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on 12 May 2008
A very good book. Hawking wrote this book for the common reader with little or no knowledge of Physics. This make this book different and interesting. He gives the view of different scientists about the creation of this universe and the scientific explanation of the events in the history of time which made the universe look like as it is now. He also give the view of researchers about the predictions of how the Universe may come to an end.

Overall a really good book to read. Though there are still a lot of questions he left unanswered in the book but this only adds to the beauty of this book. It forces you to think and to make your own conclusions. I gave 4 stars to this book for two reasons. First it is written by a scientist and there are still some places in the book where he could not stop himself from explaining things in a pure scientific manner which give the book an air of a scientific research paper at times, which is not interesting for me at all, and will not be of any interest to anyone with limited knowledge of Physics. Second thing is that the book is a little old and research in the areas described in this book is now far ahead then the time this book was written. This makes this book a little old and some of the theories presented in the book are now proved wrong or improved by the later researchers.

However this does not really mean that the book is outdated and should not be read any more. This is still a very good book and it bridges the gap between the hard core physics and the common people.
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on 21 March 2015
Prepared to find this 'challenging' but the first hundred pages are very straightforward and most interesting
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on 23 December 2015
Simply written, and easy to understand even with no/or weak background in physics and astronomy !
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on 26 January 2014
Good but not as interesting as expected. For the common reader it went off on tangents and/or went far too technical. Assumed you already had a 3rd degree physics degree
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on 10 July 2008
There's something quite unique about this book - for all the hype it has as the book which stands out as a theoretical physicist trying to explain in layman terms what the universe is... it actuallly is!

In this, Hawking provides a bit of a history of our understanding of the universe and the Big Bang. Some of the content I expected but I was intrigued to read about the idea that before the Big Bang time didn't exist... it sounds rather fundamental to our lives really! I was also a little surprised to see how Hawking dealt with the view of creationists and in particular the way he tried to allow for the concept of a god being compatible with the notion of Big Bang.

While I found some of the book difficult to follow, overall I definitely felt I gained an albeit brief understanding into the views of the community of physicists to the origin of our universe.

There is a touch of arrogance to the writing, but then if you're one of the brightest people to have lived in our lifetime I guess that's justified!

Definitely recommended if you have the slightest interest in understanding what Big Bang is!
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on 29 August 2003
In this book Stephen Hawkings attempts to right a popular science book that the general population could understand, and at this I am sure he fails.
Whilst this book is good for a segment of the population with a good understanding already of Physics but without a grounding in Mathematics to allow them to understand most Physics papers that are published, it is nothing like simple enough for the average person with an education in Science only extending up to age 16. Stephen Hawkings writes eloquently about some very confusing principles, but after reading it through twice and re-reading many of the latter chapters where issues, and diagrams become complicated I would still be lying if I claimed to understand more than 60% of the content well.
All this being said, although the book is not as advertised a simple enough version for the general population's comprehension it is still a good book to think about.
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on 25 July 2011
Explains everything really well, even easy to follow even the hard stuff.

Just about to start reading his other book 'Universe in a nutshell' or something like that.
Just trying to reach that next subatomic high.
Makes you feel like your everywhere at once. Like an electron, a little round electron.

imagine it, like a tiny marble...

huh, i'd love a maltesser. :-)
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on 26 November 2015
A bit heavy going at times, but we'll written and definitely worth a read.
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on 2 March 2012
I am now over 90 years old and I have studied Physics for many years,since I left colledge, and since I recovered from a severe attack of Septicaemia I have found reading technical books very dificult but I am enjoying this book as although it is an advanced book about the Universe Stephen has made it all understandable for people like me.
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on 16 July 2010
I initially purchased this over 10 years ago to give myself an introduction to the subject but floundered after 50 pages.Since then I've read half a dozen books on astrophysics/quantum theory and on picking it up again finished it in a couple of sittings.This leads me to believe that the layman its aimed at should have at least some previous knowledge or exceptional IQ to completely understand it first off.Its not a book I'd recommend to start you off on this topic but it did clarify for me things that other authors could not communicate as succinctly.On that point the writing style and similes used are excellent and it all flows well and keeps you interested.
I'm not qualified enough to know the books technical validity, as it was written 20 years ago,but I wouldn't think it would be still in print if it was too outdated.Neither would the author have committed to print theories that where not substantial enough to stand the test of time or at least be the foundation or integral part of further theories.
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