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The Grand Design [Kindle Edition]

Stephen Hawking , Leonard Mlodinow
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (221 customer reviews)

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Book Description

When and how did the universe begin? Why are we here? Is the apparent 'grand design' of our universe evidence for a benevolent creator who set things in motion? Or does science offer another explanation? In The Grand Design, the most recent scientific thinking about the mysteries of the universe is presented in language marked by both brilliance and simplicity. Model dependent realism, the multiverse, the top-down theory of cosmology, and the unified M-theory - all are revealed here.

This is the first major work in nearly a decade by one of the world's greatest thinkers. A succinct, startling and lavishly illustrated guide to discoveries that are altering our understanding and threatening some of our most cherished belief systems, The Grand Design is a book that will inform - and provoke - like no other.

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Product Description


"This is mind-blowing stuff" (The Sunday Times)

Book Description

New answers to the ultimate questions of life from the world's most famous living scientist.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2274 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital (9 Sept. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00422LESE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (221 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #16,324 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
112 of 121 people found the following review helpful
Stephen Hawking's new book, "The Grand Design" (written together with Leonard Mlodinow), is his first popular science book for about ten years. It seems to have created quite a stir in the non-scientific press, although in reality the book is very much in line with our latest theories in cosmology. Science began with the ancient Greeks, and the book starts off with a summary of their ideas. After a gap of some 1,400 years, a scientific approach to the Universe was revived by men such as Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Descartes and Newton. Hawking goes on to describe the history of scientific advances since then, and introduces ideas of what is meant by reality and what constitutes a scientific theory. He introduces us to the mysteries of quantum mechanics and relativity, and explains how our understanding of the Big Bang is growing as a result of our studies of the cosmic microwave background radiation.

But the key part of the book comes when Hawking describes something called M-theory, the leading candidate for the "theory of everything" which it is hoped will unite the two (currently incompatible, but highly successful) theories of quantum mechanics and general relativity. Both M-theory and other strands of evidence increasingly point to the conclusion that our Universe is not, after all, the only universe. The implication of these latest theories is that there are billions - and probably an infinite number - of other universes, each with their own physical laws and physical constants. This is the theory of the Multiverse. At a stroke, the theory explains why there are features of our own Universe which make it suitable for life; this is simply because we could only ever have evolved in the tiny minority of universes with the right set of physical laws.

All in all, a fascinating read. If you want to give a mind-blowing Christmas present to somebody, this is the one.
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50 of 56 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed content 18 Feb. 2011
"Philosophy is dead", the authors declare very early on, and then roundly prove over the next few chapters why they could have done with the services of a good philosopher. Hawking is known, of course, for his ground-breaking science, but not for his analysis of the history of knowledge or the social progress of our culture. Unfortunately, a substantial part of this book is dedicated to those topics, and makes for a short-sighted and naive read. Once the writing turns to actual science, its value greatly increases: the major elements of relativity and quantum mechanics are summed up simply and clearly, then form the basis for explanations of newer work such as M-Theory. Hawking has written better about his (and others') work, but if you're looking for the most up-to-date and/or easily read version, then this book is worth its very reasonable cover price. It's a short and superficial book, however, so if you're looking for anything in-depth you are likely to be disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is a good read if you have some scientific understanding or are keen to learn. It is interspersed with humorous cartoons and occasional quips in text which made it an easier read for me.

As some other more eloquent reviewers than I have said it feels like you are left hanging at the end with little M-theory explanation. Another book explaining this more deeply would be most welcome!

To me it seems as if we are at a point in the theory that requires another Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking to make a leap to a new level.

Overall I felt the recent Horizon `What Is Reality?' on the BBC gave a better feeling for where we are at understanding our universe. Although they left us with the universe being a hologram idea which again smacks of physics needing a leap of understanding to a better model.

Certainly worth the read if you are looking for a summary of how we got to where we are now.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It didn't answer what it set out to do 2 May 2011
I found the book easily readable but didn't give me any new information. As a popular book it has to be simple and cannot go into much depth so I had already picked up what it had to say about quantum physics. Towards the end of the book it moves to using vague illustrations rather than proofs that the universe does not need a cause and to introduce M theory as something that could possibly explain things. He states that no one knows what M stands for and, having read the relavent parts several times I have little idea what it is. There certainly is no solid proof and the idea of gravity spontaneously generating something when there was no gravity is left so vague that I suggest M stands for myth. Stephen Hawkings is undoubtedly a brilliant scientist but the statement that philosphy is dead seems to be a statement of philosophy that suggests that he has moved from an unbiassed scientific.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
'The Grand Design' by Stephen W. Hawking is the new book is a brilliant scientist, a sort of sequel to his most famous book "A Brief History of Time" with which this wonderful writer and physicist due to his knowledge once again pleasantly surprised.

In this book that he made together with Leonard Mlodinow, Hawking has gone one step further than the issues being discussed in his previous works and grapple with some fundamental and ultimate questions of human origin.

Inside, Hawking asks the questions "Why is there something rather than nothing?", "Why are the laws of nature so finely tuned to allow the existence of a people?", "Is there a master plan of some supreme being who created us or is there a scientific explanation?"
And then he provides the answers to those questions.

"The Grand Design" is a kind of handbook on quantum physics and metaphysics for complete dummies, and in a great way Hawking speaks about the question of God's existence, especially because lately some have started labeling him as religious, along with some other well-known scientists.
So, it's amazing how these two authors managed to create a work with so many complicated ideas and transform them into an accessible book that is extremely easy to read.

Therefore, the 'The Grand Design' is a book that can be recommended to Hawking fans, physicists and other people who love science, but also to all those who want to hear new discoveries about centuries old existing human beliefs.

Although its volume doesn't suggest it, this is a great and informative book that must be read.
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Stephen Hawking and God 29 21 Jul 2011
The "God of the Gaps" argument is still silly, no matter who uses it. 26 13 Sep 2010
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