fascinating ideas.

Any additional comments?

I've been troubled by super positioning, boson fields and the time space continuum for quite a while now. Max Tegmark describes all of this eloquently and explains his thoughts on matters that I had not yet considered. During the read I experienced very brief moments of absolute clarity. So much so that I was able to expand some of the hypothesis into unchartered dimensions with my own original concepts. Of course I have forgotten all of them now, but the thought that I might be a Boltzmann brain remains disturbing. Top marks for Rob Shapiro the narrator as well. I will certainly revisit all 15 hours of this book again.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Gordon on 08-02-16

Stunning analysis from the biggest perspective

On this listen journey I truly loved hearing of the author's brilliant understandingly of the extent of our observable universe thanks to his work on the mapping of the plasma sphere. Indeed the Planck map of the observable universe that adorns the cover of the book is now the background picture to my laptop. It is a great way to discuss the content of the book with my family and friends who all state at the screen in wonder after I explain what it represents. For those who are not already familiar with the Planck map of the universe, the knowledge imparted in this book is incredibly worthwhile for that reason alone.

I could only follow or buy into ~50% of the author's theories on the Multiverse/MUH. That being said - I could appreciate the significant and caring approach to his analysis.

I loved the ending as it seemed to tie in all the vastness of the universe with the honest assessment of the author's own reason for being - and similarly why we should really care about the brilliant analysis that he has clearly work so hard to share with us.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Jason on 02-17-16

Great Narrator

Best narrator for nonfiction science I have ever heard.
Really great content as well from Tegmark.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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