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A Brief History Of Time: From Big Bang To Black Holes Paperback – 18 Aug 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 503 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (18 Aug. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857501003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857501004
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (503 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 118 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 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 18 Jan. 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a truelly amazing book it has to be said. Anyone interested in space and time travel etc must buy this book. It's not one of those books you buy and then never read, you'll be hooked in no time. Before you know it you will be understanding how space really works. Explained with amazing clarity by the true master of space. A must buy for anyone.
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Format: Hardcover
I started out with low expectations, i thought i was going to be overwhelmed by incomprehensible facts and figures. I would be lying if i said its an easy book to read, its not, you have to give it maximum attention or else you will miss bits, but for such a complex topic Hawking does an excellent job of making it manageable for those of us who aren't geniuses yet are mildly interested in the subject, and the illustrations make it even more so.
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Format: Hardcover
This book explains the concepts introduced in the "Brief history of Time" more clearly with the use of outstanding illustrations and graphs. People that read the original edition will now be able to understand the somewhat cryptic notions using beautiful representations of the microcosm and macrocosm. A must for people interested in science.
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Format: Hardcover
For anyone looking for a great, comprehensible explanation of the current state of the theories driving today's physics, this is it. Hawking has taken everything from the early history of thinking about the universe, its laws and composition, to the latest developments on black holes and string theory and placed it in a remarkably lucid set of explanations that detail the concepts behind all the mathematics that is so intimidating to most. This book is written without a single equation or a single statement on the order of "From the above, it is obvious that..." Instead, we proceed from the (comparatively) simple concepts about the everyday observable world of gravity, planets, and stars, travel carefully along the historical path of scientific observations as they modify and enhance the simple theories till we reach the world of quantum mechanics, the big bang, wormholes, and Grand Unified Field Theories. Each concept is fully explained, and with this expanded second edition, many of the concepts are beautifully illustrated with drawings and photographs.
And, possibly surprising to some people, as we enter the rarified air of today's theories, we see that the line between physics and philosophy is a very thin one, and ruminations about the origin of the Universe lead to discussions about God and fate. Here we see why Hawking is one of the premier physicists of today, as he obviously thinks in same kind of conceptual language that this book is written in, capable of looking at the meaning behind the mathematics and how it relates to us as humans.
Physics students and engineers may not find very much new here, but even they may benefit from the clear thought lines presented here, forcing a look at the meaning behind all the esoteric symbols that are their everyday working fare.
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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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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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