Brian Greene: The Kindle Singles Interview (Kindle Single) by Rivka Galchen
“Brian Greene: The Kindle Singles Interview" is a very entertaining and educational interview with renowned physicist, author and educator Brian Greene. The brief interview covered a number of topics, including: the Higgs boson, nothingness, the reality of math, the cosmological constant, string theory, the general theory of relativity, and the limits of what we can know about our universe. The interview was conducted by journalist Rivka Galchen. This stimulating 35-page book covers all these topics and then some.
1. An engaging brief interview.
2. Brian Greene is an interesting topic on his own.
3. Galchen does a good job of covering a lot of interesting subjects in a short period of time.
4. The purpose of string theory. “In string theory, unified theory, we’re really trying to understand the structures of space and time on the deepest possible level.”
5. The meaning of elegance in science. “I in particular, take elegance to reflect the mathematical power of an equation to describe a large swath of reality and yet do it from a few symbols on a piece of paper.”
6. The power of the general theory of relativity. “So this most beautiful of all 20th century discoveries, the general theory of relativity, pops out from string theory which is just an amazing thing to realize.”
7. The importance of math. “You could actually use mathematics to describe the external world.”
8. Can space be ripped? Find out.
9. Is math real? “So, I don’t know if math is real in the sense that it’s woven into the fabric of the cosmos, or if it’s something that we invent and impose upon it. I don’t know.”
10. What science is? “Science is a way of life that allows for a rational evaluation of all that you experience to figure out what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s true and what’s not.”
11. Greene discusses his educational platform for people to enjoy science.
12. Reality. “Your intuition is an incredibly poor guide to the deep reality that’s out there, and special relativity is the first time you encounter that.”
13. An interesting look at nothingness and how it differs from empty space.
14. A brief look at the Large Hadron Collider.
15. Examples of how science ideas become mainstream knowledge from experimental verification.
16. An inexpensive and brief drop of knowledge.
1. With a scientist of Brian Greene’s pedigree I was hoping for even more content.
2. It wasn’t as provocative as I was hoping for. Not a single question on religion or his views on how politics impacts science.
3. In such a short interview don’t expect depth.
4. No notes, appendices or additional material.
In summary, despite its brevity I really enjoyed this interview. The interview covered many modern science topics in an accessible manner. Greene makes science fun and enlightening and is known for his ability to make esoteric topics accessible to the masses. This Kindle Single is an excellent appetizer for the layperson. I wished the interview had included some provocative questions (perhaps at no fault of the author as Greene may have considered some topics off limits) and more content but it will do. I recommend it!
Further recommendations: “The Elegant Universe” and “Hidden Reality” by Brian Greene, “Hidden in Plain Sight” by Andrew Thomas, “Farewell to Reality: How Modern Physics Has Betrayed the Search for Scientific Truth” by Jim Baggott, “Spectrums” by David Blatner, “A Universe From Nothing” by Lawrence M. Krauss, “About Time” by Adam Frank, “Higgs Discovery” and “Warped Passages” by Lisa Randall, “The Grand Design” by Stephen Hawking, “The Quantum Universe” by Brian Cox, “The Blind Spot” by William Byers, and “The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning” and “God and the Atom” by Victor Stenger.