The Trouble with Physics

  • by Lee Smolin
  • Narrated by Walter Dixon
  • 14 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In this illuminating book, the renowned theoretical physicist Lee Smolin argues that fundamental physics - the search for the laws of nature - is losing its way. Ambitious ideas about extra dimensions, exotic particles, multiple universes, and strings have captured the publics imagination - and the imagination of experts. But these ideas have not been tested experimentally, and some, like string theory, seem to offer no possibility of being tested. Yet these speculations dominate the field, attracting the best talent and much of the funding and creating a climate in which emerging physicists are often penalized for pursuing other avenues. As Smolin points out, the situation threatens to impede the very progress of science.
With clarity, passion, and authority, Smolin offers an unblinking assessment of the troubles that face modern physics - and an encouraging view of where the search for the next big idea may lead.

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What the Critics Say

"Courting controversy, Smolin is a reflective, self-confident challenger to pro-string physicist-authors Brian Greene, Leonard Susskind, and Michio Kaku." (Booklist)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Strings snipped

This book is a consideration of some current topics in Physics and Cosmology. It is the author's contention that resources being devoted to string theory are disproportionate to any returns received or envisioned. While some points made were well over my head, the book is not at all difficult to follow. It is clearly acceptable today to be agnostic on the string theory/multiverse. Science seems to have gone a long way out on that limb. The book is clearly and expertly read by Walter Dixon.
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- J B Tipton

The Trouble with Physics

Previous reviewer said everything needed to be said about this book very concisely and very accurately. The below review, however, is a bit of a critique:

This is a great book about new developments in physics. It goes over the Super String Theory and Loop Quantum Gravity sufficiently for the users to grasp their relative importance and their strengths and weaknesses (for standard model read Brian Greene’s excellent book "The Fabric of the Cosmos"). The second half of the book mostly deals with the politics of the academia, particularly, in physics departments. The author is disturbed by the internal politics of these so called institutions of science. He wants to change all that so it’s a more balanced atmosphere and helpful to the progress of physics as a science.

He’s observations are right on. The only issue is that he thinks he can, or worse, should do something about this. He is asking the prominent members of String Theory community who control most physics departments in distinguish universities to be more open to other post-doc researchers that are not working on String Theory. He believes String theory is in crisis, or perhaps, the entire science of physics is in crisis.

This is certainly overblown. Many times in the past in all fields of science, most notably medicine and physics, established scientists of the field have been protective of the accepted science of the day despite all the evidence to the contrary. The right science will ultimately prevail as it always has, but to expect that String theorist heavyweights such as Leonard Susskind embrace anything other than Super-String Theory is like to expect a father stop helping his own son get into college in favor of a stranger who appears to be smarter. This is their livelihoods after all. Yes, you may expect a few people do the right thing for a few years (assuming we can even say for sure what it is), but expecting everybody to act against their self-interest at all times is being naive at best.
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- Amazon Customer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-01-2010
  • Publisher: Audible Studios