• Dreams of a Final Theory

  • The Scientist's Search for the Ultimate Laws of Nature
  • By: Steven Weinberg
  • Narrated by: Stuart Langton
  • Length: 9 hrs and 28 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (176 ratings)

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Dreams of a Final Theory

By: Steven Weinberg
Narrated by: Stuart Langton
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Publisher's Summary

This is the story of a grand scientific quest: the quest for a unifying theory of nature. Writing with dazzling elegance and clarity, Nobel Prize - winning physicist Steven Weinberg retraces the steps that have led modern scientists from relativity theory and quantum mechanics to the notion of superstrings and the idea that our universe may coexist with others. Along the way, he voices the questions that are always present: Why does each explanation of the way nature works point to other, deeper explanations? Why are the best theories not only logical but beautiful? And what implications will a final theory have for our philosophy and religious faith?

Intellectually daring, rich in anecdote and aphorism, Dreams of a Final Theory launches us into a new cosmos and helps us make sense of what we find there.

©1993 Steven Weinberg (P)2000 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A splendid introduction to the nature and ambitions of modern physics and a brilliant and...moving essay on its philosophical implications." ( San Francisco Chronicle)
"Listening to this audiobook, one feels as if one has entered the classroom of a popular physics professor. With a clear tenor voice, [Langton] never falters in this reading, even when tackling the many difficult physics terms." ( AudioFile)
"This splendid book is as good reading about physics and physicists as this reviewer can name...clear, honest, and brilliantly instructive." ( Scientific American)

What listeners say about Dreams of a Final Theory

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Informative

I decided to approach Steven Weinberg's "Dreams of a Final Theory" because it is an area about which I know little. The Audible offering of the book is very good. I seek out books that are well read, well written and informative. This audio volume wins on all three counts.

I came to the book as less than a novice. I caught onto the authors points without a deep understanding of math, E=MC2 or anything of the kind. His chapter, "On a Piece of Chalk," introduced basic principles of Atomic Theory in a clear way. His placement of physics into historical context was particularly helpful.

If you are a novice and would like to learn something new - this may well be worth your time. It was worth the time so far as I was concerned.

15 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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If you don't know who he is, look him up

Would you listen to Dreams of a Final Theory again? Why?

yes. it's a great book. It is a tad brief but still enjoyable

4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

30 years out of date!

So much for the ‘freebie’!
I repeat, so much for the freebie!!
Final 3 words.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wait for it!

At times it was a little over my head but that is why we read books that challenge us. The last three chapters were pure delight.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

An authors self ingratiating exercise masquerading as a fancy textbook.

There was some worthwhile information but could only make halfway through before his opinions on everything became too much to deal with. Even his voice is arrogant despite little original thought.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Jumps around a bit and assumes some knowledge.

I like to listen to books about the history of science and some of the concepts of physics. This book brings up a lot of concepts without explanation. For example, when he mentions the Standard Model, he assumes the reader knows what that his. Presentation is OK, comes across somewhat haughty. This is not the place to learn about physics. Stick to the Great Courses for that.

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Slightly aged but still fascinating

The book is slightly aged but still a fascinating story of Science. Great reader - great listening

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Is there anything this author cannot do?

Not only is the author by all accounts a giant in modern physics but it turns out he's a graceful and passionate writer. Not fair that one person can do all of that!

He sets himself the task of making non-scientists like me care about the most obscure aspects of elementary particle physics. You don't know what elementary particie physics is? Neither did I! And I would say that 20% or more of what Weinberg writes in this book went right over my head. But it didn't subtract from my joy in the book, which at its core is a celebration of human curiosity and diligence in cracking the code to the most fundamental laws of nature. You emerge staggered by what human beings, when they collaborate, are capable of.

The book is an act of intellectual generosity -- a researcher taking time away from his research to explain his field to those who don't understand it. Steven Weinberg died this year -- let's tip our hat to an extraordinary man.

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Out of date

Science doesn't stop. Quickly upon starting to listen one is tripped up by statements evidencing that things have moved on and what is being heard acquires the shade of unreliability and being behind the curve.

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great overview

was a great explanation of the basics and history of particle physics. Written at a level that was challenging to a novice. But still very accessible.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • shufflingB
  • 01-29-11

Entertaining, different

This is a bit of a pot pourri of a book that discusses amongst other things science, the scientific method, politics and religion all in the context of the quest for the Final Theory and it's importance to humankind.

The book does this in a way that is entertaining, (unsurprisingly) highly intelligent, blunt and at times very funny. The authors personality is highly apparent in the book and (to me) the reader for the audio version was a very good match. It moves along at a clip and I would guess for most people would demand a fair amount of concentration to follow (it did for me anyway).

It's not a beginners guide, but if you do have a reasonable acquaintance/interest in physics and cosmology and would like to see it from an unusual and entertaining angle, then this book/recording does this very well.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Rohit
  • 08-24-09

Good Material

I do agree with the other reviewer about the reader but, personally I felt that the material was great.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Harry H
  • 07-18-09

terse

The terseness of the speaker is off putting for me, but I suppose he may be emulating the author's character - the words seem to indicate this.

1 person found this helpful

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  • John
  • 02-05-22

Intriguingly Enjoyable

Not a book to be listened to (so well read too) for more than 10 or so minutes at a time
Needs savouring in these small doses as it is so full of interesting facts/ideas.
I am a 76 year old and ‘ curious’ about a huge variety of things- so still have over 700 Audible titles to listen to- and need this slow savouring to let these beautiful(a word SW uses a fair amount in his fascination with his profession of Particle Physisist) thoughts percolate into my consciousness
Thoroughly recommended

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  • Anthony
  • 02-01-22

Out of date!

This book is out off date in terms of the scientific content as it’s over 20 years old! Also it is narrated by the human with the most boring tone of voice ever recorded!

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  • Tom O'Rourke
  • 11-04-21

Science

Looking for the manual to life, nature, the cosmos, is a human construct and does not exist, even if "a final" solution be written and agreed by all present from everyday folk to everyday political and scientific folk, there is no prerequisite "manual" to compare with to say "yes, there, we have it" as all tomes of belief written by "sentient beings" over centuries of human existence have shown, they will be superceded by others and nausea and the innocently ignorant perpetual incompleteness remains. So, I hear the cry of "What do we do then, just stop and say there is nothing to be done?" the paradoxical irony of our collective consensus says "What will we do?"
I say what we have always done, we think, adapt and stay on our feet, then move on because there are no answers only clues. And just what does that mean, it means that sentient beings are not here to find ultimate truth, because there is no ultimate truth, the manual to all things past, present or future is a sentient construct a paradoxical irony of unbeginning unending beginnings and endings, perpetual uncertainty, perpetual indeterminacy, perpetual incompleteness, perpetual conflict in perpetual motion of eternal returnity. One suggestion is to slow down and adapt to our global collective innocent ignorance, but the paradoxical irony of such a state is itself ironic and perpetually indeterminate. A complete truth or absolute solution is not attainable, sentient constructs are collective and independent always have been always will be. So shall we we commit collective global suicide? no, even that cannot be achieved, the irony remains, entropy rules.
This is not gospel, this is not truth, this is but the eternal clue, love always
Tom O'Rourke 1953...?

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  • Netwin Waldro
  • 05-25-18

one of the most intelligent books ever written

not that I've read all of them... a highly elegant summary of the way the best physicists think about the world.