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Andrew Zimmerman Jones

Susskind Presents the Theoretical Minimum

By February 11, 2013

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Cover of the book The Theoretical MinimumReaders of this blog may well be familiar with Leonard Susskind, one of the physicists considered a father of string theory and who co-discovered the holographic principle. He is well known for taking a firm stance against Stephen Hawking on whether or not black holes cause information to vanish from our universe. And for the last decade or so, he's been advocating the scientists could apply the anthropic principle to make scientific predictions about the physical parameters of our universe.

So it's safe to say that Leonard Susskind is something of an outside-the-box thinker.

In his new book, The Theoretical Minimum: What You Need to Know to Start Doing Physics, Susskind has once again shown himself to be willing to break with traditional ways of doing things ... because he's written a popular-science book that does not shy away from the mathematics. Rather, it instead embraces the mathematics as the core explanatory vehicle. Very few anecdotes, virtually no drawings ... just lots and lots of equations along with clear explanations of how physicists use these equations to understand the way the universe (or, at least, our portion of it) operates.

This book is definitely not for everyone, but for the reader who really wants to understand physics - and who isn't afraid of confronting some complex mathematics equations (including even some calculus!) - this would be the book to start out in. For more details on who should and who should not read this book, read our book review. (Yes, that's right ... I'm talking to all you amateur scientists out there!)


February 11, 2013 at 11:03 pm
(1) connor faccone says:

i don’t know anything about string theory, but as for the theory on black holes i think that information doesn’t vanish from existence because of the law that matter can’t be either created or destroyed. (but honestly i’m only commenting on this for a class).

February 21, 2013 at 7:21 am
(2) M. E. Isma'eel says:

The Four Big Mistakes in Modern Physics, that should be corrected

At the Macrocosm Scale
Physicists separate the Space Fabric (or the grid) FROM the Celestial Objects and the Fundamental Building Blocks (elementary particles).

At the Microcosm Scale
Physicists treat every fundamental building block (elementary particle) of the universe as a Shell of an Egg, and they have to smash or destroy this shell by head on collision to see what is inside?

At the String Scale
All elementary particles electrons, photons, neutrinos, quarks, and the rest owe their existence to differences in the vibrations of strings, i.e. different frequencies correspond to different elementary particles.

At the religious Scale
The Curse of the Willful Ignorance and the Curse of Willful Blindness are the characteristics (or the attributes) of fanatical people!

February 25, 2013 at 7:13 pm
(3) Patrick says:


Just ordered Susskind’s new book and awaiting delivery. I will give my amateur review following consumption.

Pat :-)

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