You are here

Shing Tung Yau Expostulates on the Shape of Inner Space

September 17, 2010 

A new book by Fields medalist Shing-Tung Yau  tells the story of how physics met geometry and a new picture of the universe has emerged.

Although four dimensions are accessible by our senses, string theory postulates a ten-dimensional universe. Theoretically, those six other dimensions are curled up in structures called Calabi-Yau manifolds.

In The Shape of Inner Space, Yau and coauthor Steve Nadis explain, for example, how the geometry of Calabi-Yau manifolds may represent the key to understanding gravity and comprehending the idea of coexisting universes; and what a ten-dimensional universe and an eleven-dimensional universe (as posited by M-theory) would be like. 

“Geometry is one of the main avenues available to us for probing the universe,” write the authors. Geometry "not only deserves a place at the table alongside physics and cosmology, but in many ways it is the table," they say. 

The book is a "fascinating first-hand account of how the math underlying string theory was discovered," said Steven Strogatz (Cornell University) in the book's Amazon review. “Yau and ace science writer Nadis have teamed up to show the rest of us the deep geometry that just might lie at the heart of the universe," he continued. 

For more, see the Math in the News item "Mathematician Shing-Tung Yau Profiled in Discover Magazine" (May 21, 2010).

Source: Astronomy Magazine (September 13, 2010)




Start Date: 
Friday, September 17, 2010