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The Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe Hardcover – Jun 2002


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: New Millennium Press (Jun. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1893224546
  • ISBN-13: 978-1893224544
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 13.7 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 574,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

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Review

Stephen Hawking's The Theory of Everything is a short book that can act as an introduction to the subjects of cosmology raised by modern science, but the book is only that; I preferred his Brief History of Time to this work because it was longer, more detailed, and covered more ground. If you are looking for a very basic introduction to the current thinking of astrophysicists, this is a good book; if you really want to wrestle with the subject at length, you should buy a Brief History of Time, or one of Paul Davies works, such as About Time. If you are looking for a good lecture series on physics, Richard Feynman's Six Easy Pieces and its sequel, Six Not So Easy Pieces is really the finest of this genre. That being said, the book does a good job in outlining the basic subject matter, discussing the development of the Big Bang theory, and the implications of both the general theory of relativity and quantum physics on the formation of the universe. Hawking is at his best when discussing singularities -- the points of the universe, such as black holes, where the laws of physics break down. --By D. W. Casey on June 27, 2002

This is a collection of seven related lectures by Hawking originally published in 1996 under the title, The Cambridge Lectures: Life Works. He does not cover as much ground here as in did in A Brief History of Time, but what he does cover he does so in a charming and engaging style. There are some few statements here that could be interpreted as less than modest--although not by me--and a mistaken prediction or two, which may be a reason that Hawking is not pleased with this book's publication. He might also object to the title, since neither a "Theory of Everything" nor a conclusive answer to the origin and fate of the universe are presented. However, Hawking does address these questions, and his expression is interesting to read and has the agreeable characteristic of being laconic. There are no equations in the book, no mathematics as such, and everything is explained in language that would be intelligible to a high school student. There are the usual droll Hawking jokes about God and His intentions, facetious, epigram-like understatements (I have done a lot of work on black holes, and it would all be wasted if it turned out that black holes do not exist. p. 66) and witty asides about the convergence of politics on physics, as when he mentions a particle accelerator the size of the Solar System that "would not be funded under current economic conditions." --By Dennis Littrell on March 23, 2003 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

89 of 92 people found the following review helpful By John H on 22 Mar. 2007
Format: Hardcover
Stephen Hawking's home page states that he hasn't endorsed this book and that "a complaint was made to the Federal Trade Commission in the US in the hope that they would prevent the publication". The site urges people "not to purchase this book in the belief that Professor Hawking was involved in its creation."
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By I. Allen on 6 Mar. 2008
Format: Hardcover
Very disappointed in this book as it is extracts from previous books. I have sent it back I am that disappointed !
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Graham R on 12 Mar. 2015
Format: Paperback
For anyone who has read Hawking's Books and others in a similar style, the question either implicit or occasional explicit, is: "Is there a God?" . The temptation in these books is to see the universe as a set of rules, some of them not yet known or understood, but rules nevertheless, which can one day explain everything. However, dear reader, I invite you to perform a simple test: Lift up your arm and point it in any direction you like. In doing so you will have caused atoms in the universe to move from Point A to Point B. AND no mathematical principle, or law of physics, can ever predict this movement or event, the speed the atoms moved or exactly where they ended up in time and space. Life remains the grand exception to any principle, rule or law. Maybe there is a God after all.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 18 Oct. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This work is a re-iteration of much previously published material and I didn't find anything new to me. Rather disappointing!
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By RR Waller TOP 500 REVIEWER on 22 Aug. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"One evening in November ... I started to think about black holes as I was getting into bed." (P 75) As one does. He points out that, with his disability, getting into bed takes a long time.
This is typical of the way Hawking mixes biographical details and scientific, astro-physical thinking of the rarest kind in this little book, but "little" only in the physical sense as it opens the mind to the vastness of the universe.
The notion of the widely-accepted expanding universe led him to consider (with Roger Penrose) the reversing of time and to what it would lead, i.e. a big-bang, singularity. This was his work until 1970 and that November evening. Since then his pioneering thinking on black holes has provided some startlingly original ideas.
The "theory of everything" is the physicists' Aladdin's Cave, Holy Grail or, in Hawking's case, tomorrow's desk job.
Disappointing in some ways, i.e. its brevity and (for Hawking's followers) its repetition but it is worth the investment in time and, short as it is, that is not long.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As I am almost blind I did not find this illustrated book useful. I was pleased with previous books bought for Amazon' s Kindl because I could read then in very large print on screen. However the 'illustrations' in this book did not enlarge and any associated print was in poor 'contrasting colours' and I could not read it. I also found that within a few months my previous Kindle books purchased (all on Astronomy and Astrophysics which I am studying) no longer wotked on my Amazon kindle. This is very disappointing as I go back to read even the simplest books again to help my poor memory and aid my studies.
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