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Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays [Hardcover]

Stephen Hawking
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Book Club Associates; Book Club edition (1993)
  • ASIN: B002CHT172
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars extension to brief history of time 24 May 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Well i found this book very interesting. As a reader of a brief history of time this book is a must as it expands on many of the ideas introduced there leading to a better understanding of many of the concepts. Although it is only a collection of essays i think it makes the topics more digestible as subjects range from a personal account of hawking's childhood to a description of a baby universe created by a dying black hole! If you were fascinated by the brief history of time this book is definately worth the money.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Holes 24 Mar 2007
By Spider Monkey HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This is a great book to start with if you're feeling a little intimidated by Hawkings ideas, or have tried to read 'A Brief History...' and failed, (although I'd say that book is well worth persevering with). It covers a wide selection of essays about Hawkings theories, as well as his personal life and illness. The essays are short enough to not be too heavy to enjoy and they are mostly clear and informative. Overall this is a good read with some interesting ideas.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
The essays are drawn largely from various lectures delivered by Hawking over the years; the occasion of each is mentioned as it comes up. Since they were designed to be spoken, it's worth getting a good recording of these as well as the book itself. I recommend the audio edition narrated by Simon Prebble over that read by Connor O'Brien, although the Prebble recording omits "DESERT ISLAND DISCS". (O'Brien's reading is very stilted, while Prebble conveys Hawking's sense of humour properly.)
The first 3 essays, "Childhood", "Oxford and Cambridge", and "My Experience with ALS" are autobiographical, drawn from talks presented to various Motor Neurone Disease Societies in 1987, with material added in 1991. Much of this (particularly "My Experience with ALS") should be familiar to anyone who watched Errol Morris' A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME or read the transcript (STEPHEN HAWKING'S A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME: A READER'S COMPANION, edited by Gene Stone). To me, this material is most interesting taken together with the film and with Jane Hawking's MUSIC TO MOVE THE STARS. For example, the filmmakers followed up the professor's childhood friends who once bet a bag of sweets on whether he'd ever amount to anything, while Jane Hawking in her book discussed her theory that the professor (like their sons) is probably dyslexic, explaining why he learnt to read relatively late.
"Public Attitudes Toward Science" (October 1989) isn't a history of science, but instead (after pointing out the drawbacks - and impossibility - of putting the clock back to a 'simpler' age) a talk about the need for basic scientific literacy for the general public to be able to make informed decisions. Hawking is careful to make clear that understanding the concepts, not the math, is fundamental.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EVENT HORIZON 14 Nov 2006
By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
An event horizon is the boundary of a black hole, defined by the light that can reach out that far and no further. Hawking himself sometimes uses pictorial metaphors to illustrate abstruse mathematical concepts, and this one occurred to me by way of an analogy of the brilliant illumination that I am trying to persuade to shine out far enough to reach my own dim wits hovering hopefully in the outer darkness.

The whole `feel' of Hawking's discourses reminds me of the stories I have read about Einstein at work - placid, orderly and without excitement (or should I say `perturbation'?). Genius of this kind seems to be a kind of glorified knack - such minds just operate naturally with concepts of this kind, and there is no sense of effort or struggle. Sandwiched between some biographical material and a radio interview, the main material in this book is a collection of essays and lectures. They include Hawking's inaugural lecture at Cambridge where he occupies the chair of mathematics once held by Newton, and all are intended in the first place for an audience of his peers. On the other hand, where Newton and Einstein did not try to address the general public, Hawking, like Russell, seeks to do just that, and he does it superbly. The style of writing is both literate and unpretentious, and the occasional jokes are very good. Readers who, like myself, are intensely interested in the subject-matter but entirely lacking in natural aptitude for it, ought to find this book enormously helpful. There is a certain amount of repetition inevitably, but the more of that the better so far as I'm concerned. Any amateur trying to get a handle on mathematical concepts like these has to get into a mathematician's way of thinking as best he can and stop thinking as a layman.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brillant very good read 2 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
very good and interesting to read
it has very good insight things of space which I found very absorbing certainly good for people like me not very mathematical
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