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A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME [Paperback]

Stephen W. (Introduction by Carl Sagan) Hawking
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Bantam (1991)
  • ISBN-10: 0553401653
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553401653
  • ASIN: B003ZVCZ36
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)

More About the Author

Stephen Hawking is Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge and author of A Brief History of Time which was an international bestseller. His other books for the general reader include A Briefer History of Time, the essay collection Black Holes and Baby Universe and The Universe in a Nutshell.

In 1963, Hawking contracted motor neurone disease and was given two years to live. Yet he went on to Cambridge to become a brilliant researcher and Professorial Fellow at Gonville and Caius College. Since 1979 he has held the post of Lucasian Professor at Cambridge, the chair held by Isaac Newton in 1663. Professor Hawking has over a dozen honorary degrees and was awarded the CBE in 1982. He is a fellow of the Royal Society and a Member of the US National Academy of Science. Stephen Hawking is regarded as one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists since Einstein.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars hawking's universe 1 Sep 2005
By liam
Format:Paperback
Reading this book was a pleasure. I found the content presented in an understandable tongue that was story like in the way I found myself drawn into this history of the universe. Of course as a layman some of the science is beyond me, but only because i do not have the necessary background to fully comprehend the full implications of the theories discussed. However not once did I feel unable to continue with the book. It was well written, well researched and fully recommend this book to anyone interested in finding out what one of themost forefront physicists of ourtime has to say about the universe are part of.
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101 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction to difficult topics. 16 Sep 2005
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is a truly excellent book. Why? Because it covers a wide range of cutting edge physics and makes it more or less understandable to everyone.
I notice that one reviewer has called this book "A Con Job" and goes on to ask "If he [Hawking] is such a great genius why do we never come across his name in the history of science? What major breakthroughs has he made? ... One reviewer admitted that he [Hawking] did not understand more than 60% of the book. I certainly didn't understand more than 10%". Well let's answer the first part shall we? Stephen Hawking provided a mathmatical proof for the big-bang theory and has done extensive research into the workings of black-holes. Are these not major breakthroughs? I certainally think so. The fact that the reviwer understood less than 10% of the content perhaps says more about his intelligence that the quality of the book.
The book is fairly short (240 pages) and this is to its credit - it is long enough to introduce and explain difficult concepts, but short enough not to bore you.
All in all, this is an great book - give it a try!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good 23 July 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Physics and/or Maths. It is fair to say that this book goes into a greater amount of detail than may be desired by the general reader.
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye-opening. 30 Nov 2003
Format:Paperback
Like so many, I have always said I'd read Brief History. So i bit the bullet and delved in...
Now I'm not a mathematician, or a physisist. Not since GSCE's have i pondered over the equations that were set down over the last few hundred years. Luckily Stephen Hawking knew this when he wrote A Brief History of Time. In fact that was his driving force.
It proved to be, from the start, an enjoyable read. Doesn't really say much does it? "An enjoyable read", sort of reaction you'd have to a Spot the Dog book. Well that's how it starts. But I got through that to discover mind blowing theories and genuine enjoyment in reading Hawkings.
Yes there are a lot of things to get your head round, things that are complicated and at times uncomprehensible. But this is said in terms of altering your view on our world and universe, not in terms of being far too complicated and above us.
It's not for everyone, but if it's for you its an enthralling read. Not one to be left on the coffee table.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good science for non-scientists. 25 Oct 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Ever wonder how the Universe actually works, without having to know too many equations (well, none actually)? Well, this bookyells you. It brings the reader up to date on all the complicated scientific theories concerning BIG things, and doesn't get bogged down with complicated stuff that only scientists need to know. It contains only one equation, and that's only to label a point. An informative, intelligent, and surprisingly easy-to-read synopsis of todays astrophysics.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time is of the essence 20 Dec 2005
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
Format:Paperback
The mark of a true educator, which Stephen Hawking certainly is, is that he would take time (very valuable time, in his case) away from research and contemplation of the great mysteries of the universe to write a piece that would serve to help explain to the greater number of less-scientifically-adept persons the fruits and implications of modern scientific research from the cutting edge of physics. Hawking is ranked in popular and scientific thinking on a par with Einstein, and has motor neuron disability that severely restricts his ability to move, even to type or write, so, when he takes time to write something for general consumption, it is probably going to be worthwhile. And indeed, this is.
'Someone told me that each equation I included in the book would halve sales. I therefore resolved not to have any equations at all. In the end, however, I did put in one equation, Einstein's famous equation. I hope that this will not scare off half of my potential readers.'
Hawking begins by exploring the large scale structure of the universe (time being part of the `fabric' of the universe, in spacetime), the connections of space and time as a relatively new concept in thinking of the universe, and the way the universe `acts' (cosmological dynamics). From there, he explores the universe at a very basic level, as elementary particles and forces of nature, introducing quarks.
'There are a number of different varieties of quarks: there are thought to be at least six "flavours", which we call up, down, strange, charmed, bottom and top. Each flavour comes in three "colours", red, green and blue. ...We now know that neither the atoms nor the protons and neutrons within them are indivisible.
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