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Our Mathematical Universe

My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality by Max Tegmark

10:55am, March 19, 2014

Math is everywhere: medicine, sports, banking, gambling, National Security Agency espionage.

And then there’s science, which has adopted math as the preferred method of description for life, nonlife and the entire physical universe. Math does a decent enough job at this to inspire wonder among physicists about why it works so well. The answer isn’t obvious, but Tegmark thinks he knows: It’s because reality is math. In fact, he contends, all mathematical structures are real. The internal reality of human perceptions is merely a pale approximation of the true external reality embodied in one of those mathematical structures.

It’s fascinating speculation, presented engagingly. But it’s unfortunately more than 200 pages into the book before he actually begins to discuss his point. The first half of the book is a

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