universe on a t-shirt

title: Universe on a T-Shirt: The Quest for the Theory of Everything

author: Dan Falk

genre: Non-fiction, physics, scientific theories

suggested by: Michalle T.

dates read: Jan 22nd-Jan 26th

review: 4 out of 5 stars

summary: Written in laymen’s terms, Dan recounts the history of the theory of relativity and quantum theory from ancient Greece to modern day.  He shares the struggles of the leading scientists along the way and the quest for the Theory of Everything, which seeks to unify and merge the two theories.  This theory, as Falk says, “will explain the origin of everything in our universe, and describe its most basis components.”  He explains that “The goal of physicists has always been to simplify – to take a myriad of observations and explain them with as few laws and equations as possible.”

personal thoughts: This is a book very different from anything I’ve read.  My dad’s the one who reads about physics and complex theories and I normally stick to my novels and the occasional theological book.  So to read this was difficult in that sense because my mind doesn’t often go there.  I also do a lot of inward thinking and find myself spiraling sometimes, so to take that outside of myself and apply that to the universe was a challenge.  It is so fascinating to think about the micro and macro parts of our world and how and why things work.  I think the thing that overwhelms me the most about physics is that theories will remain theories because they can never have a final point, only a clearer picture.  And then I start thinking about all the groundwork that needed to be laid thousands of years ago and how overwhelming that would be to have to narrow down your study and figure out what is even relevant.  Oh man, I could go really far down that rabbit hole.  But I did appreciate this book and the different perspective it gave me of the world.

favorite quote:
By Leon Lederman:
“It’s very hard to prove a theory right.  You go to the laboratory, you can prove a theory is wrong – that’s easy.  The theory makes a prediction and your experiment shows it’s wrong.  But the other result is ‘maybe it’s right’ . . .You can never prove it’s right.  All you can do is check that maybe it’s right.  And if you get enough ‘maybes,’ it becomes a part of your belief system.” p. 212

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