John Gribbin provides a masterful and readable explanation of thinking on multiple universes or dimensions. The Multiverse is a key to current cosmological science.
Multiple Dimensions and Universes – Not Just Science Fiction
In Search of the Multiverse starts with an introductory chapter that explains why “In an Infinite Universe, Anything is Possible”. It takes the reader through five centuries of thinking on the nature and organisation of the universe from Copernicus to the present day. It sets the tone for the whole book as Gribbin’s writing is straightforward and does not assume, or require, detailed knowledge of mathematics, physics or cosmology.
Subsequent chapters take the reader through the components of the theory and clarify the current thinking for the interested lay reader.
- The Coming of the Cosmic Cats: explains in straightforward language the basics of quantum theory including wave-particle duality, Schroedinger’s Cat and the basic theories of multiple dimensions.
- Cosmic Coincidences Revisited explores why the cosmos as it is and the why so many apparent coincidences are actually necessary for observation to be possible.
- Quantum Bits and Time Slips: brings together the above issues and starts to develop a metaphor for the Multiverse.
- Infinite in All Directions: Clarifies the concepts of time, distance and the meaning of infinity
- (Just Like) Starting Over: To Infinity – and Beyond! Develops the ideas further exploring the inflation of the universe and revisits aspect of theories of steady state.
- The Strings the Thing: string theory is expanded and its role in linking gravity into a unified theory and the possibility of many similar universes. The nature of gravity and especially why it is so weak is also explored.
- Faking it? Or Making it? This chapter considers the difference between the science view and the role of a designer. It pulls together evidence and explains how universes can be naturally selected with the role of black holes and baby universes.
Glossary and Index
There is a comprehensive glossary explaining the many terms used and the whole work is supported by a detailed index.
Open Mind Rather Than Science Training Required
The writing is so good that any intelligent reader with an open mind and an interest will find In Search of the Multiverse accessible. The ideas are such that they are difficult to imagine in our three-dimensional world but John Gribbin sets them out in a clear, and with a little effort by the reader, understandable way. This is a major achievement as the ideas are really best described using serious mathematical models which would make the theories unintelligible to even most science trained readers.
It is a book that needs to be taken steadily and ideas absorbed before moving. It rewards careful study and so is probably best read when it can be given full attention. But In Search of the Multiverse will reward that close consideration as it will develop understanding of some very challenging and complex scientific ideas about the nature of the universe.
It is now accepted that the Earth is not the centre of the universe and in current thinking we may have to come to terms with our Universe not being the centre of a Multiverse. Judging by In Search of the Multiverse, John Gribbin must be one of the best writers of popular science writers working today and will help the reader achieve that leap of understanding.