Fearful Symmetry

Fearful Symmetry: the Search for Beauty in Modern Physics

 Not to be confused with Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger!

Princeton University Press published an updated edition of my book Fearful Symmetry, with a new chapter on the theory of superstring and branes.

Two Princeton editions of Fearful Symmetry
Translations of Fearful Symmetry; some more translations


You can read a few excerpts from the book

What reviewers said: 
"Conveys the religious beliefs of theoretical physicists with far more accuracy than Fritjof Capra did in The Tao of Physics ... The first popular book to specifically focus on the search for beauty in physics, and it has no competitor." -- The New York Times Book Review 

  • "The number of books devoted to explaining the new physics to us laymen has grown into a torrent in recent years. Indeed, the 1980s marked a golden age in popular scientific writing, of which Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time ... is only the most famous. Perhaps none has succeeded better than A. Zee, who, in his first book Fearful Symmetry, established a reputation for clear and understandable explanation mixed with abundant (and sometimes corny) good humor."--Kansas City Star 
  • "Excellent ... done with such infectious enthusiasm that one can't help but smile." -- The Scientist 

    • "To a layman like myself, totally unversed in modern theoretical physics, Zee's book comes as an illumination. Once having grasped the idea of symmetry as an aesthetic and intellectual principle, I found myself, under his guidance, contemplating aspects of the design of the universe of which I never had the faintest glimmer."--John Rupert Martin, Marquand Professor of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University 

      "Fearful Symmetry tells the story of modern physics and contemporary physicists in a most understandable and vivid way. It makes the `fearful' symmetry simple and accessible, and the burning tigers lively and human. An excellent rendition and an outstanding achievement."--T. D. Lee, Nobel Laureate in Physics 

      "Professor Zee explains with clarity, humor, and sensitivity the most profound issues in the physicist's search for an understanding of the universe. This can be done effectively only by someone who truly understands the subject as deeply as he does." -- Murph Goldberger, former president of the California Institute of Technology and former director of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton 

      "I know of no book of this sort written more informally and with such humor."....Martin Gardner, author of numerous books on science. 

      "A masterpiece of popular science exposition ... I was enthralled." -- Heinz Pagels, author of The Cosmic Code 

      "A small gem we can see deeply into with small effort and great pleasure."--Robert Schrieffer, Nobel Laureate in Physics 

      "An exegesis (that) brilliantly constructs the universe." -- Kirkus Review 

    • "I sat down and read it through straightaway. It's truly splendid. Joan and I both like that lady architect who is the real heroine in the book." -- Sam Treiman, Higgins Professor of Physics, Princeton University

    You can listen to Fearful Symmetry read by an actor with a beautiful voice on a tape made by the Library of Congress for their Books for the Blind program and available from your local public library.

    Lectures to the general public