The Elegant Universe

Part I: The Edge of Knowledge

Chapter 1: Tied Up with Strings

This is the introductory section, where the author, Brian Greene, examines the fundamentals of what is currently proven to be true by experimentation in the realm of modern physics. Green goes on to talk more about "The Basic Idea" of string theory. He describes how physicists are aspiring to reach the Theory of Everything, or T.O.E. Some suspect when string theory is completely understood that it might turn out to become the T.O.E.

Part II: The Dilemma of Space, Time, and Quanta

Chapter 2: Space, Time, and the Eye of the Beholder
In the chapter, Greene describes how Albert Einstein solved the paradox about light. In the mid-1800's James Maxwell succeeded in showing that light was actually an electromagnetic wave. From this he concluded that light always travels at the speed of light. It never slows down. Einstein asked the question: "What happens if we chase after a beam of light, at light speed?" From reasoning based on Newton's laws of motion, one can assume that the light would appear stationary. But according to Maxwell's theory, light cannot be stationary. Einstein solved this problem through his special theory of relativity. Greene continues with his explanations of the special theory of relativity.

Chapter 3: Of Warps and Ripples
Green begins the chapter by describing "Newton's View of Gravity" and continues by discussing the incompatibility of Newtonian Gravity and Special Relativity. The author also talks about how Einstein discovered the link between acceleration and the warping of space and time. Greene also discuses the basic aspects of General Relativity. He later points out how the two theories of relativity effect black holes, the big bang, and the expansion of space.

Chapter 4: Microscopic Weirdness
This chapter describes, in detail, the workings of quantum mechanics. The author tells of how waves are effected by quantum mechanic. He also discusses the fact that electromagnetic radiation, or photons, are actually particles and waves. He continues to discuss how matter particles are also matter, but because of their h bar, is so small, the effects are not seen. Green concludes the quantum mechanics discussion by talking about the uncertainty principle.

Chapter 5: The need for a New Theory: General Relativity vs. Quantum Mechanics
This chapter compares the theory of general relativity and quantum mechanics. It shows that relativity mainly concerns that microscopic world, while quantum mechanics deals with the microscopic world. But there are some occasions in which the two can actually contradict each, such as the area around a black hole. That is where superstring theory comes into play.

Part III: The Cosmic Symphony
Chapter 6: Nothing but Music: The Essentials of Superstring Theory
This chapter gives a history of where string theory originated and how it has developed over the years. The basic idea of string theory is that all matter is made up of one-dimensional strings. The specific vibrational pattern of the string determines which elementary particle is made from the string. The suspected length of a string 10-33 centimeters. The author also tells of how string theory can unite quantum mechanics and relativity. Brian Greene also describes how, with current technology string theory cannot be directly tested. He also describes how and what happens when strings interact.

Chapter 7: The "Super" in Superstrings
In this chapter, Green discusses supersymmetry of string theory and its effect on it. The author also discusses the three non-gravitational forces: strong force, weak force, and electromagnetic force.

Chapter 8: More Dimensions a Than Meet the Eye
Greene tells about how string theory allows for more than three spatial dimensions, nine to be exact. He describes how the three dimensions that we live in are extended dimensions and the six other spatial dimensions are curled-up dimensions that are to small for macroscopic objects to exist in. He also describes what these curled-up dimensions may look like. One possible shape is a Calabi-Yau shape.

Chapter 9: The Smoking Gun: Experimental Signatures
The author explains the difficulties of proving string theory by experimentation. He also tells of some steps that might be taken to eventually prove string theory. He also explains that charges on certain particles and how some particles might actually have a fractions of a charge.

Part IV: String Theory and the Fabric of Space-time

Chapter 10: Quantum Geometry
In this chapter, Greene explains quantum geometry, which is also known as Riemannian Geometry. This geometry fits is based upon the fact that space is not flat. Greene goes on by