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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finally I can understand,
By A Customer
This review is from: A Brief History Of Time: Tenth Anniversary Edition: From the Big Bang to Black Holes (Hardcover)The content is mind bending, the explanations are simple for such complicated issues. I feel that he rambles, and tries too hard to show many sides of the coin at the same time, but without a doubt, the most interesting read I have had for a long time. I would definately recommend it.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for for the layperson of cosmology,
By A Customer
This review is from: A Brief History Of Time: Tenth Anniversary Edition: From the Big Bang to Black Holes (Hardcover)A disagree with another reviewer who insists on seeing mathematical formulae. You have missed the point, mathematics is not required for understanding principles only for proving them. I do not believe this would add anything to the content for the lay reader who it was intended for.
The importance of this book cannot be underestimated in its ability to fundamentally shift the common mans (or womans) perceptions of the world around them. You will rarely feel as close to understanding your god (whom or whatsoever it may be) and his work.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exploring the mind of God,
By A Customer
This review is from: A Brief History Of Time: Tenth Anniversary Edition: From the Big Bang to Black Holes (Hardcover)Sometimes we are used to study physics like mathematics, like an abstract subject. But what happens when we take our equations, our knowledge of the nature and we put them together, creating a unitarian view of the world around us? We are not just studying an equation, we are studying physics, the Universe's behaviour and, finally, understanding the meaning of it all. And Hawking does make this happen without any unusual/tough matematical formula!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time is of the essence...,
'Someone told me that each equation I included in the book would halve sales. I therefore resolved not to have any equations at all. In the end, however, I did put in one equation, Einstein's famous equation. I hope that this will not scare off half of my potential readers.'
Hawking begins by exploring the large scale structure of the universe (time being part of the `fabric' of the universe, in spacetime), the connections of space and time as a relatively new concept in thinking of the universe, and the way the universe `acts' (cosmological dynamics). From there, he explores the universe at a very basic level, as elementary particles and forces of nature, introducing quarks.
'There are a number of different varieties of quarks: there are thought to be at least six "flavours", which we call up, down, strange, charmed, bottom and top. Each flavour comes in three "colours", red, green and blue. ...We now know that neither the atoms nor the protons and neutrons within them are indivisible. So the question is: What are the truly elementary particles, the basic building blocks from which everything is made?'
From this discussion Hawking proceeds to black holes (and the fact that they aren't so black and permanent as popular belief holds them to be), which circles back around to the origin and destiny of the universe (which relates back to the large-scale structure), which ultimately brings us to time. This is where things begin to get interesting.
'When one tried to unify gravity with quantum mechanics, one had to introduce the idea of "imaginary" time. Imaginary time is indistinguishable from directions in space. If one can go north, one can turn around and head south; equally, if one can go forward in imaginary time, one ought to be able to turn around and go backward.'
Hawking explains variations of the thermodynamic, psychological and cosmological laws that regulate the direction of time's arrow, which, despite the theoretical flexibility of time with regard to scientific principles, always apparently goes in one direction.
Finally, Hawking explores the most current topic in theoretical physics: unification theories, which may or may not be a wild goose on the loose. Hawking also explores what such a grand unified theory (also called sometimes the `theory of everything') would mean, and what it wouldn't mean. But Hawking assures us that the quest for understanding is worthwhile even it won't be the final word on everything.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fate of Space and Time: Blackholes to Big Crunch,
This review is from: A Brief History of Time: Updated and Expanded Tenth Anniversary Edition: 10th Anniversary Ed (Paperback)This is one of the early books written for those who prefer words to equations to understand cosmology of blackholes. The author attempts to answer basic questions such as; was there a beginning of time? Is there an end to the universe? What are similarities of blackholes, singularity, and Big Crunch? Is the universe infinite? Or does it have boundaries? What are the effects of the critical value of the universe's density on its rate of expansion? What is the role of God in the creation of the universe and how it can be evaluated by the anthropic principle? Did God creat laws of quantum mechanics and theory of relativity and let it evolve itself without leaving an option for him to intervene? How did he choose an initial state or configuration of the universe? What were the boundary conditions at the beginning of time? The author reviews the literature that includes Newton's laws of gravitational force, Einstein's theory of relativity, and quantum mechanics. Problems arise when one combines these theories to understand the four natural forces; the electromagnetic force; the strong and weak nuclear forces; and the gravitational force by one unified field theory (Quantum theory of gravity, and Superstring Theory). This theory must unify the forces of the cosmos and forces of microcosm so that it can explain the grand plan of God in the creation of heaven and earth. The author describes quite a few interesting anecdotes in academic research: The first experimental evidence in support of Einstein's theory of relativity contained errors that were as great as the effect they were trying to measure. In 1920s it was supposed that there were only three men who understood theory of relativity and now thousands of graduate students and many millions are familiar with this theory: Many readers should be encouraged at this. When the author presented his theory that black hole radiates like a hot body, many repudiated his assertion and later accepted it. Max Born, a Nobel Laureate in 1928 told a group that physics research will end in six months, when Dirac published equations for an electron, in the anticipation that the whole of physics problems are solved. This should remind all of us how far the science and mankind has progressed despite this prediction. Newton, one of the greatest scientists of this planet also had a streak of meanness in him. Einstein's honesty as a scientist could be found when he admitted that his universal constant to account for a static universe is a mistake, but he was also less willing to accept quantum mechanics; this is known by his well known comment that "God does not play dice." Hawking having a bet with Kip Thorne over the existence of black holes in Cygnus X-1 for Penthouse magazine to Private Eye magazine shows the fun side of academic rivalry. This is one of the very few books I have read that discusses God's role at the level of quantum mechanics. The reader should feel lucky to have such a book for his/her personal library.
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How does each electron pass through two slits at the same time? It must move discontinuously.,
However, Hawking's claim that each single electron must pass through two slits at the same time is right. But how does a single electron pass through two slits at the same time? It is well known that Hawking preferred many worlds theory, but he didn't refer to it in the book. In fact, it seems evident that the single electron can only pass through the two slits at the same time in a discontinuous way. Therefore, its motion must be not continuous but discontinuous. Such discontinuous motion is imaginable and comprehensible. It has actually been lucidly expounded in a recent book Quantum Motion - Unveiling the Mysterious Quantum World. A more popular introduction can be found at my name.
Once we realize that motion is discontinuous and random in reality, we may finally understand the mysterious quantum world, where an electron can pass through two slits at the same time.
2 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read if you understand Physics.,
Dr.Stephen Hawking has perhaps condensed the complexities of theoratical physics 'de drop.'
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A Brief History Of Time: Tenth Anniversary Edition: From the Big Bang to Black Holes by Stephen Hawking (Hardcover - 16 Jun 1998)
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