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The universe has its secrets. It may even hide extra dimensions, different from anything ever imagined. A whole raft of remarkable concepts now rides atop the scientific firmament, including parallel universes, warped geometry, and threedimensional sink-holes. We understand far more about the world than we did just a few short years ago -- and yet we are more uncertain about the true nature of the universe than ever before. Have we reached a point of scientific discovery so advanced that the laws of physics as we know them are simply not sufficient? Will we all soon have to accept explanations that previously remained in the realm of science fiction?
Lisa Randall is herself making these extraordinary breakthroughs, pushing back the boundaries of science in her research to answer some of the most fundamental questions posed by Nature. For example, why is the gravitational field from the entire Earth so defenseless against the small tug of a tiny magnet? Searching for answers to such seemingly irresolvable questions has led physicists to postulate extra dimensions, the presence of which may lead to unimaginable gains in scientific understanding. Randall takes us into the incredible world of warped, hidden dimensions that underpin the universe we live in, describing how we might prove their existence, while examining the questions that they still leave unanswered.
Warped Passages provides an exhilarating overview that tracks the arc of discovery from early twentieth-century physics to the razor's edge of today's particle physics and string theory, unweaving the current debates about relativity, quantum mechanics, and gravity. In a highly readable style sure to entertain and elucidate, Lisa Randall demystifies the science and beguilingly unravels the mysteries of the myriad worlds that may exist just beyond the one we are only now beginning to know.
Lisa Randall studies theoretical particle physics and cosmology at Harvard University, where she is the Frank J. Baird, Jr., Professor of Science. Her work has made her among the most cited and influential theoretical physicists today. She has been one of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People" and Rolling Stone's "RS100: Agents of Change," and both Knocking on Heaven's Door and Warped Passages have been named New York Times Notable Books. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. When not solving the problems of the universe, Randall can be found rock climbing, skiing, or contributing to art-science connections. Her libretto for Hypermusic Prologue premiered at the Pompidou Center in Paris in 2009. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“Lisa Randall, a leading theorist, has made major contributions to both particle physics and cosmology.”
-Brian Greene, bestselling author of The Elegant Universe and The Fabrics of the Cosmos
“Randall is one of the most influencial and exciting young theoretical Physicists working in elementary particle physics and cosmology today.”
-Lee Smolin, author of Three Roads to Quantum Gravity
“A great read. . . . I highly recommend it.”
-Ira Flatow, host of National Public Radio’s Science Friday