Warped Passages


It didn’t take long after I started writing that I figured out if I was going to set the story in the distant future, I needed to understand some of the theories about the universe. After reading many books on bubble universes, multi-universes, and string theory, I found Dr. Randall’s theories most satisfying. Her book, Warped Passages, was one of the first books I read and is filled with my notes, underlines, and turned-down pages. What made her views click is that she is a “model builder.” She builds theories from the bottom up. This means she starts with observable scientific facts in particle physics, within the framework of the Standard Model, and attempts to extrapolate from a firm footing. For a former financial analyst who modeled out the finances of public companies, I very much appreciated the methodology.

Her book is an effort to tie particle physics with string theory. String theory is elegant mathematics but has also been portrayed as “castles in the sky” due to its lack of relationship to anything observable. Dr. Randall developed the theory of branes, named after their membrane-like structure. Basically, the theory argues our three or four (if you include time) dimensional reality is a brane within a multi-dimensional bulk. This allowed Dr. Randall to explain why gravity is so weak in our universe, when the standard model argues it should be much stronger.

Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions
Lisa Randall
Harper Perennial
September 19, 2006

The universe has many secrets. It may hide additional dimensions of space other than the familiar three we recognize. There might even be another universe adjacent to ours, invisible and unattainable . . . for now.

Warped Passages is a brilliantly readable and altogether exhilarating journey that tracks the arc of discovery from early twentieth-century physics to the razor's edge of modern scientific theory. One of the world's leading theoretical physicists, Lisa Randall provides astonishing scientific possibilities that, until recently, were restricted to the realm of science fiction. Unraveling the twisted threads of the most current debates on relativity, quantum mechanics, and gravity, she explores some of the most fundamental questions posed by Nature—taking us into the warped, hidden dimensions underpinning the universe we live in, demystifying the science of the myriad worlds that may exist just beyond our own.