In 200 highly illustrated pages, Hawking is pushing the frontiers of popular physics beyond relativity and quantum theory, past superstring theory and imaginary time, into a dizzying new world of M-theory and branes. It's a colossal venture--one Hawking is uniquely qualified to undertake--but it is crammed into far too small a space. When you consider the other rather good tomes being written on the nature of consciousness these days, the decision to limit The Universe in a Nutshell to the dictates of publishing rather than to the natural parameters of the material is an unfortunate one.
Worse, Hawking tries to paper over the complexity of his field. He rushes over the very concepts he should be helping us understand, only to belabour simple ideas, often by means of flip Star Trek metaphors. Also unfortunately, the illustrations--by turns trivial and opaque--mirror the faults of the text. The author's name alone will guarantee sales, but the book we long for--the long, ruminative, poetic celebration of Hawking's world--seems as far away as ever. --Simon Ings
From the Back Cover
One of the most influential thinkers of our time, Stephen Hawking is an intellectual icon, known not only for the adventurousness of his ideas but for the clarity and wit with which he expresses them. His phenomenal multi-million-copy bestseller A Brief History of Time introduced the fascinating world of theoretical physics to readers all over the world. Now, in a major new lavishly illustrated book, Hawking turns to the major breakthroughs that have occurred in the years since the release of his acclaimed first book. He brings to us the cutting edge of theoretical physics, where truth is often stranger than fiction, and explains in layman's terms the principles that control our universe.
Like many in the international scientific community, Professor Hawking is seeking to uncover the grail of science - the elusive Theory of Everything that lies at the heart of the cosmos. In The Universe in a Nutshell, he guides us on his search to uncover the secrets of the universe - from supergravity to supersymmetry, from quantum theory to M-theory, from holography to duality. In this most exciting intellectual adventure he seeks 'to combine Einstein's General Theory of Relativity and Richard Feynman's idea of multiple histories into one complete unified theory that will describe everything that happens in the universe'. He takes us to the wild frontiers of science where superstring theory and p-branes may hold the final clue to the puzzle.
The Universe in a Nutshell is essential reading for all those who want to understand the universe in which we live.
STEPHEN HAWKING is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, and is regarded as one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists since Einstein.
Acclaim for A Brief History of Time
'This book marries a child's wonder to a genius's intellect. We journey into Hawking's universe, while marvelling at his mind.' Sunday Times
'One of the most brilliant scientific minds since Einstein.' Daily Express
'He can explain the complexities of cosmological physics with an engaging combination of clarity and wit . . . He is a brain of extraordinary power.' Observer
'It is the publishing sensation of the last decade.' Spectator
'His mind seems to soar ever more brilliantly across the vastness of space and time to unlock the secrets of the universe.' Time Magazine
'Hawking clearly possesses a natural teacher's gifts - easy, good-natured humor and an ability to illustrate highly complex propositions with analogies plucked from daily life.' New York Times
'Genius unique, tragic and triumphant . . . Hawking takes us through the evolution of modern thinking on cosmology, from Aristotle and Copernicus, through Galileo and Newton, to Einstein and, indeed, Hawking himself.' Sydney Morning Herald