The Cosmic Landscape Review
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If you’re looking for a light read, you’ll definitely want to pass on this one. However, if you’re a fan of exotic words, The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Decision overflows with them.

There are strange quarks, charmed quarks, bottom quarks, and top quarks (all of whom would make pretty cool cartoon characters). From hadrons (which are not particles on Viagra, but particles made up of quarks, antiquarks, and gluons) to neutrinos (which are not Latino neutrons, but the “ghostly” particle emitted from a neutron), The Cosmic Landscape is a word fetishist’s dream come true.

The string theory challenges the theory of relativity by suggesting that for every bit of matter, there exists an equal but opposite bit of antimatter (much like the aforementioned neutron and neutrino). Antimatter doesn’t react to gravity, as we know it, though it's possible that it reacts to a different type of gravity. Susskind explores the mystery of gravity in detail, comparing its elements to those of electromagnetic forces.

If gravity is strong enough to hold us to the earth, how is it that we are able to lift our arms? Susskind analyzes space, time, and eleven different dimensions. And, he asks, given the remarkably unique circumstances that exist to sustain life on our planet, do we exist to observe the beauty of the universe, or does the universe exist to observe the beauty of us observing it?

If I were the universe, I imagine I’d be studying all this human contemplation with great amusement.

You have to be pretty damn smart to fully understand everything here. And I fear that a great deal of it is miles over my head. But please don’t let me stop all you anti-matter fans out there. There is a wealth of information packed within these pages that undoubtedly took a great deal of research to compile.

What I find most fascinating about this book is the amount of speculation directed at whether or not there is a higher power and, if there is, the extent of its involvement in the condition of the universe as we know it.

I come away with the knowledge that every particle of matter and anti-matter alike, holds the entire universe within and without. And if we truly wish to understand it, we’re going to have to squint really hard.

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