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Excerpted with permission from Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality, by Max Tegmark. Available from Random House/Knopf. Copyright © 2014.

What's the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything? In Douglas Adams' science-fiction spoof “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy”, the answer was found to be 42; the hardest part turned out to be finding the real question. I find it very appropriate that Douglas Adams joked about 42, because mathematics has played a striking role in our growing understanding of our Universe.

The Higgs Boson was predicted with the same tool as the planet Neptune and the radio wave: with mathematics. Galileo famously stated that our Universe is a “grand book” written in the language of mathematics. So why does our universe seem so mathematical, and what does it mean? In my new book “Our Mathematical Universe”, I argue that it means that our universe isn’t just described by math, but that it is math in the sense that we’re all parts of a giant mathematical object, which in turn is part of a multiverse so huge that it makes the other multiverses debated in recent years seem puny in comparison.

Math, math everywhere!

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