• The Fabric of the Cosmos

  • Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality
  • By: Brian Greene
  • Narrated by: Michael Prichard
  • Length: 22 hrs and 36 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (2,023 ratings)

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The Fabric of the Cosmos

By: Brian Greene
Narrated by: Michael Prichard
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Publisher's Summary

From Brian Greene, one of the world’s leading physicists, comes a grand tour of the universe that makes us look at reality in a completely different way.

Space and time form the very fabric of the cosmos. Yet they remain among the most mysterious of concepts. Is space an entity? Why does time have a direction? Could the universe exist without space and time? Can we travel to the past? Greene uses these questions to guide us toward modern science’s new and deeper understanding of the universe. 

From Newton’s unchanging realm in which space and time are absolute, to Einstein’s fluid conception of spacetime, to quantum mechanics’ entangled arena where vastly distant objects can bridge their spatial separation to instantaneously coordinate their behavior or even undergo teleportation, Greene reveals our world to be very different from what common experience leads us to believe. 

Focusing on the enigma of time, Greene establishes that nothing in the laws of physics insists that it run in any particular direction and that “time’s arrow” is a relic of the universe’s condition at the moment of the big bang. And in explaining the big bang itself, Greene shows how recent cutting-edge developments in superstring and M-theory may reconcile the behavior of everything from the smallest particle to the largest black hole. This startling vision culminates in a vibrant eleven-dimensional “multiverse,” pulsating with ever-changing textures, where space and time themselves may dissolve into subtler, more fundamental entities. 

Sparked by the trademark wit, humor, and brilliant use of analogy that have made The Elegant Universe a modern classic, Brian Greene takes us all, regardless of our scientific backgrounds, on an irresistible and revelatory journey to the new layers of reality that modern physics has discovered lying just beneath the surface of our everyday world. 

©2004 Brian Greene (P)2004 Books on Tape, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Nobody ever said that cosmology was simple, not even Stephen Hawking, in whose tradition Dr. Greene impressively follows....He is both a skilled and kindly explicator....The Fabric of the Cosmos is as dazzling as it is tough." (The New York Times)

"It will be enjoyable and stimulating for the lay reader, who will even learn about time travel and teleportation. This is one popular-science book that won't be left on the coffee table half read." (The New York Times Book Review

“Forbidding formulas no longer stand between general readers and the latest breakthroughs in astrophysics: the imaginative gifts of one of the pioneers making these breakthroughs has now translated mathematical science into accessible analogies drawn from everyday life and popular culture....Nonspecialists will relish this exhilarating foray into the alien terrain that is our own universe.” (Booklist, starred review)

“This is popular science writing of the highest order...Greene [has an] unparalleled ability to translate higher mathematics into everyday language and images, through the adept use of metaphor and analogy, and crisp, witty prose....He not only makes concepts clear, but explains why they matter.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) 

What listeners say about The Fabric of the Cosmos

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Lucid, Revealing, Thorough

If you're new to the worlds of quantum physics and relativity, this book makes an excellent primer; non-scientists who just want to brush up on their physics will find plenty to like here as well--Greene's explanation of the Aspect experiment is the first I've ever read that actually makes me feel as though I understood what was actually going on. His frequent use of Simpsons and Star Wars characters as the subjects of his examples is charming in its unabashed geekery. The only sour note is the narrator, who sounds as though he's reading a 1940's newsreel. Once you get used to the ponderousness of the narration, though, the content gets you through.

74 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Space and Time for the Common Man

Greene has a wonderful gift for explaining complex matters in a clear and entertaining manner. I was a bit worried that without the diagrams and figures the book would be hard to follow, but except for one or two passages Greene's explanations were easy to follow from his verbal descriptions. If you want to know what is going on at the frontiers of physics this is the book to get. Still you should be prepared to expand some intellectual effort to get the point of such things as Bell's inequalities and quantum nonlocality. I especially enjoyed the description of how the passage of time was an illusion, at least for someone who believes in the physics point of view. Even so this book is a wonderful way to pass time.

49 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Horrible Narrator

Judging from the reviews, most people loved this. However, I couldn't get through it at all because of the extremely boring and monotone narrator. I really couldn't stand him. I had hoped Brian Greene would narrate his own book as I thought the "Elegant Universe" series on PBS was really good.
Oh well. I recommend that you listen to a sample before getting this. I think you'll either like or not like the narrator

47 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Great book, but hard to listen to

This author writes wonderful books, but I think it will be hard for most people to get past this narrator. He sounds like he is doing a 1940's newsreel. It is too bad, because the book is very accessable in its text. How and why did they choose this guy to read it? I can't believe he gets paid for this.

46 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great new book by Brian Greene!

This book just barely came out and I can't put it down. Greene delves into areas of physics that will fascinate even the novice reader. The only drawback is that the narrator's style can be monotonous and his pronunciation errant. Nevertheless this is a book that is well worth the read for anyone hoping to better understand our elegant universe!

34 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Good material. I wanted to like it.

I enjoyed the material. I've seen Brian Greene on Nova and read one of his other books, but I could barely get through this book.
It's probably just me, but I can't stand this narrator.

31 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Great book until Part 3

This book is fantastic. I was able to review and wholly comprehend all of the points of physics which Greene chose to elucidate. He reviewed the basics, Newtonian Physics through Einstein and beyond into Quantum Physics and String Theory. The third part of the reading dove into Theoretical Physics. I had originally wanted to gain an understanding of String Theory, and the first two sections more than satisfied my curiosity. They were awesome.
Unfortunately, I was so sated that I became annoyed with the third part of the recording which describes the huge realm of Theoretical Physics. This may be the section that interests you, but it was useless to me, as it is clear from his analysis that there is little we can do to prove any of the answers that are being pursued. It describes a slew of different theories on extra dimensions and possible realities, universes, etcetera, ad nauseum. I developed a very real concern for the people dedicating their lives to these theories, spending days, years, decades, pursuing confirmation of such impractical theories.
If String Theory is correct, the limits of our own dimensional reality assure us that there most likely will never be a way of detecting extra dimensions beyond our own. However, String Theory creates the need for an extra dimensional reality as it cannot exist without eleven dimensions. The circular reasoning made me throw my hands up in disgust. Who pays these guys to research this stuff, anyway?
As I listened on and on to the mental masturbation going on in the current field of Theoretical Physics, I became concerned that I was losing hours of my own life just listening to the last part of this book. It was then that I found God. I decided that I didn't care anymore about this last portion of the book, and I would ask God when I die to let me listen to his version of the Fabric of the Cosmos. With that, I went back to my day to day job as a physician and gentleman farmer.

27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Quantum Physics For Dummies!

This book finally makes quantum physics understandable (as much as anyone is truly capable of understanding quantum physics) and even enjoyable. Coming from me, this is quite a statement. I have a shelf full of books promising to explain quantum physics in simplified terms. I think I made it to chapter 3 in one of them. The author begins by taking the reader back to the basic science class of yesteryear, and giving a review of Newtonian and Einsteinian physics. Even though this is for the benefit of those with absolutely no background science, there are enough new little tidbits sprinkled in, that weren?t covered in those classes, to give the average individual a few ?Hmmm, I don?t remember hearing that before? moments. Greene moves on to sub-atomic particles and explains how light is both a wave and a particle. The reader can finally understand these concepts because many fascinating experiments are described and explained. Just about the time when you think you?re getting lost, he backs up and relates what you?ve just learned to what you knew (or thought you knew) before. After showing you how to process this new information by taking you backwards a few steps, he gently moves you forward again. He explains how observing a particle in any way, changes it. I had heard this, too, but my interpretation was, of course, much, much too simplistic. Three steps forward, one step back. He slowly pushes your capacity to question the most basic assumptions about life. He goes into ?Time?s Arrow?. If we can remember the past ? why can?t we remember the future? Mathematically we should be able to. Can our actions NOW effect the PAST? It certainly appears that they do. And it is all explained, bit-by-bit, piece-by-piece. Schrodinger?s Cat is explained! It has to do with probability waves, their collapse, and the ?light is a wave and a particle? thing - or so one of the current theories goes.Then again there's that multiple dimension theory. And string theory. And the . . .

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Five Stars

I'm a sceptic and normally don't give five-star ratings to anything. I've listened and re-listened this audio book several times. Mr.'s (Prof.'s?) Greene's book gave me the chills more times than anything else I've heard or read. Reluctantly (on principle) I give it 5 (five) stars. His book is a journey for a lazy and ignorant sceptic like myself. His "mind-boggling" and "earth-shattering" exclamations are just that for me.

If you want to get close to understanding what he is talking about and too lazy to learn the math behind it - this audiobook is for you.
It's a classic.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Enough with the egg already!!!

The monotone narration straight out of a 1950s educational documentary, the strange Simpsons examples, and the incessant talk of a splattered egg made this book a difficult listen. More than once I found myself yelling out loud in frustaration "Enough with the egg already! Move on! I get it!"

Obviously, my review is in the minority, but for the life of me I can't understand how this bore-fest received such high ratings. While informative and educational it tends to dwell far too long on its concepts, such as the 3-plus hours dedicated to explaining that odds are extremely low that a smashed egg will spontaneously come back together. There's a revelation!

Maybe the abridged version would have been a better choice for me but if it's read by the Michael Prichard I'd pass on that one too. I just can't get the picture of Ben Stein out of my head.

Bueller...Bueller...Bueller...

11 people found this helpful

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  • Paul Stansfield
  • 01-23-21

Terrible Narrator

Brian Greene should be narrating this book himself,
Michael Prichard is quite simply horrific, reminiscent of a 1930’s broadcast.
I gave up after the first chapter.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Conor H.
  • 10-11-22

Narrator's voice extremely harsh

Unable to listen to this as an audiobook, as the narrator's voice is quite cutting and harsh.

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  • AJ
  • 02-20-21

Strange book

Reader was monotone and bland.
Strange attempts to use everyday things as illustrations, just did not work.

Now I know why Sir Roger Penrose discounts super string theory as just a maths concept with zero real evidence

I am disappointed with Brian Green.