Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"A small slice through space": Review of The Universe in a Nutshell, byStephen Hawking. Reviewed by David Lindley. New Scientist, 17 November 2001,page 56.

This mostly positive review describes Stephen Hawking's latest popular workabout physics and what it can tell us about the nature of the universe.According to the review, the book sets aside superstrings, the rage of the1990s in favor of the so-called M-theory. "[M-theory's] fundamental elementsare branes, generalised geometric structures that include strings, surfaces,and higher-dimensional shapes," the review states. Although Hawking has a"deft sense of exactly how much to say," the reviewer found some of the book'somissions "misleading."

--- Allyn Jackson