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Stephen Hawking For Beginners Paperback – 1996


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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Totem Books (1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1874166250
  • ISBN-13: 978-1874166252
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 1.2 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 414,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Understanding the master

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By Neutral VINE VOICE on 16 Dec 2009
Format: Paperback
C P Snow observed that the humanities and the sciences represented two cultures neither of which understood, or made an effort to understand, the other. This bright little book explains why. The nature of relativist cosmology (studying the universe by applying the theory of relativity) is as clear as mud. As a theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking, like Einstein, was at home with abstractions which, in some instances, have been proved to be an accurate predictor of events. Intellectually he is brilliant with an IQ in the region of 250 and a mind he has trained to work out complex problems in his head. As a human being his appreciation of other humans has been hindered, not simply by his motor neurone disease, but by his egotistical personality which led to two divorces.

Hawking was never backward in coming forward. He publicly questioned Fred Hoyle's Steady State theory of the Universe and built on Roger Penrose's singularity theory by applying it to the beginning of the Universe which was called, in derisory terms, the Big Bang. "The major claim of the theory is that in the large scale average the Universe is expanding in a nearly homogeneous way from a dense early state." It remains cosmology's prevailing paradigm. The ideas underlying the Big Bang theory are superbly illustrated, even if the underlying theory remains opaque.

In 1974 Hawking discovered that Black Holes (stars imploding at the end of their lives) radiate like thermodynamic bodies. He also presented a model of the early Universe which he called the no boundary proposal, suggesting that there was no beginning and no moment of creation which brought the Universe into being. This was in line with Hawking's metaphysical thinking which was more atheistic than agnostic.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 Sep 2000
Format: Paperback
Introducing Stephen Hawking by J.P. McEvoy and Oscar Zarate
Stephen Hawking is a scientist whom in most people inspires a combination of pity and envy. Pity for the fact that he is trapped in a living prison that is his own body, and envy for the fact that he possesses a mind that has the ability to dissect the universe in a way that the rest of us could not even hope to do.
J. P. McEvoy and Oscar Zarate have succeeded in putting together a book that accomplishes the two tasks of analysing the life and mind of a great scientist and of outlining how this mind has been able to dissect the theories of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. A task that has resulted in Hawking discovering how these very distinct and revolutionary theories seem to overlap or even contradict each other.
I found this book to be both interesting and easy to follow. It showed me the tragedy of a young man whom had his body taken from him, and who was therefore forced to rely on his mind alone. It also showed me how that very same man succeeded in utilising this tragedy to his advantage, which has resulted in the continued advancement of physics.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in physics and/or in the life of Stephen Hawking. It is a good read and I found the book difficult to put down.
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By RR Waller TOP 500 REVIEWER on 15 Sep 2011
Format: Paperback
Just as at a dinner party or other gathering, being introduced to someone does not necessarily mean an intimate - in the best sense of the word - relationship will follow so, "Introducing Hawking" does not guarantee leaving as a cosmological scientist or an astrophysicist of any great standing. Fortunately, as an arts graduate, knowing my own scientific limitations, I approached it with enthusiasm but not high expectations. Unlike one of the reviewers, I knew it WAS rocket-science and I did not anticipate the highest levels of astrophysics to be explained in a few simple sentences.

I have read a lot on science and astrophysics (Most recently Brian Cox's "Why does E=mc2?" - and was fairly familiar with the lower regions; books "introducing" subjects or writers are sometimes more complicated than the original but I approached this with hope.

I enjoyed it, learned a lot and knew there were areas I still regard as mysteries; however, along the way, I found the drawings and sketches helpful and graphic in their attempts to simplify the extraordinarily complex.

I garnered more terminology and felt I was beginning to think more in the right way. Einstein commented on one occasion that he rarely thought in words but also that imagination was essential for a scientist. I have the imagination and the words, it is the rest I lack but this book helped.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Sep 2001
Format: Paperback
I was disappointed with this book; it's too difficult for the non-mathematical reader. Obviously cosmology is a complex subject, but I'm sure it could have been explained more simply. McEvoy insists on filling the book with long algebraic formulae and often uses specialist language without defining it. After reading this book, my grasp of the subject remains tenuous. A missed opportunity.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Excellent, humorous introduction to Hawking & modern physics 19 Oct 1998
By chris@scratchie.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
After picking this up in a bookstore in Chicago, I couldn't stop reading it after I had started. The book combines interviews with Hawking along with biographical information and excellent cartoon illustrations and black & white photos to explain how modern thoughts on physics and black holes were developed. I've used some of the information from this book to teach my high school Physics class about black holes, and I hope to use it more in the future. The book sort of ends without much explanation of the COBE background explorer, but other than that, it's full of essential information presented in a format that is easy and fun to read.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Aaah, so thats how space time works..... 15 Dec 2000
By Mr. Daniel Growcott - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Cartoons, comic book style, sumo wrestlers - all these will from now on be associated with astronomy and quantum theory, thanks to this book. If like me you are just reading for general interest this book will explain it all, but without bogging it down with detail. A good read, and now I feel confident to read Hawkings book 'A brief history of time'.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Outstanding contribution to the popular understanding of Stephen Hawking and modern physics 15 July 2008
By Charles Ashbacher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is impressive in the amount and complexity of physics it delivers in an understandable manner. It starts with the physics of Galileo and Newton, moves through relativity and then ends with quantum mechanics. The goal is of course to present the advances in physics made by Stephen Hawking and a combination of cartoons and text is used.
The authors also do not make the major mistake of avoiding equations at all costs; they use them when necessary and explain them well. Combining this with the clear exposition of the very complicated principles of physics and this book is an outstanding contribution to the popular understanding of the life of Hawking and modern physics.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Awesome!!! 18 Oct 2010
By Viviana S. Ruano - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has a comic book feel to it which makes it enjoyable, easy to follow, and hard to put down. This book is perfect for visual learners and makes it easy to relate to. Definitely recommend this book for class or just to expand ones own knowledge, its really a great book!!!
harrowig black holes 1 Oct 2010
By abba-kurara - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
McEvoy & Zarate's Introducing Stephen Hawking (ISH) is as clear as clarity gets. I came to it well read in the history of science in general and of mathematics and physics in particular as well as all manner of out-of-date textbooks with all the pain that such reading entails. Though to read is not to comprehend, the bit of light that trickles through is a keen pleasure. Habit being a daunting foe as well as a mightily generous friend, I am slowly but surely clambering onto a seat whence I can read physics and poetry with near equal bewilderment and illiteracy and innumeracy. It helps to love staring at text--even in letters or ideograms that look like bad jokes.

ISH is not only easier and clearer than Paradise Lost or the Iliad, it covers larger ground in a tenth the length of either. The book has nailed in place for me all the primary images from Sig. Galileo to Hawking. Git the book, read it, and you'll experience a similar gratitude to the one I have toward McEvoy & Zarate. And, Hurray for Great Britania for her obsession with Introducing... (I ain't no Brit either. Not by a long shot)
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