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String Theory For Dummies

ISBN: 978-0-470-46724-4
384 pages
November 2009
String Theory For Dummies (047046724X) cover image


A clear, plain-English guide to this complex scientific theory

String theory is the hottest topic in physics right now, with books on the subject (pro and con) flying out of the stores. String Theory For Dummies offers an accessible introduction to this highly mathematical "theory of everything," which posits ten or more dimensions in an attempt to explain the basic nature of matter and energy. Written for both students and people interested in science, this guide explains concepts, discusses the string theory's hypotheses and predictions, and presents the math in an approachable manner. It features in-depth examples and an easy-to-understand style so that readers can understand this controversial, cutting-edge theory.

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Table of Contents


Part I: Introducing String Theory.

Chapter 1: So What Is String Theory Anyway?

Chapter 2: The Physics Road Dead Ends at Quantum Gravity.

Chapter 3: Accomplishments and Failures of String Theory.

Part II: The Physics Upon Which String Theory Is Built.

Chapter 4: Putting String Theory in Context: Understanding the Method of Science.

Chapter 5: What You Must Know about Classical Physics.

Chapter 6: Revolutionizing Space and Time: Einstein’s Relativity.

Chapter 7: Brushing Up on Quantum Theory Basics.

Chapter 8: The Standard Model of Particle Physics.

Chapter 9: Physics in Space: Considering Cosmology and Astrophysics.

Part III: Building String Theory: A Theory of Everything.

Chapter 10: Early Strings and Superstrings: Unearthing the Theory’s Beginnings.

Chapter 11: M-Theory and Beyond: Bringing String Theory Together.

Chapter 12: Putting String Theory to the Test.

Part IV: The Unseen Cosmos: String Theory On the Boundaries of Knowledge.

Chapter 13: Making Space for Extra Dimensions.

Chapter 14: Our Universe — String Theory, Cosmology, and Astrophysics.

Chapter 15: Parallel Universes: Maybe You Can Be Two Places at Once.

Chapter 16: Have Time, Will Travel.

Part V: What the Other Guys Say: Criticisms and Alternatives.

Chapter 17: Taking a Closer Look at the String Theory Controversy.

Chapter 18: Loop Quantum Gravity: String Theory’s Biggest Competitor.

Chapter 19: Considering Other Ways to Explain the Universe.

Part VI: The Part of Tens.

Chapter 20: Ten Questions a Theory of Everything Should (Ideally) Answer.

Chapter 21: Ten Notable String Theorists.


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Author Information

Andrew Zimmerman Jones received his physics degree and graduated with honors from Wabash College, where he earned the Harold Q. Fuller Prize in Physics. He is the Physics Guide for the New York Times' About.com Web site. Daniel Robbins received his PhD in physics from the University of Chicago and currently studies string theory and its implications at Texas A&M University.

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Press Release

September 16, 2010
Reading Hawking? Start with String Theory For Dummies.

With the recent publication of his new book The Grand Design, world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has been making news and bestseller lists. Hawking is known to have invoked string theory as the explanation for the creation of the universe and other scientists have debated these concepts for quite some time. The details behind every one of the concepts at the heart of his explanation - string theory, particle physics, relativity, extra dimension, parallel universes, the big bang, and so on - are covered in String Theory For Dummies (Wiley; 978-0-470-46724-4; November 2009).

For those curious about this complicated science, String Theory For Dummies provides clear and concise information for understanding the theory and relating it to the world around you. With in-depth examples and easy-to-understand writing, the book clearly discusses and demonstrates the mathematical methods in a format that is easily approachable by both students and laymen alike. Authors Andrew Zimmerman Jones and Daniel Robbins discuss the different viewpoints surrounding string theory without bias, allowing the reader to draw their own intelligent conclusions. 

Andrew Zimmerman Jones is the Physics Guide on About.com. Check out his most recent article, “God, Physics, and Stephen Hawking” here.

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