THE SHAPE OF INNER SPACE won the Bronze Medal of the 2010 Book of the Year Awards

  • Created: 2012-04-27
The Shape of Inner Space won the Bronze Medal of the 2010 Book of the Year Awards.
————Brif introduction of THE SHAPE OF INNER SPACE————

String theory says we live in a ten-dimensional universe, but that only four are accessible to our everyday senses. According to theorists, the missing six are curled up in bizarre structures known as Calabi-Yau manifolds. In The Shape of Inner Space, Shing-Tung Yau, the man who mathematically proved that these manifolds exist, argues that not only is geometry fundamental to string theory, it is also fundamental to the very nature of our universe.

Time and again, where Yau has gone, physics has followed. Now for the first time, readers will follow Yau’s penetrating thinking on where we’ve been, and where mathematics will take us next. A fascinating exploration of a world we are only just beginning to grasp, The Shape of Inner Space will change the way we consider the universe on both its grandest and smallest scales.


There is a certain irony running through this book that one of the smallest things you can possibly imagine--six-dimensional geometric spaces that may be more than a trillion times smaller than an electron--could, nevertheless, be one of the defining features of our universe, exerting a profound influence that extends to every single point in the cosmos. This book is, in many ways, the story of those spaces, which physicists have dubbed "Calabi-Yau manifolds." It tells how one of us, Yau, managed to prove the existence, mathematically, of those spaces, despite the fact that he had originally set out to prove that such spaces could not possibly exist. It then goes on to explain how this mathematical proof, which had initially been ignored by physicists (partly because it was steeped in difficult, nonlinear arguments), nevertheless made its way into the center of string theory, which now stands as the leading theory of the universe and our best hope yet of unifying all the particles and forces observed--and yet to be observed--in nature.

Of course, none of this could have been foretold more than a half century ago when a man named Eugenio Calabi--the first half of the Calabi-Yau duo--proposed that there could be multidimensional spaces with properties so special that many mathematicians, including one of this book's authors, considered them "too good to be true." Calabi had not been thinking about physics at the time, in the early 1950s, when he advanced the famous conjecture named after him. Following the proof of the Calabi conjecture, we have learned many new and wonderful things in both physics and mathematics--all of which suggest that Calabi-Yau spaces are not only too good to be true, as the skeptics used to say, but that they may be even better.