The Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe Paperback – 1 May 2008
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Stephen Hawking's The Theory of Everything is a short book that can act as an introduction to the subjects of cosmology raised by modern science, but the book is only that; I preferred his Brief History of Time to this work because it was longer, more detailed, and covered more ground. If you are looking for a very basic introduction to the current thinking of astrophysicists, this is a good book; if you really want to wrestle with the subject at length, you should buy a Brief History of Time, or one of Paul Davies works, such as About Time. If you are looking for a good lecture series on physics, Richard Feynman's Six Easy Pieces and its sequel, Six Not So Easy Pieces is really the finest of this genre. That being said, the book does a good job in outlining the basic subject matter, discussing the development of the Big Bang theory, and the implications of both the general theory of relativity and quantum physics on the formation of the universe. Hawking is at his best when discussing singularities -- the points of the universe, such as black holes, where the laws of physics break down. --By D. W. Casey on June 27, 2002
This is a collection of seven related lectures by Hawking originally published in 1996 under the title, The Cambridge Lectures: Life Works. He does not cover as much ground here as in did in A Brief History of Time, but what he does cover he does so in a charming and engaging style. There are some few statements here that could be interpreted as less than modest--although not by me--and a mistaken prediction or two, which may be a reason that Hawking is not pleased with this book's publication. He might also object to the title, since neither a "Theory of Everything" nor a conclusive answer to the origin and fate of the universe are presented. However, Hawking does address these questions, and his expression is interesting to read and has the agreeable characteristic of being laconic. There are no equations in the book, no mathematics as such, and everything is explained in language that would be intelligible to a high school student. There are the usual droll Hawking jokes about God and His intentions, facetious, epigram-like understatements (I have done a lot of work on black holes, and it would all be wasted if it turned out that black holes do not exist. p. 66) and witty asides about the convergence of politics on physics, as when he mentions a particle accelerator the size of the Solar System that "would not be funded under current economic conditions." --By Dennis Littrell on March 23, 2003
About the Author
Stephen Hawking is Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge and 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. In 1963, Hawking contracted motor neurone disease and was given two years to live. Yet he went on to Cambridge to become a brilliant researcher and Professorial Fellow at Gonville and Caius College. Since 1979 he has held the post of Lucasian Professor at Cambridge, the chair held by Isaac Newton in 1663. Professor Hawking has over a dozen honorary degrees and was awarded the CBE in 1982. He is a fellow of the Royal Society and a Member of the US National Academy of Science. Stephen Hawking is regarded as one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists since Einstein.
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Top Customer Reviews
book, cover to conver in less than 2 hours. I can't say I'm
dissapointed, but I'd have liked a little more at this price.
Content focusses on the successive models and theories that
science has employed to discover the inner workings of the world
around us. Including much of Hawkings on work on black holes,
theories on the expansion and contraction of the universe, and
the 'direction' of time.
A little more content would easily have cranked this up to 5 star
material. I'm giving it 4 starts only becuase it's a little short.
This is typical of the way Hawking mixes biographical details and scientific, astro-physical thinking of the rarest kind in this little book, but "little" only in the physical sense as it opens the mind to the vastness of the universe.
The notion of the widely-accepted expanding universe led him to consider (with Roger Penrose) the reversing of time and to what it would lead, i.e. a big-bang, singularity. This was his work until 1970 and that November evening. Since then his pioneering thinking on black holes has provided some startlingly original ideas.
The "theory of everything" is the physicists' Aladdin's Cave, Holy Grail or, in Hawking's case, tomorrow's desk job.
Disappointing in some ways, i.e. its brevity and (for Hawking's followers) its repetition but it is worth the investment in time and, short as it is, that is not long.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Always felt I needed to look at a different view of how the Universe started. This book goes a long way towards the eternal question of how everything started, but must confess, I... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mr C E G Stenning
Great book highly recommend good for those just wanting an invite into astrophysicsPublished 3 months ago by Richard burden
Reminded me of what I missed out on as a fresher at university in England.Published 4 months ago by shawinderjit ghag singh
I had bought Brief History of Time so it seemed logical to buy another (for my son) and he really enjoys readinngit.Published 6 months ago by JoeS
An informative précis comparing the history of the universe – as we see it – from the big bang, to black holes, to present day. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Mr. A Weston
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