The Grand Design Paperback – 18 Aug 2011
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"This is mind-blowing stuff" (The Sunday Times)
New answers to the ultimate questions of life from the world's most famous living scientist.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
But the key part of the book comes when Hawking describes something called M-theory, the leading candidate for the "theory of everything" which it is hoped will unite the two (currently incompatible, but highly successful) theories of quantum mechanics and general relativity. Both M-theory and other strands of evidence increasingly point to the conclusion that our Universe is not, after all, the only universe. The implication of these latest theories is that there are billions - and probably an infinite number - of other universes, each with their own physical laws and physical constants. This is the theory of the Multiverse. At a stroke, the theory explains why there are features of our own Universe which make it suitable for life; this is simply because we could only ever have evolved in the tiny minority of universes with the right set of physical laws.
All in all, a fascinating read. If you want to give a mind-blowing Christmas present to somebody, this is the one.
Plusses are that this book is a wonderful short history of the growth of scientific thought as well as a crash course in quantum mechanics, relativity and M theory.
However, there was nothing actually new here - although it brings a lot of material into one nicely accessible place. A fuller discussion of the scientific theories can be found in books such as Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe (he has a later book that probably covers any recent changes Hawking includes).
As for the history of the development of science, that can be found in many places, but at times it was reminiscent of Russell's History of Western Philosophy.
On the downside, this book does not do what it purports to do. It asks the question "why is there something rather than nothing", but cannot answer it, and the attempt to reduce it to a non question is just a fudge that admits to the unanswerability of the question.
Early on the book also simply dismisses philosophy, saying it has not kept up with the science. That statement is a bold assertion written in defiance of the clear fact that modern philosophers are well aware of the latest physics, and make good use of it. Indeed, inasmuch as this book IS a work of philosophy, the book refutes its own assertion.
In a few other places, things are asserted without evidence and which are not obviously true.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I received this book free after attending a lecture by Hawking, and I must tell you just how brilliant he is in person, he's just so funny and so witty. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Geekly Reviews
A birthday purchase for my 15 year old son who enjoys reading Stephen Hawking publications. Very interesting read (according to him) and full of facts that he shares with the... Read morePublished 12 days ago by Lilly