View Full Version : The Shape of Inner Space

2012-Mar-03, 11:12 PM
Here are a couple of my favorite quotations from Shing-Tung Yau's 2010 book The Shape of Inner Space, string theory and the geometry of the universe's hidden dimensions.

The physicist David Gross has compared anthropic-style reasoning of this sort to a virus that ought to be eradicated. Stanford physicist Burton Richter claims that landscape enthusiasts such as his Stanford colleague Leonard Susskind have “given up . . . Since that is what they believe, I can't understand why they don't take up something else – macrame, for example.” . . . It's fair to say that things have gotten a little heated. I haven't really participated in this debate, which may be one of the luxuries of being a mathematician.

It resonated strongly with my conviction that the deepest ideas of math, if shown to be true, would almost invariably have consequences for physics and manifest themselves in nature in general.

The book is littered with gems such as these, not usually so political, perhaps. At the same time, it is probably the most highly technical general-audience book that I think I've ever encountered, which is a lot. Yau specializes in geometry and topology - investigating non-flat surfaces of various dimensions... Well, he proved the Calabi conjecture and got put on the map... so to speak. I may be exaggerating, but it seemed like it took him about 100 pages to explain what the conjecture was and what it entailed. Still, I'd say he explained things pretty well, even though I might have to re-read those 100 pages.... :D

2012-Mar-10, 06:45 PM
One good thing about rapid prototyping is that it has allowed models of constructs:

Nice tabletop art pieces...