A leading theoretical physicist working on particle physics, string theory, and cosmology, Randall tries to share her excitement about the field without simplifying it or presenting it as a collection of finished achievements to be passively admired. She traces the development of the field through the 20th century as a foundation for her central discussion of proposals for extra-dimensional universes. Annotation ©2005 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
Randall, a professor of physics at Harvard, offers a tour of current questions in particle physics, string theory, and cosmology, paying particular attention to the thesis that more physical dimensions exist than are usually acknowledged. Writing for a general audience, Randall is patient and kind: she encourages readers to skip around in the text, corrals mathematical equations in an appendix at the back, and starts off each chapter with an allegorical story, in a manner recalling the work of George Gamow. Although the subject itself is intractably difficult to follow, the exuberance of Randall’s narration is appealing. She’s honest about the limits of the known, and almost revels in the uncertainties that underlie her work—including the possibility that some day it may all be proved wrong.