The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory is a book by Brian Greene published in 1999, which introduces string and superstring theory, and provides a comprehensive though non-technical assessment of the theory and some of its shortcomings. A new edition was released in 2003, with an updated preface.
Beginning with a brief consideration of classical physics, which concentrates on the major conflicts in physics, Greene establishes a historical context for string theory as a necessary means of integrating the probabilistic world of the standard model of particle physics and the deterministic Newtonian physics of the macroscopic world. Greene discusses the essential problem facing modern physics: unification of Albert Einstein’s theory of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. Greene suggests that string theory is the solution to these two conflicting approaches. Greene frequently uses analogies and thought experiments to provide a means for the layman to come to terms with the theory which has the potential to create a unified theory of physics.
The Elegant Universe was adapted into an Emmy Award winning three hour program in three parts (Einstein’s Dream, String’s The Thing, and Welcome To The 11th Dimension) for television broadcast in late 2003 on the PBS series NOVA. Click here to watch the series.