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A Brief History Of Time: From Big Bang To Black Holes Paperback – 1 Apr 1995


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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; New Ed edition (1 April 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553175211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553175219
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Stephen Hawking, one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists in history, wrote the modern classic A Brief History of Time to help non-scientists understand fundamental questions of physics and our existence: where did the universe come from? How and why did it begin? Will it come to an end, and if so, how? Hawking attempts to deal with these questions (and where we might look for answers) using a minimum of technical jargon. Among the topics gracefully covered are gravity, black holes, the Big Bang, the nature of time and physicists' search for a grand unifying theory. This is deep science; the concepts are so vast (or so tiny) that they cause mental vertigo while reading, and one can't help but marvel at Hawking's ability to synthesize this difficult subject for people not used to thinking about things like alternate dimensions. The journey is certainly worth taking for as Hawking says, the reward of understanding the universe may be a glimpse of "the mind of God". --Therese Littleton, Amazon.com

Review

"'Master of the Universe...One scientist's courageous voyage to the frontiers of the Cosmos'" (Newsweek)

"'This book marries a child's wonder to a genius's intellect. We journey into Hawking's universe, while marvelling at his mind'" (The Sunday Times)

"'He can explain the complexities of cosmological physics with an engaging combination of clarity and wit...His is a brain of extraordinary power'" (Observer)

"'To follow such a fine mind as it exposes such great problems is an exciting experience'" (The Sunday Times)

"'One of the most brilliant scientific minds since Einstein'" (Daily Express)

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First Sentence
A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 56 people found the following review helpful By liam on 1 Sep 2005
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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103 of 113 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Sep 2005
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 By A Customer on 23 July 2000
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James Barrett on 15 Jan 2010
Format: Paperback
I am a first year undergraduate physics student and this book is one of the ones that really got me in to physics. The idea covered and the questions raised are deep and interesting, and the topics are covered at a fairly natural pace for somebody who is intelligent enough to be able to understand all the concepts covered.

The reason this book loses a mark is for the writing style. The paragraphs are to long and the writing doesn't really flow in the way that other good cosmology books do. Hawking also neglects to use SI form for his numbers (i.e 10^12 rather than "one thousand billion") which, in all honesty, would be fairly easily explained to somebody who is then going to go on and understand the rest of the book.

He also seems to make a special effort to include God in his theories, which would be alright if it seemed natural, but in this case it seems bolted on so as to avoid controversy.

All in all a cracking book, but let down a bit by the authors style.
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 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 By A Customer on 25 Oct 1998
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 By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME on 20 Dec 2005
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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