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On the Shoulders of Giants: The Great Works of Physics and Astronomy [Hardcover]

Stephen Hawking
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

21 Nov 2002
World-renowned physicist and bestselling author Stephen Hawking presents a revolutionary look at the momentous discoveries that changed our perception of the world with this first-ever compilation of seven classic works on physics and astronomy. His choice of landmark writings by some of the world's great thinkers traces the brilliant evolution of modern science and shows how each figure built upon the genius of his predecessors. "On the Shoulders of Giants" includes, in their entirety, "On the Revolution of Heavenly Spheres" by Nicolaus Copernicus; "Principia" by Sir Isaac Newton; "The Principle of Relativity" by Albert Einstein; "Dialogues Concerning Two Sciences" by Galileo Galilei with Alfonso De Salvio; plus "Mystery of the Cosmos, Harmony of the World, " and "Rudolphine Tables" by Johannes Kepler. It also includes five critical essays and a biography of each featured physicist, written by Hawking himself.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 1280 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press,U.S. (21 Nov 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762413484
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762413485
  • Product Dimensions: 23.7 x 15.6 x 6.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 697,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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.

Product Description


..".Hawking gives these works a setting that is elegantly simple, and in its simplicity, effectively broadening." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Stephen Hawking's most recent bestseller is The Universe in A Nutshell. His book A Brief History of Time has sold nearly 10 million copies in 40 different languages.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful contribution 6 Nov 2004
As an astronomy student this is the kind of book I had always wanted: the actual texts of some of the most significant works in physics! Up to now these texts were simply not accessible -- unless, of course, you were willing to find a dusty copy from the 30's in a university library.
It is fascinating to read the ideas of Copernicus, Keppler, Galileo, and the 'Principia' of Newton.
You will certainly find a few surprises, like the use of musical notes to describe the movement of the planets!
Stephen Hawking enthusiasts beware! This book is probably not for you. The target audience is people with a background and very keen interest in physics, and those who are fascinated by the history of science, and not afraid of a bit of math.
The great works of Copernicus, Galileo and Newton are all presented in their full form; From Kepler's five volume work you will only find volume 5; Einstein's section, contains seven of what are considered to be his main scientific publications on Relativity.
About the book
* The language and illustrations are very accessible.
* Some of the tables are difficult to read.
* The font is small, but not too small.
* The table of contents is a bit too brief, especially with regard to Einstein's section
All in all, great value for money, and a unique opportunity to read these original works. For this alone it deserves its 5 stars.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The original papers. 14 July 2003
What makes this Stephen Hawkin book different is that it collects together in one place the original papers of the great masters, starting with Copernicus, and ending with Einstein. A generation ago, Eric Temple Bell suggested that we begin with the classics when learning math and science. Traditionally, it was thought that modern books based on the classics offered more effective ways of introducing or presenting the material, and as a result only a few students (and teachers) took the trouble of looking at the original classics, the central papers of the great masters. The true landmark papers. All the while, they collected dust on the shelves in the back rooms of libraries. Of the giants in science, five stand out, Copernicus, Galilei, Kepler, Newton, and Einstein. A chapter is reserved to each of the five. Each chapter begins with a lively biography which also serves to place the material in the context of the history of science. This is followed with the original papers themselves in translation. With this book, readers can compare Newton's laws from Principia with the fundamental papers of Einstein. It is collected in one place with commentary. Complaint: The print reproduction of Einstein's papers is not good, and some formulas unfortunately have been truncated in the reproduction. Hopefully that will be fixed in a second edition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What? 18 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fliberdy giberdy what what? I certainly aint clever enough to appreciate this book. I read the first couple of chapters and closed the book when my eyes started to bleed. I'm sure if you're a clever person and understand really long words then this is the book for you. Some wonderful quotes in there though. I'd love to have that kind of interlect.
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26 of 34 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Only for experts 6 Nov 2003
Collecting together the classic papers that made certain scientists famous is a great idea, but only if you have a degree in physics already. The original papers in here are mostly over the head of the average reader, who will buy the book thinking it is by Stephen Hawking. And the potted biographies of the superstars are just too short and sometimes inaccurate to be worth the cost. It would be much better to have a skilled writer explaining what these papers really mean.
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