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Is our universe dying?
Could there be other universes?
In Parallel Worlds, world-renowned physicist and bestselling author Michio Kaku—an author who “has a knack for bringing the most ethereal ideas down to earth” (Wall Street Journal)—takes readers on a fascinating tour of cosmology, M-theory, and its implications for the fate of the universe.
In his first book of physics since Hyperspace, Michio Kaku begins by describing the extraordinary advances that have transformed cosmology over the last century, and particularly over the last decade, forcing scientists around the world to rethink our understanding of the birth of the universe, and its ultimate fate. In Dr. Kaku’s eyes, we are living in a golden age of physics, as new discoveries from the WMAP and COBE satellites and the Hubble space telescope have given us unprecedented pictures of our universe in its infancy.
As astronomers wade through the avalanche of data from the WMAP satellite, a new cosmological picture is emerging. So far, the leading theory about the birth of the universe is the “inflationary universe theory,” a major refinement on the big bang theory. In this theory, our universe may be but one in a multiverse, floating like a bubble in an infinite sea of bubble universes, with new universes being created all the time. A parallel universe may well hover a mere millimeter from our own.
The very idea of parallel universes and the string theory that can explain their existence was once viewed with suspicion by scientists, seen as the province of mystics, charlatans, and cranks. But today, physicists overwhelmingly support string-theory, and its latest iteration, M-theory, as it is this one theory that, if proven correct, would reconcile the four forces of the universe simply and elegantly, and answer the question “What happened before the big bang?”
Already, Kaku explains, the world’s foremost physicists and astronomers are searching for ways to test the theory of the multiverse using highly sophisticated wave detectors, gravity lenses, satellites, and telescopes. The implications of M-theory are fascinating and endless. If parallel worlds do exist, Kaku speculates, in time, perhaps a trillion years or more from now, as appears likely, when our universe grows cold and dark in what scientists describe as a big freeze, advanced civilizations may well find a way to escape our universe in a kind of “inter-dimensional lifeboat.”
An unforgettable journey into black holes and time machines, alternate universes, and multidimensional space, Parallel Worlds gives us a compelling portrait of the revolution sweeping the world of cosmology.
"In Parallel Worlds, Michio Kaku brings his formidable explanatory talents to bear on one of the strangest and most exciting possibilities to have emerged from modern physics: that our universe may be but one among many, perhaps infinitely many, arrayed in a vast cosmic network. With deft use of analogy and humor, Kaku patiently introduces the reader to variations on this theme of parallel universes, coming from quantum mechanics, cosmology, and most recently, M-theory. Read this book for a wonderful tour, with an expert guide, of a cosmos whose comprehension forces us to stretch to the very limits of imagination."
—Brian Greene, Professor of Theoretical Particle Physics, Columbia University, and author of The Fabric of the Cosmos and The Elegant Universe
"Those who might enjoy a tour of cosmology, time travel, string theory, and the universe in 10 or 11 dimensions will find no better guide than Michio Kaku, a rare individual who has undertaken research in these subject areas yet also knows well how to present this intriguing, complex material in an engaging and easily assimilable style."—Donald Goldsmith, author of The Runaway Universe and Connecting With the Cosmos
“A roller-coaster ride through the universe — and beyond — by one of the world’s finest science writers. Michio Kaku shows that the surface familiarity of the physical world conceals a wonderland of weird entities — dark matter and energy, hidden dimensions of space, and tiny loops of vibrating string that hold the cosmos together. In the universe according to Kaku, reality is as mind-bending as the most exhilarating science fiction.” —Paul Davies, Australian Centre for Astrobiology, Macquarie University, Sydney, and author of How to Build a Time Machine
"Michio Kaku has done it again. In Parallel Worlds, he deftly transforms the frontier of physics into a kind of amusement park, where you actually have fun while reading about Einstein's relativity, quantum mechanics, cosmology, and string theory. But the real story here is how Kaku invokes these powerful tools to speculate about multiple universes and their philosophical implications for our perceptions of God and the meaning of life."—Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist and Director of the Hayden Planetarium, NYC Author of "Origins: Fourteen Billion years of Cosmic Evolution"