Another book I want! String Theory For Dummies, by Andrew Zimmerman Jones, with contributions by Daniel Robbins.
Yes, I know that so far, String Theory is really just a bunch of equations that haven’t been properly tested. (At least, last I heard.) But you know what? I love physics, and especially physics that deals with outer space or things at the atomic level. I love reading and talking about it, even if I never did get that Astrophysics degree I entered university to get. So I really, really, really want this book.
This Physorg.com article explains the ideas that the author tries to cover in the book: Tying string theory together: a new book attempts to explain string theory to the masses. Scientists working on the “theory of everything” certainly produce some interesting ideas. And of course, String Theory demonstrates why I didn’t end up getting that degree: I can’t even imagine the concept of eleven different dimensions. Once I get past the fourth (time), I completely blank out.
Jones has a degree in physics, and also minored in philosophy and mathematics. So he seems pretty qualified to write a book like this. Sometimes, though, you can know a lot about a subject but still not know how to make it really interesting or clear to others. But Jones also has a Master’s degree in Mathematics Education. And I notice that the first review of the book, at its String Theory for Dummies Amazon page, is by science fiction author Robert Sawyer. And he seems to think Jones has made the subject of String Theory very understandable to the lay person.
You get a slight hint of how Jones approaches things by reading his bio on Amazon.com. Here’s a sample:
In the 8th grade, I tested into Mensa, mainly because my favorite author, Isaac Asimov, was also a member. I remain a member to this day. I am also an Eagle Scout and a Master Mason in the Freemasons … which, in total, means that I have secret plans to take over the world, but will likely be a benevolent dictator. I’m also a member of Toastmasters International, so I’ll be a well-spoken one as well.
Put all these things together, and I gnash my teeth. Because I absolutely can NOT afford to get this book right now.
But String Theory! Oh, how I want this book! 🙂