This post is essentially a quick recommendation for a book. For some reason (I am not sure if error or intentional) the book seems to have been made available online here, I suppose scientists are not exactly businessmen but read away! The Little Book of String Theory is written by Stephen S Gubser and is aptly titled – it really is a little book all about string theory. One thing I will say is I think if you know quite literally nothing about string theory you might wish to look over some of the most basic concepts first – although the book does start reasonably basic. Here is a little video of the author discussing his book.
Personally I think the most important thing this book did for me was it allowed me to better understand the history of how string theory developed and to better understand the barriers to our present understanding. When people challenge why string theory hasn’t either been proven or disproven in so many decades this book will arm you with a much better response. This is always a good thing to be able to discuss with people, because you do look fairly silly when you can’t defend something that others completely dismiss.
One of the great things about this book is it is totally stuffed full of metaphors, which you may or may not have gathered I love. It is in itself a very short introduction but I think that in itself it is what is needed; for a topic so complex it is incredibly daunting to try to understand the mathematics this is a really really readable introduction. If anyone has heard of or read about string theory and is toying with the idea of delving deeper into it this is the definitive place to start. Once you have read this book you will be able to discuss the key themes of string theory with greater confidence You will not be in a position to contribute to the field, it contains none of the mathematics required to this. I think for most of us this will do for now?
Book score: 9/10
1 mark taken away simply because at times I found the book went on slight tangents into Gubsers life; but I forgive him I do the same!