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The Great Beyond: Higher Dimensions, Parallel Universes and the Extraordinary Search for a Theory of Everything

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It is among the most elegant, radical, and tantalizing theories ever to be fashioned by the keen lathe of mathematical insight. For the better part of two centuries, the notion of higher dimensions beyond space and time has fueled the imaginations of scientists, writers, occultists, and more than a few con artists.

By turns triumphed, mocked, and misinterpreted, the concept of unseen directions outside the range of our senses may now present the only path toward unifying all of the forces of nature into a single cohesive expression: a theory of everything. The best way to understand the substance and impact of this mind-bending idea is to start from the beginning.

In The Great Beyond, the award-winning physicist, mathematician, and author Paul Halpern presents a comprehensive history of the foundations and development of this unfathomable yet irresistible construct. He traces the influence of multidimensional theory on science and society, profiling dozens of brilliant, idiosyncratic thinkers whose labors and insights have advanced, expanded, and popularized the theory. Readers will meet the mathematician who believed that geometry could explain the entire universe, the headmaster who imagined life in two dimensions, and the two theorists who independently discovered the "miracle" that forms the foundation of all modern multidimensional concepts.

At the core of this fascinating tale is Einstein’s famous quarrel with Heisenberg and Bohr, whose theories of uncertainty threatened the order that Einstein believed was essential to the universe. Halpern explains how this discrepancy between these two well-established theories drove Einstein to ponder the existence of a fifth dimension, and how his attempts to devise a unified field theory have influenced modern efforts, including M theory and the brane approach.

The Great Beyond will delight and astonish readers seeking a deeper appreciation of the most profound and controversial questions that confront modern science.

About the Author

PAUL HALPERN, Ph.D., is professor of physics and mathematics at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. He received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship award for the research that ultimately resulted in The Great Beyond. Halpern’s previous books include Time Journeys, Cosmic Wormholes, and The Cyclical Serpent.

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