The Elegant Universe
Based on Brian Greene’s book, this three-part Nova program should do for physics what Cosmos did for astronomy. Greene hosts the program on the relative new concept of String Theory, a potential (and explosive) answer to the Holy Grail of science: a single, ultimate theory for everything. Part of Greene’s genius is the ability to explain complex issues with ease thanks to a generous helping of graphics and humor.
It starts with a perplexing anecdote: Einstein died trying to figure out if there could be an ultimate theory. His General Theory of Relativity brought order to the laws of large objects, but could not explain the chancier world of Quantum Mechanics (which deals with atomic particles). String Theory tries to marry the two. Greene and many colleagues give us a history of the quest and how String Theory was “discovered” in the 1980s. The formula has a lot of quirks, the most dazzling being the insistence there’s 11 dimensions in the universe.
If string theory proves correct, the universe we see obscures a reality that is far richer and more complex than anyone ever imagined—a universe with numerous hidden dimensions, a universe in which the fabric of space can rip and tear, a universe that may be but one of many parallel universes.