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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little bit of everything, 7 Nov. 2011
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This review is from: The Grand Design (Paperback)
If you're already familiar with relativity and quantum theory then you'll find the first half of this book is mostly a retelling of those ideas. If you're not already familiar, then you may find it extremely hard going. The authors attempt to explain in a few pages concepts that other popular science books spend many chapters trying to get across.

Interspersed with the theory are various anecdotes of ancient religious myths and some history of the development of cosmological ideas which add colour and interest.

The second half of the book brings more recent findings and ideas into the mix. They talk about M theory, strong and weak anthropic principles and how the weirdness of quantum theory can explain the existence of the universe and why it seems fine tuned for us.

Once upon a time popular science books took complicated theories and brought them to a lay audience. They still do that and I would argue, better than ever, but I've noticed a more frequently occurring dimension. That of religion. A modern day battle is being fought on that front and it seems that not even Stephen Hawking is immune from entering the fray. He argues convincingly that science does not need to postulate a deity to explain anything. Whatever your opinion on that front, I don't think they labour the point too much and I didn't feel as though it got in the way of the basic science.

So overall I would say that if you are reasonably familiar (at a lay level) with modern physics then this book is a brief but clear and easily understood update. If you're not then I imagine a lot of the book will be incomprehensible.
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F. Martin
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Location: UK

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