Review – The Trouble With Physics

Posted 30 August, 2017 by Nikki in Reviews / 2 Comments

Cover of The Trouble with Physics by Lee SmolinThe Trouble With Physics, Lee Smolin

I came out of reading this book with a pleasing illusion that I understood something of the state of modern physics. Smolin’s style worked for me in explaining things well enough that, for once, I wasn’t left boggling and having to reread pages over and over again to cram the concepts into my head. Perhaps it helps that he’s not an inveterate supporter of string theory, and can explain where it doesn’t work as an explanation for our universe and why — sometimes, it helps to know where concepts break down as much as it helps to know where they succeed.

Part of the book isn’t just about physics at all, though: it’s about the progress of science in general, and how science progresses. I’m not sure Smolin really gets at anything profound here, but when it comes to the specifics of critiquing why physics has come to a standstill, he genuinely cares and genuinely wants to solve the issue. The way he presents it, it’s clear that it’s time for people to re-evaluate string theory and accept that quite possibly it will never yield the answers we’re looking for.

Some days after reading it, being me, I can no longer explain string theory to anyone else, but I can explain why it doesn’t work, so I got something out of this! And I more or less enjoyed letting it turn my brain inside out, too.

Rating: 4/5

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2 Responses to “Review – The Trouble With Physics”

  1. Ah physics. I have never understood it despite classes of very wonderful teachers trying to explain it to me. This book sounds intimidating! Glad ye seemed to enjoy it.
    x The Captain

    • I have the same, actually! This book was less intimidating than that, because Smolin seems to be really good at explaining this stuff. (I’m a biologist, for preference!)

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