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The Grand Design Paperback – 18 Aug 2011
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"This is mind-blowing stuff" (The Sunday Times)
About the Author
STEPHEN HAWKING held the position of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge for thirty years. He is the 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.
Physicist LEONARD MLODINOW has taught at Cal Tech, written for Star Trek: The Next Generation, and is the author of Euclid's Window, Feynman's Rainbow and Some Time with Feynman.
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This will answer all your questions and don't be afraid if you get a little lost - download the audiobook, let the author explain it to you. He does a beautiful job.
Especially since there are parts I listen to five times before I get it.
But science is supposed to be a bit challenging, right?
Expect a challenging read. The concepts are still challenging even in the scientific community !
As for the concepts, I cannot help but feel that these are mathematical conveniences rather than physical descriptions. Indeed, the authors hint at this. 10 or 11 dimensions certainly cannot be understood by the normal human mind as being a physical concept. But the mathematical theories actually work in being able to predict occurrences which can then be verified: this is the basis of a sound theory.
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.
Written in a very approachable and compelling style. Making complex subjects understandable at a high level. Also gives a great recap on philosophy / physics to date
Very impressed, thoroughly enjoyed