The Trouble With Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next – Book Review

I have been acquainted with Lee Smolin’s work primarily through his contribution to the research in loop quantum gravity. This is a less well known approach to quantum gravity, and the most serious rival to string theory, the primary subject matter of “The Trouble with Physics”. Even though I am not a big fan of String Theory, to say the least, I am also rather sceptical about all the other current approaches to the problem of quantum gravity, so I was a bit reluctant to read this book as I was not sure of how much valuable critique wasSmolin able to provide. My unfortunate prejudice was quickly put to rest, and this book proved to be one of the most pleasant surprises in the genre of popular advanced physics in a long while.Smolin is a great writer, both in terms of style and content, and he is able to engage the reader even thorough some of the more arcane topics in the modern theoretical physics. He does not waste too much time on the history of the subject, and one may want to find a more throughout introduction somewhere else. However, he gives an exciting first-person view of the developments in high-energy theoretical physics over the last few decades, and even those of us who are rather familiar with most of the major events and players are will findSmolin’s account of interesting and fresh. Smolin’s critique of the String Theory comes across as eminently well-founded and fair, especially when one takes into the account the fact that he’s published numerous scientific articles in this field. Even though the title and the general tenor of this book is negative, the books overflows with optimism and excitement about Physics, and one can only hope that all the trouble that Physics has found itself lately in will be over before too long. In the meantime, we need more books and articles like “The Trouble with Physics”.

Although many of the topics in the book are rather advanced, the approach is fairly accessible and anyone with some basic knowledge of Modern Physics would benefit from reading this book. I would particularly recommend this book to people who are interested in pursuing high energy theoretical physics as their career, since it provides some sobering statistics about academic and funding prospects.


Bojan Tunguz

Bojan Tunguz was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which he and his family fled during the civil war for the neighboring Croatia. Over the past two decades he has studied, lived and worked in the United States. He is a theoretical physicist with degrees from Stanford and University of Illinois. Tunguz has taught physics at several prominent liberal arts colleges and has been writing about physics, science and technology for more than a decade. He also has a wide spectrum of interests, and reads and writes about current events, society, culture, religion and politics. Over the years he has reviewed many of the books that he has read, and posted his reviews on various online outlets. In 2011 he had become a top 10 reviewer on, where he continues to be very active. Aside from reading and writing, Tunguz enjoys traveling, digital photography, hiking, and fitness. He resides with his wife in Indiana. You can follow my review updates on the following pages as well: Facebook: Twitter: Google+:

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