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Parallel Worlds

A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos
Narrated by: Marc Vietor
Length: 14 hrs and 50 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Physics
4.5 out of 5 stars (146 ratings)

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Summary

Is our universe dying?

Could there be other universes?

In Parallel Worlds, world-renowned physicist and best-selling author Michio Kaku - an author who "has a knack for bringing the most ethereal ideas down to earth" (Wall Street Journal) - takes listeners on a fascinating tour of cosmology, M-theory, and its implications for the fate of the universe.

In his first book of physics since Hyperspace, Michio Kaku begins by describing the extraordinary advances that have transformed cosmology over the last century and particularly over the last decade, forcing scientists around the world to rethink our understanding of the birth of the universe and its ultimate fate. In Dr. Kaku's eyes, we are living in a golden age of physics, as new discoveries from the WMAP and COBE satellites and the Hubble space telescope have given us unprecedented pictures of our universe in its infancy.

As astronomers wade through the avalanche of data from the WMAP satellite, a new cosmological picture is emerging. So far the leading theory about the birth of the universe is the "inflationary universe theory", a major refinement on the big bang theory. In this theory our universe may be but one in a multiverse, floating like a bubble in an infinite sea of bubble universes, with new universes being created all the time. A parallel universe may well hover a mere millimeter from our own.

The very idea of parallel universes and the string theory that can explain their existence was once viewed with suspicion by scientists, seen as the province of mystics, charlatans, and cranks. But today physicists overwhelmingly support string theory and its latest iteration, M-theory, as it is this one theory that, if proven correct, would reconcile the four forces of the universe simply and elegantly and answer the question "what happened before the big bang?"

Already, Kaku explains, the world's foremost physicists and astronomers are searching for ways to test the theory of the multiverse using highly sophisticated wave detectors, gravity lenses, satellites, and telescopes. The implications of M-theory are fascinating and endless. If parallel worlds do exist, Kaku speculates, in time - perhaps a trillion years or more from now, as appears likely - when our universe grows cold and dark in what scientists describe as a big freeze, advanced civilizations may well find a way to escape our universe in a kind of "interdimensional lifeboat".

An unforgettable journey into black holes and time machines, alternate universes, and multidimensional space, Parallel Worlds gives us a compelling portrait of the revolution sweeping the world of cosmology.

©2006 Michio Kaku (P)2016 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"In Parallel Worlds, Michio Kaku brings his formidable explanatory talents to bear on one of the strangest and most exciting possibilities to have emerged from modern physics: that our universe may be but one among many, perhaps infinitely many, arrayed in a vast cosmic network. With deft use of analogy and humor, Kaku patiently introduces the reader to variations on this theme of parallel universes, coming from quantum mechanics, cosmology, and most recently, M-theory. Read this book for a wonderful tour, with an expert guide, of a cosmos whose comprehension forces us to stretch to the very limits of imagination." (Brian Greene, Professor of Theoretical Particle Physics, Columbia University, and author of The Fabric of the Cosmos and The Elegant Universe)
"Those who might enjoy a tour of cosmology, time travel, string theory, and the universe in 10 or 11 dimensions will find no better guide than Michio Kaku, a rare individual who has undertaken research in these subject areas yet also knows well how to present this intriguing, complex material in an engaging and easily assimilable style." (Donald Goldsmith, author of The Runaway Universe and Connecting with the Cosmos)
"A highly readable and exhilarating romp through the frontiers of cosmology." (Martin Rees, author of Our Cosmic Habitat and Our Final Century)

What members say

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Insight into Nature of that thing we live in

Much of the content is covered by similar volumes, but it is a mammoth summary of the state of cosmological play. Particularly strong on the long term future, it wil pose some awkward questions for those who believe supernatural deities designed it. Whether it is true or not, it is remarkable that a recently evolved primate has come up with these ideas, especially in a short femto period in the age of the universe.

6 people found this helpful

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Fascinating !

Michio Kaku has the ability to explain complex issues in cosmology in an accessible manner; this is mind boggling stuff which is totally absorbing .
The soft trans Atlantic narration by Marc Vietor was just right .

4 people found this helpful

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Brilliantly informative book

Awesome book, well researched and informative. Really gets you thinking and wanting more. At over 14 hours its not a quick listen however you will come away better informed and possible with a mind blown from all the possibilites of the universe. Beautifully narrated so easy to understand every word. Get it!

2 people found this helpful

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Brilliant

What a brilliant insight into the science behind parallel universes... I'll be reaching for the Hyperspace book next :/)

2 people found this helpful

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Wow!

Perhaps the greatest mind today. Utterly thought provoking, educational and a must read. Closing chapter provides the reader with very sage advice.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Dissapointed

I bought this book to get a better understanding of concepts of the multiverse. However at chapter 4 or 5 the author treats concepts such as the flat universe, the horizon problem and how inflation can lead to the multiverse veery badly. I've had to buy books to understand the topics in better detail. Now this could be because of the absence of diagrams (all technical audio books should come with the digital book IMHO and Audiable fails badly in this respect). I've been stuck on that one chapter for weeks. Another thing Auidable are completely incompetent in doing is labelling chapters properly. Audiablw should reject all books that don't label chapters correctly. It could be the author covers this better later on in the book. Another bad point is the readers in ability to pronounce the physicists names properly .... its painful to hear his mistakes all the time.

3 people found this helpful

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Top Class Popular Science

Brilliant overview of physics and cosmology. Advocates questionable string theory. Should provide epilogue on current advances.

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Great Theoretical Physics Lesson

There is a lot of theory and equations throughout the book which would be much easier to digest if it was written down (as in an physical book), but it is a well written book with lots of interesting theories and explanations of historical events with good insight into some of the leading physicists throughout time and how their theories and experiments led us to this point. I would certainly recommend this book to those with a inquisitive scientific outlook.

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Great read just have to stick through the obvious

Great but repeats a lot of statements which is good for some but needs more in debt on subjects great book like always

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wow

This book was amazing! A must read 4 anyone with an open mind! wow! cool

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  • Nicolas
  • 20-09-16

excellent book

the author covered a very wide horizon of cosmology with related subjects of quantum physics, relativity and other theories. he explains also the latest quantum theories like string theory, super symmetry and M theories that could be considered as the unified theories and their impact on cosmology. he also talks a lot about the future of humanity and the options that humanity would have to survive. very captivating.

11 people found this helpful

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  • SD
  • 04-09-16

Certainly provides some enlightening perspectives

I bought this book based on readers' comments and it fulfilled my needs to learn more. I thought the narrator did a fine job with a complex subject. I thought the first 3/4s of the book were at the right level and interesting but the last 1/4 of the book it seem to lose momentum on the subject and honestly I couldn't wait till it ended. Any time there were discussions on math, although it was probably fairly simple stuff, I found it hard to grasp without visually "seeing" it as I listened to the book in the car.

18 people found this helpful

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  • auramine
  • 31-08-16

A nice history of the cosmos.

I enjoyed the history of Physics that Kaku brings to this story. The ways he ties in the metaphysical with what is scientifically proven weaves a compelling tale of the meaning of life in the universe.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Corvin Rok
  • 11-08-16

riveting. understandable. but not detailed

I loved this book. I haven't read very much physics since the 80's and wanted to catch up on what has been learned and developed in the realm of cosmology and physics , relativity and quantum theories. this provided a good review of those areas and recent ideas. enjoyable.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Adam Evans
  • 16-03-18

One of my favorite science/physics books

This has been an absolute pleasure to listen to. It also has really good replay value, I already want to rewind back several chapters from the end re listen to the tail end of the book.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Arthur
  • 03-10-16

Tough Stuff

You would think the matter of this book would contain enthusiastic views on what's to come. Honestly, it provides a clear view of possibilities of what we may not considered to be options. GREAT Read and better also in audio.

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  • C.S. Wheatley
  • 01-09-16

A complete masterpiece of modern thoughts

This book was fascinating because not only did it clearly layout complicated scientific theories in a easy to understand why, it also left the sense of awe and wonder which so much of this genre of literature is devoid of. Although the author's opinion and views we're clear it was not opinionated. he laid out the different lines of thought and took them to their logical conclusion through each perspective. I would recommend anyone that is interested in physics for its own sake or one who is curious about the philosophical and Theological implications of the grand discoveries which it is made to read this book. If I could tell Michio Kaku thank you face to face for all of his great work I would.

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  • Fara
  • 14-09-16

Misleading title

What disappointed you about Parallel Worlds?

I was hoping for much more science. Instead there was plenty of philosophy and way too much religion.

23 people found this helpful

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  • Hassan Kimani
  • 25-07-16

Most Beautiful Exposition of the Cosmos

A balanced and thoughtful thesis on the universe with a proper and careful study of varying opinions and ideas. Michio comes across as honest well versed and balanced in his exposition. Truly marvelous. Such a beauty. To me it answered so many questions on theology and provided arguments that even the best modern religious scholars would struggle to think about. The mind is unconstrained by the dogmas and traditions that we found. Truly learning is better than inheriting.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Sara The Crazy Cat Lady
  • 22-08-16

Little bit over my head. Love Michio Kaku, but...

Would you consider the audio edition of Parallel Worlds to be better than the print version?

No idea. Probably in some ways, yes.

What could Michio Kaku have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

I loved the illustrations and examples he gave to relate the complicated concepts to everyday life. Would've liked more if possible. And to the layperson, I don't really care about ultra-specific details - but I understand he wanted to be thorough. It just made the book drag a little for me.

Which character – as performed by Marc Vietor – was your favorite?

Einstein.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. Mind would have exploded.

Any additional comments?

I'd look for the abridged version if you're just a layperson like me who likes to watch documentaries on space and is intrigued about the possibility of time travel and parallel worlds -- but is not well steeped in the topic. I like physics but I, by no means, am an expert in math or physics. I have a very basic grasp of space, time, and physics. In all, this book was over my head and not extremely enjoyable. But Michio Kaku is amazing and I am by no means bashing him! This is a great book, especially for those of you who may have more knowledge than I do in this department!! Just beware, layperson, this may get a little tedious to listen to.

10 people found this helpful