Was there a beginning of time?
Could time run backwards?
Is the universe infinite, or does it have boundaries?
These are just some of the questions considered in an internationally acclaimed masterpiece which begins by reviewing the great theories of the cosmos, from Newton to Einstein, before delving into the secrets which still lie at the heart of space and time.
I approached this book with a bit of trepidation, worried that I would drown in the physics involved. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Dr Hawking has authored a book that is very easy to understand without making the reader feeling like they are being talked down to by an expert.
He explains complex concepts such as how black holes, the big bang theory and other mysteries about space and time in a way that explains his theories without excluding other theories. He also explains hows different theories can support each other but also also where they can point out deficiencies in each other.
I certainly know that I learned a lot from this book. I can definitely recommend this as a good read on a warm summer afternoon.
Tip of the iceberg.
A Brief History of Time is a mind boggling book of blatant scientific theory and four-dimensional thoughts of space, time and the universe unique of its field.
I drove through the whole book and absorbed the knowledge, opening my mind to brand new concepts. Though to retain the knowledge it would need to be read more than once which in my opinion is a good idea.
Eight out of ten.
I look forward to reading more of his books!
In 1988,world-famous theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking published a book that was aimed at Joe Public, but was all about some of the most esoteric super-science and mathematics one could possibly imagine... the origins of the universe, and why what happened, happened... and how.
Beginning at the start of scientific history, and moving like a superluminal virtual particle, both backwards and forwards in time, Stephen attempted to not only describe how the sciences of cosmology and physics moved forward through human history, but also how that science delved further and further back in time, towards the great mystery of "What started... everything?" Was it a grand explosion from a singular point of nothing in the middle of a huge expanse of nothing... or was it 4 simple words spoken by a supreme being... "Let There Be Light."
Now, 100 billion years is a lot of time to try and cram into 192 pages... but since large periods of that time involved a whole pile of not-much happening, it's easy to summarise and skim over much of that... leaving us with only a moderately massive, detail period of time to deal with... say, 30,000 years give or take a millenium or two. This is split into 2 distinct chunks... at beginning... and 'now'... if our concept of Time has any real significance in the grand scheme of things.
Now, how to summarise a summary... basically, I can't. But I will try and give you a thumbnail sketch of the book, without getting bogged down by the deepness of the thoughts it provokes. In this book Stephen attempts to give the average person an understanding of the basic structure of our theories as they stand at present, allowing even the most non-mathematically inclined person a chance to say "Well, actually, I have an idea based around this theory..." and not sound like they have a pottle of yoghurt resting between their ears.
This covers it all, the evolution of human intellect from "The earth is a flat disk, resting on the back of a turtle, who in turn stands on another turtle, ad infinitum..." step by step through Aristotle, Copernicus, Hoyle's "Steady State Universe" and right up to the most recent "String Theory and Quantum Gravity"... it really is astounding how Professor Hawking has managed to take it all apart and give us the kernals of wheat, and leave the chaff of mathematical equasions and cosmological philosophy behind, giving us the concept alone, clean, easy to grasp and understand, while we read on and advance that knowledge in a fast-forwarded version of the actual progress of theories.
Overall, if I had to pick a book I would want future generations to one day be able to read in high school... this would be it... or the updated version at the time. One of the things I really liked about this book was though it didn't go into the details of the failed theories, it still gave them service for the part they played in steering us away from "What feels right" and more towards "What observation shows us is right." A stunning book, by an amazing man. Well worth the effort of reading... but only if you are comfortable with "Big Concepts"... otherwise you might want to go back to your comics.
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Kristian Wilson, Nintendo, Inc, 1989