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1. The Grand Design
2. A Briefer History of Time
3. The Theory of Everything: The
4. A Brief History of Time
5. A Stubbornly Persistent Illusion:
6. Stephen Hawking: A Biography
7. George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt
8. George's Secret Key to the Universe
9. The Illustrated On the Shoulders
10. God Created the Integers: The
11. Stephen Hawking's Universe: The
12. The Universe in a Nutshell
13. Illustrated Theory of Everything:
14. The Nature of Space and Time:
15. The Illustrated Brief History
16. Black Holes and Baby Universes
17. The Future of Spacetime
18. On The Shoulders Of Giants
19. A Brief History of Time and the

1. The Grand Design
by Stephen Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow
Hardcover: 208 Pages (2010-09-07)
list price: US$28.00 -- used & new: US$11.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553805371
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
When and how did the universe begin? Why are we here? Why is there something rather than nothing? What is the nature of reality? Why are the laws of nature so finely tuned as to allow for the existence of beings like ourselves? And, finally, is the apparent “grand design” of our universe evidence of a benevolent creator who set things in motion—or does science offer another explanation?

The most fundamental questions about the origins of the universe and of life itself, once the province of philosophy, now occupy the territory where scientists, philosophers, and theologians meet—if only to disagree. In their new book, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow present the most recent scientific thinking about the mysteries of the universe, in nontechnical language marked by both brilliance and simplicity.

In The Grand Design they explain that according to quantum theory, the cosmos does not have just a single existence or history, but rather that every possible history of the universe exists simultaneously. When applied to the universe as a whole, this idea calls into question the very notion of cause and effect. But the “top-down” approach to cosmology that Hawking and

Mlodinow describe would say that the fact that the past takes no definite form means that we create history by observing it, rather than that history creates us. The authors further explain that we ourselves are the product of quantum fluctuations in the very early universe, and show how quantum theory predicts the “multiverse”—the idea that ours is just one of many universes that appeared spontaneously out of nothing, each with different laws of nature.

Along the way Hawking and Mlodinow question the conventional concept of reality, posing a “model-dependent” theory of reality as the best we can hope to find. And they conclude with a riveting assessment of M-theory, an explanation of the laws governing us and our universe that is currently the only viable candidate for a complete “theory of everything.” If confirmed, they write, it will be the unified theory that Einstein was looking for, and the ultimate triumph of human reason.

A succinct, startling, and lavishly illustrated guide to discoveries that are altering our understanding and threatening some of our most cherished belief systems, The Grand Design is a book that will inform—and provoke—like no other.Amazon.com Review
Stephen Hawking on The Grand Design

How can we understand the world in which we find ourselves?Over twenty years ago I wrote A Brief History of Time, to try to explain where the universe came from, and where it is going.But that book left some important questions unanswered.Why is there a universe--why is there something rather than nothing?Why do we exist?Why are the laws of nature what they are?Did the universe need a designer and creator?

It was Einstein’s dream to discover the grand design of the universe, a single theory that explains everything. However, physicists in Einstein’s day hadn’t made enough progress in understanding the forces of nature for that to be a realistic goal.And by the time I had begun writing A Brief History of Time, there were still several key advances that had not yet been made that would prevent us from fulfilling Einstein’s dream.But in recent years the development of M-theory, the top-down approach to cosmology, and new observations such as those made by satellites like NASA’s COBE and WMAP, have brought us closer than ever to that single theory, and to being able to answer those deepest of questions.And so Leonard Mlodinow and I set out to write a sequel to A Brief History of Time to attempt to answer the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything.The result is The Grand Design, the product of our four-year effort.

In The Grand Design we explain why, according to quantum theory, the cosmos does not have just a single existence, or history, but rather that every possible history of the universe exists simultaneously.We question the conventional concept of reality, posing instead a "model-dependent" theory of reality.We discuss how the laws of our particular universe are extraordinarily finely tuned so as to allow for our existence, and show why quantum theory predicts the multiverse--the idea that ours is just one of many universes that appeared spontaneously out of nothing, each with different laws of nature.And we assess M-Theory, an explanation of the laws governing the multiverse, and the only viable candidate for a complete "theory of everything."As we promise in our opening chapter, unlike the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life given in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the answer we provide in The Grand Design is not, simply, "42."

(Photo © Philip Waterson, LBIPP, LRPS)

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Customer Reviews (262)

3-0 out of 5 stars Book
The book is easy to read, but deep in thought. It gets a little technical as far as understanding some laws of physics. I feel the reader must have a genuine interest in this subject matter, otherwise the book could lose the reader quickly.

1-0 out of 5 stars About Religion authors are complete idiots.
I must write down this review to show you how complete idiots are authors on religion, subject they clearly confronted, only for marketing reasons.
Less than 10 Kilometers from here, was born a Pope so speaking with peasants here I can grant you, they are 1000 years ahead than them.
I obviously can't condense religion culture in little words but I can give some points in a scientific language, so even readers with similar (mis)attitudes than authors, can see some light.
Science can be understood, in Popper way, as those theories not jet proven false, in a certain sphere.
Religion is a group of theories, of capital importance, that even in principle can't be proved false.
If Jesus said we will reborn with our same bodies at the end of time, that is religion and not science, because it is of capital importance and there is no way to prove it is false, but if true we shall see it and have this proof, so this is religion.
So, Hawking theory, about creation by gravity force alone, well nothing say about religion it only risk to be religion itself(if it were of capital importance).
Further they confound the tree with the forest, they don't see, mathematics they used, is full, by Gödel proofs, of statement that even in principle can't be proved false nor true, so it open the door to Religion and is not itself Religion, only because are not of capital importance, bye, bye Hawking and (Un)Leonard, go back to school.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect for the laymen, not so much for the expert
First off I will say that I loved this book. It doesn't go into great detail about quantum physics but it explains it in a way that almost anyone can understand. It was very interesting and once I started it I could'nt put it down. Before I knew it I had finished within a day! If you are interested in physics and the creation of the Universe but are not a scientist pick this book up. If you have been reading books of this sort for years I would say skip it because there is probably not much new here. The book poses questions such as "Why are we here?" and "How were we created?" If you are looking for those answers from this book then you're out of luck and essentially out of luck no matter what book you pick up. Nevertheless the book was perfect for me and I got exactly what I wanted out of it and that was a general understanding of quantum physics, the creation of the universe and the confidence to pick a more elaborate, more detailed book of the same material.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great book but....
As I read somewhere once, a great book is a collection of thoughts, sentences, that are combined with choices and actions. And with this book, there's only one problem - for me, it kind of ends where its "Part II" should begin. It's a great "intro" to what I expected to be a more detailed explanation of M-theory and everything related. As if by wanting to make it "world-readable for almost anyone", authors choose to end it where it becomes fascinating. Everything before that is excellent, but what it's missing is the "fascinating" part. Can't help but wonder if there's gonna be a "Part II".

5-0 out of 5 stars The grand design - the cosmic perspective
What does one expect from Stephen Hawking's writings?The clear exposition, the excitement and wonder of explanation that gets the reader wondering.Finally, one expects clarity and enlightened speculation.Hawking does it with grace.Read The Grand Design and join the wonderers.
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2. A Briefer History of Time
by Stephen Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow
Paperback: 176 Pages (2008-05-13)
list price: US$22.00 -- used & new: US$11.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553385461
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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From One of the Most Brilliant Minds of Our Time
Comes a Book that Clarifies His Most Important Ideas

Stephen Hawking’s worldwide bestseller, A Brief History of Time, remains one of the landmark volumes in scientific writing of our time. But for years readers have asked for a more accessible formulation of its key concepts—the nature of space and time, the role of God in creation, and the history and future of the universe.

Professor Hawking’s response is this new work that will guide nonscientists everywhere in the ongoing search for the tantalizing secrets at the heart of time and space.…

Although “briefer,” this book is much more than a mere explanation of Hawking’s earlier work. A Briefer History of Time both clarifies and expands on the great subjects of the original, and records the latest developments in the field—from string theory to the search for a unified theory of all the forces of physics. Thirty-seven full-color illustrations enhance the text and make A Briefer History of Time an exhilarating and must-have addition in its own right to the great literature of science and ideas.

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Customer Reviews (100)

3-0 out of 5 stars A brief encounter with the Universe
Prior to reading "A Briefer..." I had read "A Brief..." which mentioned several deep and complex theories of the universe quickly and left me slightly confused (i.e. the shape of the universe, God, String Theory...) due partly to its brevity.
I read "A Briefer..." five or so years later and found the "read" to be quick and easy to digest and quite clear in its points. Hawking writes a chapter on Quantum Gravity (reconciling Einstein's theory of Gravity with Quantum physics). He points to conclusions but he leaves me curious and wanting more information about this new theory. In many ways, I wish he would write "A not so brief history of time" to add more "meat" to the topics discussed which again discuss both God, The Meaning of Life and String Theory. He also discusses Einstein's theories in details that would help a college student taking a class in Modern Physics. Hawking also discusses other very early but important physicists.
I would recommend this book to a non-scientist with the patience and interest to learn some modern physics.

4-0 out of 5 stars Reviewing Dr. Hawking
It is one of the simplest and better-explained accounts that I have read on the subject.A Brief History of TimeThe Illustrated Brief History of Time, Updated and Expanded Edition

5-0 out of 5 stars It does what it says
If you're not a mathematician or a ohysicist, you're not going to spend a lot of time wrapping your head around the concept of strings that possibly have 26 dimensions. That said, this book will describe string theory, particles, the expansion of the universe, and general relativity in about as much detail as the average lay person can handle without making a career out of it. I am very interested in these topics myself, and love hearing about discoveries in the news, etc., but never really sat down and read a book that summarized it all in a way that made me feel I had a grip on all of the basics. In other words, I had heard of string theory, but only in second-hand accounts from people who might not have understood it themselves. And although I often heard that Einstein said it is impossible to travel faster than the speed of light, I never understood the mechanics of why that is. This book informed me exactly to the point where I felt I had understood the general concepts, and stopped short of going into the level of detail that would require lots of math on a chalkboard. In keeping the subject matter limited to a clear understanding of the basics, the authors also managed to make it a quick, enjoyable read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Brief History of Time
I liked the book. It read well, but since I have read other books by Mr. Hawkings. This book contained a lot of the same material that was in some other work.
But there were some new material that I enjoyed reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Educate yourself
Seldom you will find a book on cosmic physics which will cover creation of universe and world around us and is still readable. Leonard is an excellent teacher and when you couple this with smartest brain of our time Hawking you know you are in for a treat. ... Read more

3. The Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe
by Stephen W Hawking
Hardcover: 136 Pages (2006-05-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$15.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1597775088
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Based on a series of lectures given at Cambridge University, Professor Hawking's work introduced "the history of ideas about the universe" as well as today's most important scientific theories about time, space, and the cosmos in a clear, easy-to-understand way.
Amazon.com Review
With a title inspired as much by Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker series as Einstein, The Theory of Everything delivers almost as much as it promises. Transcribed from Stephen Hawking's Cambridge Lectures, the slim volume may not present a single theory unifying gravity with the other fundamental forces, but it does carefully explain the state of late 20th-century physics with the great scientist's characteristic humility and charm. Explicitly shunning math, Hawking explains the fruits of 100 years of heavy thinking with metaphors that are simple but never condescending--he compares the settling of the newborn universe into symmetry to the formation of ice crystals in a glass of water, for example. While he explores his own work (especially when speaking about black holes), he also discusses the important milestones achieved by others like Richard Feynman. Though occasionally an impenetrably obscure phrase does slip by, the reader will find the bulk of the text enlightening and engaging. The material, from the nature of time to the possibility that the universe has no beginning or end, is rich and deep and inevitably ignites metaphysical thinking. After all, Hawking is famous for his "we would know the mind of God" remark, which ends the final lecture herein. --Rob Lightner ... Read more

Customer Reviews (37)

5-0 out of 5 stars Stephen Hawkings' TheTheory of Everything The Origin and Fates of the Universe
In this book Stephen Hawkings relates to what the subtitle says: "The Origin and the Fate of the Universre" from seven of his letures on his theories and beliefs of his cosomology. Mr/Dr. Hawkings does a tremendous job in explaining the history of astronomy with his seven lectures which include..." Ideas (history) About the Universe,The Expanding Universe, Black Holes, Black Holes Ain't So Black, The Origin and Fate of the Universe, The Direction of Time, and The Theory of Everything." Mr. Hawkings explains these very complex theoris in everyday layman's language to his readers.He uses real life and portended examples to explain his theories.He makes these very complex theories understandable to the layman. He writes with enthusiam without challenging anyones' theories or faith. His style of writing in not self-centered nor is it arrogant like so many scientists do. His style is invitiing, exciting, and very knowledgeable. I highly recommend this book,"The Special Anniversary Edition," to all and everybody, especially the amateur astronomy buffs and the every day layman.


5-0 out of 5 stars For the rest of us
Stephen Hawking struck gold with this one. For all of us who aren't cosmologists or astronomers, this book explains it all clearly. If you want to learn about our universe, this is a definite first read!

5-0 out of 5 stars Still waiting
I am really dessapointed with the service offering by Amazon. I placed my order on December 26, 2009. Although the estimated date was January 8, 2010 still I havent received the books. I thought Amazon is trustworthy but they are not. This will be my first and last order placement on Amazon.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Primeval Atom: Hawking's World
I am fascinated by Dr. Hawking's work in cosmology, and gathered the fact that when he made the choice of either becoming a particle physicist or a cosmologist, he implicitly became both: For I do not believe there to be a discontinuity between the two fields. Ernest Sternglass, for example, in "Before the Big Bang," argues that an electron and positron are the truly fundamental particles, and that there were the basis of a primeval atom that gave rise to our universe. In his work, he suggests that particle physicists have paid insufficient attention to the relativistic effects on space-time curvature at the speeds that the original particles were moving electrodynamically--thus, they have not realized that a primitive pair of particles such as these may have spun out the entirety of our comos' Eiensteinian four-space: He suggests that the entire description that he gives of our cosmos is that of a rotating quantum cosmological black hole, and this is connected in my opinion with your discovery of Hawking radiation. The model Sternglass advances requires a 16 trillion year period before the Big Bang occurs; in this "era" of our cosmos' evolution, the relativistically rotating pair generate in kinetic energy all the mass that we see as the galactic structure of our beautiful comos, but, at some point, that energy had to be converted to mass, and some event had to produce that; i.e., the transition phase--as Einstein's energy/mass relation--had to have a cause. I have begun to theorize that the central piece in this puzzle could be the neutrino; in my opinion (which is not that of a physicist, but of a philosopher whose orientation is to Vienna's Circle of Logical positivists), the nucleus of hydrogen--i.e., its proton gives birth to a neutron by the mechanism of neutrino creation: Dr. Sternglass argued that in one unique (Born Statistical) case the sole orbiting electron of the proton is captured by the nucleus as has been observed or is predicted I am not sure which. However, this mechanism or quantum event may suggest that the neutron explodes into existence once the nuclei of hydrogen have absorbed the maximum quanta of electrons; in other words, just as Bohr discovered that the electrons can move from lower energy to higher energy orbits, so too, ex hypothesi, the nucleus can also vary--from lower energy states to higher, except that when it absorbs the highest degree of electron energy, it divides into itself and the neutron, thereby producing, in potentia, all of the possible states that matter can be in; Dr. Sternglass' model also has the great merit that it would allow us to logically derive certain of the fundamental constants of nature logico-emperically, and further, since along the lines of the Dirac large numbers conjecture, it sees a profound relationship between the small scale structure of our cosmos and the large. How does all of this relate to the neutrino? It makes some sense, I think, to look at the neutrino as the quantum constructed graviton; it is an extremely light particle, but it is not wieghtless (great picture, by the way!), and therefore it has structure on my view: I postulate a tripartite structure consisting of a tightly bound electron and positron bound by the neutrino. Since the neutrino is not wieghtless and has structure, how is it that it can contain particles which are heavier than its own mass: The only explanation I can give for this is that the electron and positron in this state are highly relativistically motional, but the more energy they absorb the lighter--hence potentially more massive--they are;moreover, in my view the entire quantum field is undergoing at all times conversions of energy to mass and from mass to energy; it is oscilating. It is my further conjecture that the Riemann zeta function is at the heart of this process, the very pulse of the atom and the entire quantum mechanical wave function of the universe. some support for Sternglass' view comes from a method that Brian stedjee, and a process that he developed for sorting out the fundamental particles: my work can be viewed here:PhysOrgForum Science, Physics and Technology Discussion Forums -> Quantum Mechanics, General Relativity And Gravity.Before the Big Bang: The Origins of the UniverseThe Life of the CosmosThe Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe ... Read more

4. A Brief History of Time
by Stephen Hawking
Paperback: 224 Pages (1998-09-01)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$9.43
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553380168
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
A Brief History of Time, published in 1988, was a landmark volume in science writing and in world-wide acclaim and popularity, with more than 9 million copies in print globally. The original edition was on the cutting edge of what was then known about the origins and nature of the universe. But the ensuing years have seen extraordinary advances in the technology of observing both the micro- and the macrocosmic world--observations that have confirmed many of Hawking's theoretical predictions in the first edition of his book.

Now a decade later, this edition updates the chapters throughout to document those advances, and also includes an entirely new chapter on Wormholes and Time Travel and a new introduction. It make vividly clear why A Brief History of Time has transformed our view of the universe.Amazon.com Review
Stephen Hawking, one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists inhistory, wrote the modern classic A Brief History of Time to helpnonscientists understand the questions being asked by scientists today:Where did the universe come from? How and why did it begin? Will it come toan end, and if so, how? Hawking attempts to reveal these questions (andwhere we're looking for answers) using a minimum of technical jargon. Amongthe topics gracefully covered are gravity, black holes, the Big Bang, thenature of time, and physicists' search for a grand unifying theory. This isdeep science; these concepts are so vast (or so tiny) as to causevertigo while reading, and one can't help but marvel at Hawking's abilityto synthesize this difficult subject for people not used to thinking aboutthings like alternate dimensions. The journey is certainly worth taking,for, as Hawking says, the reward of understanding the universe may be aglimpse of "the mind of God." --Therese Littleton ... Read more

Customer Reviews (331)

3-0 out of 5 stars Uneven level of detail
The first chapters of the book are nice preliminary material for the more advanced subjects. However, starting from chapter 3, when the more complex arguments are discussed, Mr Hawking does not spend much time and detail to introduce difficult concepts. He just talks about black holes, virtual particles, strings, symmetry and higher dimensions as one can talk about apples.
I had the feeling that he switched from the really basic to the really advanced without providing the necessary logical connection and intermediate steps.
I think this is a missed opportunity.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great For the Interested Non-scientist!
Dr. Hawking is an extremely intelligent individual who can take his theories, as well as other theories related to the Universe and our existence, breaking them down into easy to understand concepts.I found the book to be very interesting and entertaining, as it expanded my awareness and thoughts on what is happening all around us.I recommend the book for anyone interested in the various theories surrounding the Universe and our existence!

Terry M. Drake, LSW, NBCCH
Author of Live Happily, Ever After... Now!

4-0 out of 5 stars A little deep but mostly readable.
I'm slogging through this.It's very interesting but, of course, a little over most people's heads.I like how he presents a theory and then gives an example.

5-0 out of 5 stars a brief classic
Many readable introductions to the concepts and issues of modern physical theory have been offered over the last few decades. I have enjoyed many of them. With the publication of The Grand Design by Hawking and Mlodinow, I decided to revisit Hawking's A Brief History of Time.

After two decades, this remains the most succinct, parsimonious and carefully written introduction for the non-specialist that I have read. He passes over bits ( a whole Newtonian law of motion) for brevity and clarity, and pads it out for relevance, all appropriately. For example, introducing quantum theory through black body radiation and the uncertainty principle is a common approach, but Hawking is lucid and direct, inspiring a "wow, that was easy" moment. Many books roll out phenomena and theories, duality, tunnelling, entanglement etc, and while these are excellent for learning about elements of quantum theory, a clear take-home message is usually elusive. Rolling this, black whole theory, anthropic principles, no boundary condition, string theory and the unification of physics all together is a singular achievement for this classic. What an inspiration to tackle the maths and learn more.

3-0 out of 5 stars The Hobo Philosopher
A Brief History of Time

By Stephen W. Hawking

Book Review

By Richard E. Noble

I read this book several years ago and since that time I have read it several more times. Since my first reading, I have not been able to get this book off my mind. On that account I should give it five stars. But the things that I can't get off my mind are all negative criticisms. On that account I should give it one star.

My criticisms start before I even get to the author.

In his introduction Carl Sagan speaks of "Einstein's famous question about weather God had any choice in creating the universe." Unfortunately Mr. Sagan paraphrases this one of Einstein's many famous questions incorrectly, as my memory recalls.

If there were a God why would he not have a choice in creating the universe? This paraphrasing makes no sense.
Einstein's question as I recall it was whether or not God had any choice in his own existence.

Now that is a big question to all us philosophy buffs. Mr. Sagan's incorrect paraphrasing makes Einstein's "famous question" no question at all.

Asking whether God had a choice in his own existence is a subtle way of stating the impossibility of the God concept.

If there is a God he could not have had the choice to exist or not to exist. He either was or he wasn't. If he wasn't, he could never have been because something can not come from "nothing."

The answer to the rhetorical question is that he had no choice and therefore was lacking in freedom. God can not be God and be lacking in freedom. Therefore the concept of God is untenable.

The above is not my opinion; it is simple philosophic logic that can be found in any philosophy book debating the God concept.

This was really a rhetorical question in my opinion on the part of Einstein. He was expressing his dubiousness on this subject.

If there is a God whether or not to create the universe is no problem at all; God can do as he pleases. He can create it or not create it. Who or what is going to make him do it or not do it? What logic says he can't do it? Sagan's question makes no sense.

Now we come to Mr. Hawking and friends.

Unfortunately there is a lot of sloppy language going on in the scientific community. Mr. Hawking is just one of many who "slop" around terms to the point of meaninglessness. One such term is the word "universe."

The universe is defined briefly as, "all that is." I am sorry but there can not be two "all that is." All that is, covers everything. It follows then that there can be no multiple universes, parallel universes or competing universes. There can only be one universe.

Scientists are obviously using the word "universe" with a different understanding than "all that is." Somebody should explain to readers how the scientific community is defining the word universe.

Other improperly used words are infinite and annihilate.

The universe can not be at the same time infinite and limited. An infinite universe can not expand. It is already infinite. It can't get no bigger than that.

A particle can not be annihilated and at the same time transformed into something else. If a particle is annihilated it not only disappears, it ceases to exist. It doesn't just disappear. As far as I know annihilation is impossible. Therefore if a particle turns into light and/or energy, then it hasn't been annihilated. It has been transformed. It can only be annihilated if it has been turned into nothing - and this is an impossible theoretical state. A state of "nothing" does not exist.

Space is also something. Its influences may be so minimal that they are not necessary to mathematical equations but space is more than a state or condition fabricated by gravity and other magnetic forces. There are scientists who are presently working to discover exactly what space is and what its influences are on the universe.

Light travels in straight lines in all directions infinitely - but it also bends. This is impossible. It does one or the other. It either travels infinitely in straight lines or it bend and wiggles its way through space.

If light bends and wiggles it way through space then it certainly can not be used as a measurement of the distance between planets or galaxies. Unless someone can measure the exact amount of wiggle at every distance in space - which I doubt very much is possible. What the heck are these scientists talking about?

An ellipse is an extended circle? Then I suppose a circle is a square with rounded sides. I know these guys are trying to dumb this stuff down for folks like me but if they dumb it down too much they are me and then we are all going nowhere.

I'm not a Big Bang guy and neither was Mr. Hubble. I have read that Mr. Hubble who established the notion of red shifts and blue shifts said that he in no way concluded from this observation that the universe is actually expanding or that any Big Bang was involved.

I think the Big Bang notion is comparable to "the world is flat" notion along with the Ptolemaic universe and phlogiston. It is being challenged by plasma theorists and others. The whole concept seems to be imploding in favor of an infinite, self-evolving universe.

I am reading a book at the moment by Eric J. Lerner "The Big Bang Never Happened." It is making some sense to my way of thinking.

Question posed in Mr. Hawking book: What was God doing before he created the universe?
Answer provided in book by St. Augustine: Time did not exist before the beginning of the universe.

So then where was God? He obviously did not exist before the universe either. Is God not a part of "all that is"? Does he exist? If so then he must have existed within the concept of "all that is" - the universe. No universe, no God.

And if the universe had no beginning - and the Big Bang can not be construed as the beginning of "all that is" -then St. Augustine may be right. Time began when the universe began; the universe always was and always will be
(in one shape or another) therefore time always was and always will be.

Mr. Hawking, Mr. Sagan and others in the scientific community I don't think are/were big on philosophy. They know their math but seem short on logic and semantics.

This book to me is pretty much an exercise in scientific madness (time going backwards, the universe collapsing, parallel universes, universes that are cone shaped, or infinite but finite and limited) but it is not just Mr. Hawking who has gone mad. He has a whole bunch lined up to jump off the edge of the universe and splatter on the nothingness below following eagerly behind him.

Books written by Richard Noble - The Hobo Philosopher:
"Hobo-ing America: A Workingman's Tour of the U.S.A.."
"A Summer with Charlie" Salisbury Beach, Lawrence YMCA
"A Little Something: Poetry and Prose
"Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother" Novel - Lawrence, Ma.
"The Eastpointer" Selections from award winning column.
"Noble Notes on Famous Folks" Humor - satire - facts.
"America on Strike" American Labor - History
"A Baker's Dozen" Short Stories

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5. A Stubbornly Persistent Illusion: The Essential Scientific Works of Albert Einstein
Paperback: 480 Pages (2009-09-29)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$8.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 076243564X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

With commentary by the greatest physicist of our time, Stephen Hawking, this anthology has garnered impressive reviews. PW has called it “a gem of a collection” while New Scientist magazine notes the “thrill of reading Einstein’s own words.” From the writings that revealed the famous Theory of Relativity, to other papers that shook the scientific world of the 20th century, A Stubbornly Persistent Illusion belongs in every science fan’s library.
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Customer Reviews (7)

2-0 out of 5 stars hard for non-physicist
My title says it all. I was disappointed. Thought there would be more explanations from Hawking

2-0 out of 5 stars Not worth the cost
Essentially a reprint of Einstein's own (and freely available) writings on relativity with a 20-odd page introduction by Stephen Hawking.While it may be worth $11 when printed on paper, it is decidedly not when purchased on Kindle.

Otherwise it reads like a good college Mathematics textbook - a slow and rewarding read if you have time to digest it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Stephen Hawking
Mind expansion. Mind bending. If you have never read anything by Stephen Hawking, or if you have, and have never read this book, read this! Cosmos, outer space, time, distance, travel, big and small, like you have never thought of them before. Great book!

4-0 out of 5 stars A very sobering and demystifying look at Einstein and his Contributions through his own Papers
A very sobering and demystifying look at Einstein's contributions to the development of the Special and the General Theories of Relativity, his work on Cosmology (and his greatest mistake in positing the Cosmic constant), his unsuccessful quest for a "Final Theory of Everything," as well as his thoughts on politics, philosophy, history and religion. The substance of this collection of Einstein's papers we have seen before but not the lore and the deep understanding of Einstein the man and his technique as scientist, as it is so artfully annotated and portrayed by the holder of the Lucasian Chair of mathematics at Cambridge University, the renown Stephen Hawkings.

What Hawkings give us that is new here is a clearer understanding of where Einstein's true genius lay: It was it seems in understanding the full import and the subtleties of the theories that went on before him, both experimentally and mathematically, and then accepting and utilizing them all to the max; without, hesitation, doubt or reservations. With the single exception of the Quantum theory where he uttered the now famous sentence that "God Does not Play Dice with the universe," Einstein was confident in his approach even when he was not confident in his ability to carry his projects through to their conclusions. In short, Einstein believed deeply in the proven (and only in the proven) science of his day. For instance, he never believed in the "luminiferous ether," nor was he deterred by the profound implications of the constancy of light: that the rest of the universe of science would have to be rearranged to accommodate this new profound fundamental and underlying truth.

It is not just coincidental that both versions of relativity leaned heavily on the monumental work of James Clerk Maxwell's description of electromagnetic forces, or on Hendrick A. Lorentz mathematical transformations, and later on the new four-dimensional geometry of Hermann Minkowski as well as that of Bernard Riemann, but also, on the results of the Michelson-Morley experiments, proving once and for all the non-existence of the imagined ether. It seems that it was a signature characteristic of Einstein that he had the vision and the foresight to know that important discoveries were whirling about him. More than most of his contemporaries, he seemed to have had a "second sense" to know that he was in the midst, and was a key part of, a new scientific revolution. And thus, much to his credit (and much underplayed), Einstein did not care about "scientific orthodoxy," nor about the fact that the mathematical tools and talents that he came endowed with were often insufficient for the tasks he was undertaking. He simply, forged stubbornly ahead anyway, seeking help from mathematicians and fellow scientists more talented than he.

However the thing that really sets his genius a part from that of other scientists of his era was the fact that he could recognize a "foundation truth," and did not waver or allow scientific orthodoxy to cause him to alter his views. He was as tenacious as a foxhound onto the scent of a fox in pursuing the logical consequences of fundamental truths.That is what won him the Nobel Prize, for his work on the "Black Body" experiment and on Brownian Motion, rather than for the Relativity theories that he is most famously known for.

This is an engaging book. The more I see of Hawking's mathematical explanations the more comfortable I become with them. The book is supremely accessible for anyone who has mastered elementary calculus. Four stars

5-0 out of 5 stars Difficult reading but I loved it.
Before getting my PhD in mathematics, I had gone to graduate school in geography, geodesy and industrial engineering.In each of these sciences I found myself weak in mathematics.It is interesting that both Hawking and Einstein shared the same experience.

Einstein was certainly the most noted scientist in the 20th century.Hawking has put together many of his best works in this book.If you can understand everything in this book you are indeed a gifted person.Otherwise, like me, you will be in awe if Einstein's great gifts to science. ... Read more

6. Stephen Hawking: A Biography
by Kristine Larsen
Paperback: 215 Pages (2007-10-31)
list price: US$17.98 -- used & new: US$4.22
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1591025745
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Stephen Hawking is arguably the most famous physicist since Albert Einstein. His decades-long struggle with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), combined with his singular brilliance as a cosmologist, has fascinated both the public and his colleagues in science. In this engagingly written biography, Kristine Larsen, a physicist and astronomer herself, presents a candid and insightful portrait of Hawking's personal and professional life. Avoiding the hero-worship sometimes found in popular works on Hawking, Larsen emphasizes that Hawking is first and foremost a scientist whose work has made significant contributions to our understanding of the nature and origins of the universe. Writing in nontechnical language for the lay reader, Larsen clearly explains Hawking's complex scientific accomplishments, while telling the story of his challenging life.

Topics include Hawking's early lack of focus as a college student; the impact of ALS on his career and personal life; his groundbreaking work on radiating black holes; his later cutting-edge theories of black holes, cosmology, and the anthropic principle; the amazing publishing success of A Brief History of Time; and his status as a pop icon and spokesperson for the interplay of science and society. Larsen situates Hawking's sometimes-controversial work within the broader context of scientific peer review and public debate, and discusses his personal life with compassion, respect, and honesty. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Lifting the curtain......
Lifts the curtain on Stephen Hawkings life, see his human side, that he's just like everyone else, but, Hawkings is nothing like anyone else. A brilliant mind, seething with a tsunami of knowledge, wisdom, and theory.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book
I have read all of Hawkings books but knew little about the man.He may be the greatest scientist since Einstein, but it is good to read about his personal life as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars From Hawking's early lack of focus as a college student to the evolution of his groundbreaking work
Kristine Larsen's STEPHEN HAWKING: A BIOGRAPHY comes from a physicist and astronomer who examines noted physicist Stephen Hawkins' personal and professional life, emphasizing his contributions, his life, and his special physical challenges. From Hawking's early lack of focus as a college student to the evolution of his groundbreaking work, this biographical coverage is key reading for any interested in correlating his science with his life. ... Read more

7. George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt
by Lucy Hawking, Stephen Hawking
Hardcover: 320 Pages (2009-05-19)
list price: US$18.99 -- used & new: US$11.02
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1416986715
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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George's best friend, Annie, needs help. Her scientist father, Eric, is working on a space project -- and it's all going wrong. A robot has landed on Mars but is behaving very oddly. And now Annie has discovered something weird on her dad's supercomputer.

Is it a message from an alien? Could there be life out there? How do you find a planet in outer space? And if you could talk to aliens, what would you say?An action-packed roller-coaster ride into a dramatic treasure hunt across the cosmos, this terrific adventure is FILLED with the LATEST scientific knowledge about our Universe, including special essays from some of the top scientists in the world! ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars George's Awesome Book
My son loves science and he absolutely loved this book.Anything to encourage reading is great!!

4-0 out of 5 stars good read
I enjoyed reading this, the story gives actual facts, along with the 'asides' of planet information. Excellent for children as well as adults preparing to read "A Briefer History of Time."

5-0 out of 5 stars wonderful adventure!
I have 2 boys, ages 7 & 10.Even though my boys can read themselves, we found great pleasure in reading this series out loud together.The boys were mesmerized with the adventure side of the story, and I was absolutely impressed by the clear detail in the facts presented about the universe.I highly recommend this book.We love giving it as a gift to their friends.It is a sweet adventure story written by brilliant individuals.I highly recommend both book in the series.

5-0 out of 5 stars George's Adventures
I read this to my 5 year old along with the previous book in the series.He loved it.The inset pages with astronomical facts were sometimes beyond him especially the speed and distances, so I skimmed those and read what I thought he could understand.The inset facts are not part of the story other than that they pertain to something already discussed.He loves the stories and cannot wait for the next book in the series.

5-0 out of 5 stars Doesn't get any better than these books...
My seven year old loves anything to do with science, but did not love reading.I bought these two books hoping that he would enjoy me reading them to him.He loved them!!!I did too actually.They were so interesting and fun.I wish there were more of them or other books as good.
... Read more

8. George's Secret Key to the Universe
by Stephen Hawking, Lucy Hawking
Paperback: 336 Pages (2009-05-19)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$5.82
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1416985840
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Stephen Hawking, author of the multi-million copy bestselling A Brief History of Time, and his daughter Lucy explain the universe to readers of all ages. George's parents, who have always been wary of technology, warn him about their new neighbors: Eric is a scientist and his daughter, Annie, seems to be following in his footsteps. But when George befriends them and Cosmos, their super-computer, he finds himself on a wildly fun adventure, while learning about physics, time, and the universe. With Cosmos's help, he can travel to other planets and a black hole. But what would happen if the wrong people got their hands on Cosmos? George, Annie, and Eric aren't about to find out, and what ensues is a funny adventure that clearly explains the mysteries of science. Garry Parsons' energetic illustrations add humor and interest, and his scientific drawings add clarity; there are also eight 4-page full-color inserts of scientific photos. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (43)

3-0 out of 5 stars *Sigh*
I was so excited for this book - my son is an avid space fan and we thought it would be great.The science is good - great - but the first few chapters completely put down so much that is important to our family.Yes, we like our kids to eat well and not stuff themselves with junk, yes, we are low-media, yes, we like to spend time with our kids.We are pressing on with the reading, hoping to get over the lifestyle judgment parts and enjoy the science and story. . .

5-0 out of 5 stars The BEST children's science books!!
My seven year old loves everything to do with science...mostly space.He has had a hard time getting into reading.He'd much rather watch documentaries about space or do experiments on his little sister.However, when I bought the two books in this series, he lit up!He reads all of the time and seems more interested in reading.We read it together the first time and now he reads it to himself.He hopes there will be a third book.It has really helped him to have books that peak his interest!

5-0 out of 5 stars Book for 21st century
What was I reading as a kid? Apart from tons of comic books and fairy tales, mandatory school readings and such, I can't recall much of it. Then again, back in those days I wasn't book worm like I am today. For me, literature came just before I hit the puberty, but if I could go back being child again, I would have wanted to read books like this one. Then again, I grew up in the eighties, before the Internet and expensive production video games, in the times when books were, apart from television, only means of traveling outside your own skin. I imagine they held much more influence than today. Then again, I'm not a child anymore and can't possibly know if what I'm talking about has any sense at all. But, if books are influential, this is the kind of influence I would like, for me as a kid, and for any kid out there. Maybe books like these would have pushed me more towards the science, and maybe it would have been a good thing. Guess I'll never know, but my scholar background, if nothing, showed me the ways to spot a good and valuable book, one of those that you just have to recommend to other people around you.

Now, this isn't the book about science - it is not hard core fiction for techno-geeks-yet-to-be. This is a book of discovery and strange voyage to the unknown, to the final frontier (if we were to believe what Star Trek tells us to) and beyond. And more than anything, this is the book with positive attitude towards life, work and future. Just for it, we can easily spot it as a book for children. For those of you who read extensively, outside of any particular genre, you might have noticed the depressive feeling of contemporary literature. In a way, postmodern caused that. All great ideologies were shattered, unmasked as a fiction, as a way of text asserting itself as a sole proprietor of meaning in an autocratic manner. And in all that post-ideological destruction and deconstruction, somehow we forgot to build new fundaments and new principles for future generations. We can hardly go around and tell children that all is bad and nothing has meaning (they'll learn that by themselves soon enough), and since we're, in a way, obliged to tell the story of a world out there we should choose a story which presents us with possibilities, which incites our curiosity and understanding of the world, which will, eventually, lead to something better than what we have today. And apart from what you might think if you look to author's name, this is not the physics-is-an-answer-to-everything kind of story. This book advocates interdisciplinary thought, it advocates debate, independent thinking and collaboration between humanities and science. And, in a polarized world that tends to choose only one side of the medal, this is the exact message that we (or at least I) would like to send to children. Story itself is clichéd enough but that shouldn't matter. It's just a way to simple down narration so that no one has trouble understanding it. We can't have Proustian text in a children's book, but we can have protagonist, antagonists and discovery. That's all it is needed.

Much like I remember books of Jules Verne and R.L. Stevenson taking me on strange and wondrous trips around the globe and away, being strangely dreamlike and full of excitement, kids will remember this book. It will be a fond memory from their childhood days and something on which they'll recollect in days to come. Edition itself, with nice art and pure color photography of the Universe is a story for itself and it only adds to the value of the text. New paradigm for children books is created and it's called George's Secret Key to the Universe. New approach to the same old story one that we should support.

5-0 out of 5 stars Scientifically awesome.
This review brought to you by my son who is 10.

There's actually a book that was written by Mr. Hawking? Never did think I'd see one by one of the best physics scientists. This book is vocabulary-enhanced, emphasized, and a whole assortment of other things that I cannot think of at the current moment. The Oath of the Scientist is a nice little feature that he's added, but I think that George figuring out how to pull a person out of a black hole AND coming up close to one was the attraction that really pulled me in. In all, I'd say this book is pretty amazing.

5-0 out of 5 stars My 6 year old loved it
I have been reading it to my [...] year old as part of our bedtime reading.He loves it.I think he is having problems grasping the size and distances, but to be honest, I do to. ... Read more

9. The Illustrated On the Shoulders of Giants: The Great Works of Physics and Astronomy
by Stephen Hawking
Hardcover: 256 Pages (2004-10-13)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$10.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0762418982
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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The first edition of this revolutionary look at the scientific discoveries that changed our perception of the world, by the renowned physicist and bestselling author Stephen Hawking, sold over 65,000 copies. Now it's available in a gift-worthy special edition with color photographs and illustrations depicting theoretical models of the planets and their orbits--making Hawking's brilliant insights all the more accessible. This original compilation is based on seven classic works of physics and astronomy which, read in chronological order, trace the evolution of modern science. THE ILLUSTRATED ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS includes selections from On the Revolution of Heavenly Spheres by Nicolaus Copernicus; Principia by Sir Isaac Newton; The Principle of Relativity by Albert Einstein; Dialogues Concerning Two Sciences by Galileo Galilei with Alfonso De Salvio; plus Harmony of the World by Johannes Kepler. It also includes five important critical essays and an original biography of each physicist, written by Hawking himself. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars exegerated condition
although the price was good there was more wear on the book than noted by the seller

4-0 out of 5 stars A history of Physics
This goes over theoretical history through the ages.It reviews the different scientist to date.It does get a little technical explaining the different theories but would be great for students.

3-0 out of 5 stars Fine, But Not So Fine
Just got the book today. I don't understand why 3 books all coming from the Amazon warehouse had to be shipped in 2 packages, and why both packages were shipped the same day via the same carrier but arrived 5 days apart! Anyway, I opened the book today and it looks like it's gonna be a tough read, not like the same author's The Illustrated Theory of Everything (I bought the illustrated versions of these books just to avoid making them tough reads, like his non-illustrated A Brief History of Time which I couldn't even finish). But the biggest frustration of all - the book arrived from Amazon with a damaged cover! The damage is not big, but I pride myself in being able to keep my collection of books in pristine condition even after 3 decades. Well, I'm just too lazy to go out of my way and call them up to return the product!

3-0 out of 5 stars Deeply disappointed.
In Brief -- This is an illustrated version of "On the Shoulders of Giants".This book is not, however,"On the Shoulders of Giants" with some additional illustrations.There are pretty illustrations, which are largely irrelevant, but they replace more than 80% of the text and most of the useful illustrations that are contained in the original book. Whereas the original contains complete versions of works such as Galileo's Dialogs and Newton's Principia, this book contains only excerpts from these works, augmented with largely useless illustrations, but missing the useful diagrams from the original book.

In more detail -- This book consists of five sections, covering the lives and some of the science of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton and Einstein.Each section begins with a brief (10-12 page) discussion of the scientist's life and an outline of his work and its importance.It is followed by a 35-40-page section that contains one or more excerpts from their scientific works.Each chapter is illustrated with paintings or drawings that illustrate the life and times and other general aspects of their work. All well and good, but I was disappointed with this book for several reasons, namely:

1) While Stephen Hawkins name is prominently displayed, it is clear that he had relatively little to do with this book.It is misleading to highlight his name in large type on the spine of the book and only state on the dust jacket that he was an editor and provided commentary.Other editors are mentioned, but not named.Undoubtedly, there were many who purchased the book because of his association with it, not realizing that his actual contributions were limited
2) While there are illustrations, they in no way support the text.This is especially true for the sections that came from Newton's Principia.The Principia is based completely on complex geometric proofs.The ABCs of the text are included, but not the copious diagrams of the original, making these sections virtually useless for someone who wishes to follow Newton's line of reasoning.The same is true for the other sections of the book.Instead of useful diagrams the editors have included things like:photographs of the University of Padua, murky drawings from period books that do not illustrate any of the text, paintings of the Hubble space telescope and the Mariner 10 spacecraft and paintings (photographs in the case of Einstein) of the scientists (which are at least relevant to the historical portions of the text).It is clear that these illustrations were chosen for their artistic appeal and were included to make an illustrated book.It would have been much better if these illustrations actually helped to explain the text. Better still would have been the inclusion of the original diagrams from the books and papers being abstracted.
3) The original, non-illustrated, version of this book is five times longer than this version. It is much longer because contains the complete translations of several of the most critical scientific works ever written. (Because of the numerous illustrations, many of which are half or full page, the text is actually considerably less than 1/5 that of the original version of the book.)Since the illustrations included in this version do nothing to support the clarity of the text, they are a poor tradeoff for the complete works that are provided in the original, non-illustrated, version of this book.
4) Because of the pictures, which are interspersed throughout the book, it was necessary to utilize high gloss paper throughout.This made it difficult for me to read.Since the illustrations are not supportive of the text, their inclusion and the resulting use of high gloss paper made the illustrations, in my opinion, somewhat of a detriment.
5) The original scientific texts are useful for someone who wants to get a flavor of the original, but it is not as illuminating as a good physics text, especially since the diagrams of the original publications are missing.

This book is best suited for someone who wants a coffee table book (albeit a thin one), with some pretty pictures, about 50 pages of historical information and a flavor of what the original texts contained.I am giving the book three stars because of its appeal to this audience. The texts of the excerpts from the original publications are useful, although its usefulness is diminished by lack of the diagrams that were in the original publications.The texts of the scientific works were not, however, completely useless.For instance, I did get a better appreciation of Copernicus's work from this book.He did more than just make a correct guess about the organization of the solar system. The excerpts from his book show that he was a great physicist for his time, and was fully cognizant of the reasons why it was previously assumed that the sun and other planets revolved around a stationary earth, and he made an attempt to logically refute this belief.Also, the complete works in question are very difficult to follow; so brief excerpts are all that many readers would want.This version is thus better suited for them than the much larger, but much more complex, original version of "On the Shoulders of Giants".

Scientists and those interested in the history of science will probably be disappointed because they have read this history in more detail elsewhere and they will find the lack of diagrams a severe deficiency.There are much better histories of science available (for instance, Gribbin's, The Scientists).Those who want the complete versions of the famous books that are included in the original version will also be disappointed in this version.Thus, if you want more of the original science, check out the original version of this book before you buy this one.You will probably find that it is better suited to your needs.

4-0 out of 5 stars Physics! History! Math!
It does not get any better than this. Plus the images are stunning. ... Read more

10. God Created the Integers: The Mathematical Breakthroughs that Changed History
by Stephen Hawking
Paperback: 1376 Pages (2007-10-09)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$1.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0762430044
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Pulled together for the first time, and paired with commentary from the world's most respected scholars, God Created the Integers presents history's extraordinary moments in math, culled from 2,500 years of history and 21 distinguished mathematicians, four more than the hardcover edition. Each chapter begins with a profile of one of these mathematical masters, followed by original printings of their relevant works. This new paperback edition includes the work of Euler, Galois, Bolyai, and Lobachevsky.

Readers get a window into the minds of these geniuses and can see the unfolding thought process as it leads, inevitably, to the high-water marks in mathematical thinking. This new edition comes with an index to make it a valuable and easy-to-use research and reference tool.Amazon.com Review
"God created the integers," wrote mathematician Leopold Kronecker, "All the rest is the work of Man." In this collection of landmark mathematical works, editor Stephen Hawking has assembled the greatest feats humans have ever accomplished using just numbers and their brains. Each of the 17 sections opens with a historical introduction of the featured author, and proceeds to a faithful translation of their most famous work. While most mathematicians will already have complete editions of Isaac Newton's Principia or Georg Cantor's Contributions to the Founding of the Theory of Transfinite Numbers, this book is unique in presenting just the best bits of these and other theoretical works. The collection spans 2,500 years and covers a vast range of theories: the parallel postulate, Boolean logic, differential calculus, and the philosophy of the unknowable among them. Dense with numbers, formulae, and ideas, God Created the Integers is quite challenging, but Hawking rewards curious readers with a look at how mathematics has been built. In contrast to the towering physical edifices of great civilizations of the past, Hawking writes, "The greatest wonder of the modern world is our understanding." --Therese Littleton ... Read more

Customer Reviews (33)

3-0 out of 5 stars integers
most of the book is reprints of what other mathematicians have published
stephen hawking's comments on their stuff is pretty good, and can be used as kind of a guide to the evolution of math up to present day, ie into the age of computers and algorhythms

2-0 out of 5 stars Exciting to read the great proofs but needs more editing
This book gives the ancient theories and proofs of math. It is thrilling to read, for example, proofs by Descartes and Archimedes showing the area of a circle and how to use geometry to depict the product of two numbers or their square root long before the modern tools of calculus were developed.In so doing you can learn how the area of a circle is r^2.(Archimedes said that a circle with radius r and circumference 2r has the same area as a right triangle with height r and baseline 2r.The area of this triangle is 1/2 base * height = 1/2 * 2r * r = r^2).What I just clearly explained here is not so clearly explained by Stephen Hawking.Hawking famously explained to the laymen in his book on the universe the theories of Einstein.But his editors in this book fell short perhaps unable to comprehend what they read.This book would be of better use to the laymen if Hawking proceeded as does David Foster Wallace in his own book on math to walk the reader through these proofs one small step at a time.Instead Hawkins tosses out these ideas in tersely worded passages that do not assist those who are less clever in understanding what is means.This book could take one a lifetime (or even longer) to distill.Its ideas so important, clever, and yes God-like in its beauty that each time I am able to understand one proof completely I plan to post my own explanation on the Internet for other students to read.BTW this book is in it's nth edition.Each subsequent edition 1,2,3, n-1 must have been a revision made to correct logical and technical errors in the mathematics.Might I suggest that version n+1 include some improvement in the prose as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars math
Math, math, everywhere there is math. I have not finished this book. I will be a long time finishig this book, but it is great reading for an 11 hour flight to Europe. This is a book that can be read several times and more can be learned each time read. Not a late night book, it stirs the brain into overdrive!

3-0 out of 5 stars Awkward layout
It's not a straight through linear read, but more of a pick the stuff that interests you and read it. The paperback version of the book is very difficult to handle due to the size, also the page formatting tries to use every ounce of space with the smallest of fonts. Not as good as I thought it would be.

4-0 out of 5 stars interesting history
If you enjoy math and the history of science, you will like this compilation of works from ancient to modern times.Hawking's brief comments are interesting for prespective and some superficial explanation of the mathematics, but the main gist of this book is the reproduction of the seminal works themselves, from Euclid to Godel, living from 325 BCE to 1978 CE.
One gets a sense of the paradigm shift from geopetry to calculus to number theory and so on.For instance, it is fascinating that geometers calculated pi to between 3 1/7 and 3 10/71, but apparently did not come up with the limit concept that made calculus possible.Looking at their papers, it is amazing what they did with triangles and proofs, compared to what many of us probably struggled with in middle to high school geometry/ trigonometry.They were just one small insight away from the calculus, it seems, from looking at their diagrams!
By the middle of the book, the math surpassed my experience, but it was still interesting to try and follow along by skimming through it.
Is this book for a layperson?Only one with a strong interest in math, and even then, maybe not for everyone.It is not a textbook.I did not understand a lot of it, but I still enjoyed it.For a mathematician, this would be a fantastic gift, I should think. ... Read more

11. Stephen Hawking's Universe: The Cosmos Explained
by David Filkin
Paperback: 304 Pages (1998-10-09)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$13.33
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0465081983
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Presents the frontiers of scientific knowledge about the basis of our existence & of everything around us.Features full color photographs & a foreword by Stephen Hawking.Paper.DLC: Cosmology. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (25)

5-0 out of 5 stars This is Simply a Superb Introduction to Cosmology.
In his own inimical way, the holder of Cambridge's Lucasian Chair, Stephen Hawking, again scores a trifecta: a literary, scientific and conceptual triumph.

Always pristinely clear, never wasting a single word, the author builds up the necessary historical conceptual moving parts: the frames required to, not just understand the evolution of the current mental and scientific maps of cosmology, but also a step-by-careful-step description of man's thinking as he went about struggling with what continues to be the largest questions of our existence. Being able to do so while steering around minefields such as religion, and without a single mathematical equation, is itself a unique and monumental work of art.

And in this endeavor, one sees at once that Hawking's reading of history (scientific as well as non-scientific) is at least as good as his practice of science itself, for he knows how to get inside the mind of his historical counterparts and how to sit there and ladle their thinking back out to us, the latest generation to have to grapple with problems of cosmology and man's place in the universe.His approach of beginning at the center of the familiar metaphorical onion, rather than peeling back its layers, is classic Hawking.

One comes away feeling that there is a great deal more order to the scientific process than is actually there, but that too is part of the "Hawking's way (his own non-mystique):" to make the reader feel comfortable tackling the hugest of all ideas. This is all the more important because once the journey begins, the rollercoaster ride from "stacked turtles" through the "Big Bang" and all the way up to "String theory" and beyond, gets rough and bumpy, but never scary or unclear, and never high-minded or pedantic.

Some legends seem overblown, out of proportion to their contributions (and their more often, limited ability to communicate what they have contributed in any case), embellished with unnecessarily mythic attributes. And because of his physical affliction, one might imagine this to be true of Hawking too, but this book, as is true of his other books written for the popular science audience, proves this avowedly is not the case. For Hawking is the "real deal." He is on a mission and he succeeds at it brilliantly here.Five stars

4-0 out of 5 stars Non-Fiction
A layman accessible look at the various sciences supporting cosmology.

As you can see from the author, the only actual Hawking here is the beginning, but his work is referenced at various stages throughout.

A pretty interesting and decent looking book, but obviously out of date pictorially, now

4-0 out of 5 stars Classic.....
This is a classic book. And it looks great on a coffee table. Everyone will think you're smart.

A great book to have and read, and to tell people that you read it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good Book, but more to do with other Various Scientists
Stephen Hawking's Universe is a book that attempts to explain Stephen Hawking's theories of how the universe was created. Under Stephen's theories he supports the Big Bang. In the Big Bang theory it states that the universe was created by a big explosion. Aside from explaining the Big Bang theory, the book also talks a little about Hawking's personal life before he developed Lou Gehrig’s syndrome which has paralyzed him for life.
Although the book talks about Stephen Hawking's Work, it mentions
very little. The book focuses mostly on the history of cosmology and various other cosmologists who have attempted to find the beginnings to the universe. If you are looking for a book that describes in depth Hawking's work and his theories, then this is not the right book.

4-0 out of 5 stars A basic primer, well presented
Stephen Hawking is widely acknowledged as one of the most intelligent persons on the planet, often seen as the intellectual successor to Einstein in reputation if not in actual adherence to theories.This book by David Filkin is a companion to book to a BBC/PBS series by the same name, highlighting different aspects and ideas that came from the television production.

Stephen Hawking's own book, `A Brief History of Time', is a very popular and accessible account of modern theoretical physics - it is somewhat astonishing that a book on this topic should have sold well over 10 million copies worldwide, being translated into many languages.Filkin's book looks not only at the theories (many of which can be found in Hawking's book), but also at the personality of the man behind the ideas.Hawking describes himself as a boy who liked to take things apart to see what made them tick - this is a rather difficult enterprise to undertake when dealing with the universe as a whole.

David Filkin and Stephen Hawking were at Oxford together.Filkin was on the crew team, and Hawking was the cox for the team of eight.Filkin writes of knowing Hawking only peripherally then, but being impressed with his determination, something that has continued to show through in Hawking's life, as he battles debilitating illness.However, as Filkin states, it is easy to get lost in thinking of Hawking in those terms.Hawking is worthy of recognition for his academic achievements in their own right - he holds the mathematics chair at Cambridge that Sir Isaac Newton held (and, as testament to its importance, one of the `future scenes' of Star Trek shows the android Data also hold the same chair, mentioning into the futuristic narrative both Newton and Hawking in the same breath).

Despite this brilliance, Hawking readily admits that much of his model of the universe is not his own.Standing on the shoulders of giants, he sees further, but acknowledges his debtsto past scientific research.Filking introduces theories of the universe by looking at past models, everything from `turtles all the way down' to Ptolemaic, Copernican, and more modern ideas.Filkin draws in the major scientists of the progress of science - Galileo, Kepler, Copernicus, Doppler, and Hubble - and shows a steady progress of science against a backdrop of political, religious and social concerns.The early days of the Hubble discovery of red-shifted light from stars and Einstein's change of view from an eternal, infinite universe to one that had an origin is presented in context of Lemaitre, a cosmologist for the Vatican, who tried to reconcile modern scientific theories with the idea that the universe did have a point or moment of origin; this was not universally accepted (no pun intended), however, as some scientists such as Fred Hoyle continued to argue for an eternal, infinite universe with the Steady State theory.

Beginning with chapter five, and continuing throughout the rest of the text, the real heart of the matter of modern theoretical physics, astronomy and cosmology is presented.Filkin uses both the progress of ideas of Hawking, the progress of technology, and the various personalities involved in the scientific community (most of whom who are presented are still alive and at work) to develop the narrative of understanding the universe.Big Bang theory presented in great detail, including some of the more philosophical/theological concerns involved (while some churches applauded the Big Bang theory because it provided evidence for a moment of creation, others decried it as being contrary to a strict, literal six-day creation interpretation).One of the most intriguing ideas to arise in physics as a part of these developments was the proposition of the black hole, a gravitational oddity that occurs when a supermassive object cannot support its own weight, and the effects on the space-time continuum are so severe that not even light can escape its grasp.

Along the way, Filkin describes in historical and scientific ways the development of ideas of matter (atoms, from ancient Greek thought to modern times), light and energy, dark matter, and more.We learn about WIMPs (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles), MACHO men (Massive Astrophysical Compact Halo Objects observers), SETI research (Search for Extraterrestrial Life), and doing the impossible - locating the elusive black hole.How can you see something no one can see?

The limits of observation also play into the limit of the partnership between theory and observation for cosmology.Filkin writes that, through history, there have been historic pairings (Kepler's theories and Brahe's observations make a classic example), but the limits of nature are bumping up against observational ability, and the theoretical limits of such observatories is being reached - nothing at absolute zero can be detected in and of itself, as absolute zero is the lower limit; similarly, very high temperatures render everything opaque and fuzzy.None of this even begins to deal with the observational issue of the observer changing the status (the uncertainty principle).

There is an interesting duality that arises in cosmology - those who think that our understanding of the universe and its principles is nearly complete (Ed Witten, one of the present-day physicists highlighted, speculates in this direction) and those who think that there is still a vast body of unknown information to be discovered.One cannot help but think of the speculation around the turn of the last century, as nineteenth-century science triumphed in its understanding of various things in the world, and intellectual hubris was so high as to make some consider that patent offices would soon be closing, as everything that would ever be invented already had been.The early twentieth century in science destroyed both the intellectual arrogance and the stability of our understanding of the world, and things have continued at a quickening pace for decades.Have we reached the limits?Time will tell.

Of course, that might be imaginary time (thanks to Richard Feynman).

... Read more

12. The Universe in a Nutshell
by Stephen William Hawking
Hardcover: 224 Pages (2001-11-06)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$15.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 055380202X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Stephen Hawking’s phenomenal, multimillion-copy bestseller, A Brief History of Time, introduced the ideas of this brilliant theoretical physicist to readers all over the world.

Now, in a major publishing event, Hawking returns with a lavishly illustrated sequel that unravels the mysteries of the major breakthroughs that have occurred in the years since the release of his acclaimed first book.

The Universe in a Nutshell

• Quantum mechanics
• M-theory
• General relativity
• 11-dimensional supergravity
• 10-dimensional membranes
• Superstrings
• P-branes
• Black holes

One of the most influential thinkers of our time, Stephen Hawking is an intellectual icon, known not only for the adventurousness of his ideas but for the clarity and wit with which he expresses them. In this new book Hawking takes us to the cutting edge of theoretical physics, where truth is often stranger than fiction, to explain in laymen’s terms the principles that control our universe.

Like many in the community of theoretical physicists, Professor Hawking is seeking to uncover the grail of science — the elusive Theory of Everything that lies at the heart of the cosmos. In his accessible and often playful style, he guides us on his search to uncover the secrets of the universe — from supergravity to supersymmetry, from quantum theory to M-theory, from holography to duality.

He takes us to the wild frontiers of science, where superstring theory and p-branes may hold the final clue to the puzzle. And he lets us behind the scenes of one of his most exciting intellectual adventures as he seeks “to combine Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity and Richard Feynman’s idea of multiple histories into one complete unified theory that will describe everything that happens in the universe.”

With characteristic exuberance, Professor Hawking invites us to be fellow travelers on this extraordinary voyage through space-time. Copious four-color illustrations help clarify this journey into a surreal wonderland where particles, sheets, and strings move in eleven dimensions; where black holes evaporate and disappear, taking their secret with them; and where the original cosmic seed from which our own universe sprang was a tiny nut.

The Universe in a Nutshell is essential reading for all of us who want to understand the universe in which we live. Like its companion volume, A Brief History of Time, it conveys the excitement felt within the scientific community as the secrets of the cosmos reveal themselves.
Amazon.com Review
Stephen Hawking, science's first real rock star, may be the least-read bestselling author in history--it's no secret that many people who own A Brief History of Time have never finished it. Hawking's The Universe in a Nutshell aims to remedy the situation, with a plethora of friendly illustrations to help readers grok some of the most brain-bending ideas ever conceived.

Does it succeed? Yes and no. While Hawking offers genuinely accessible context for such complexities as string theory and the nature of time, it's when he must translate equations to sentences that the limits of language get in the way. But Hawking has simplified the origin of the universe, the nature of space and time, and what holds it all together to an unprecedented degree, inviting nonscientists to share his obvious awe and love of the unseen forces that shape it all.

Yes, it's difficult reading, but it's worth it. Hawking is one of the great geniuses of our time, a man whose life has been devoted to thinking in the abstract about the universe. With his help, and pictures--lots of pictures--we can seek to understand a bit more of the cosmos. --Therese Littleton ... Read more

Customer Reviews (188)

4-0 out of 5 stars Brilliance
If you have any interest or curiosity in the universe this is a must read.The sheer genius of Dr. Hawking comes out on every page.Sometimes a bit of a slow read, others engaging and just compels one to read for hours.

4-0 out of 5 stars a good read
I have to read one of these books once in awhile to keep up with some of the developments and thinking of science today. It is wonderful that a person like Stephen Hawking is able to communicate some very comples ideas and thoughts in a way that the average reader can read them and not only that, can have a fair chance at understanding mosst of it.

This is an excellent book for those interested in science.But remember, science did not create the universe, it only describes it.

J. Robert Ewbank author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the 'Isms'"

5-0 out of 5 stars Very deep but readable.
I think Dr. Hawking did a better job on this book than his work "A Brief History of Time".Being someone who has never had a physics class, I still enjoyed this book.Some of the subjects are over my head, but I was at least able to go back, re-read sections, and at least get a weak grasp on what was being discussed.
Dr. Hawking is a great writer and has a great sense of humor.If you are interested in physics, buy this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Learning more about the world we live in
Not fast reading but fascinating.Hawking, although a genius. has a knack for explaining complex theories in simple, easy to understand language.The illustrations are an extraordinary adjunct to the text and facilitate the layman's understanding of how the universe works.

5-0 out of 5 stars You might actually begin to understand modern cosmology after reading this book
If you want to finally catch a glimpse into the world of modern cosmology, quantum gravity and their mathematical predictions and hypotheses, listen up as I give you a very brief synopsis of some of what I consider to be the more profound concepts made easy in this wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated little hardback.

Let's look at Hawking's justification for accepting "extra dimensions" such as those suggested by proposing an "imaginary" time. On page 54 Hawking prefaces by clearly stating that he is leery of "extra dimensions", but suggests we give them a try. He does so brilliantly in laymen's terms using the sphere and one of its "poles" as an example of how we can now conceptualize our universe in imaginary (extra spatial dimension) time which allows us to consider this pole as a "regular point" in spacetime.

He begins on page 59 by reminding the reader of the brilliant work of Einstein who combined space and time into a fourth dimensional spacetime (3 physical space dimensions and one "real world" time dimension). He describes clearly, with two examples, what it might mean for us to consider "imaginary" time, which can be considered to be a 4th spatial dimension to "real world" time when we properly understand that it is to be taken at a right angle to real time (just like each spatial dimension is at a right angle to real time). As Dr. Hawking puts it, "It is in this imaginary sense that time has a shape."

The first example is presented on pages 61-62 and is the clearest explanation I have ever read toward an understanding of how the universe's "beginning" should not be confused with "beginnings" we typically associate with objects in our human lives (baby being born from parents, start of a competitive race with a "beginning" and a "finish" all with a past cause and effect relationship); nor one that requires us to extrapolate our current understanding of the laws of physics as having to be different in the beginning of the universe from that within its physical duration (troublesome singularities can be conceptualized in imaginary time as "regular points" in spacetime).

He begins in the body of the main text on page 63:

"Suppose that imaginary time was degrees of latitude. Then the history of the universe in imaginary time would begin at the South Pole. It would make no sense to ask, 'What happened before the beginning?' Such times are simply not defined, any more than there are points south of the South Pole."

In the caption of Fig 2.20:

"In an imaginary spacetime that is a sphere, the imaginary time direction could represent the distance from the South Pole. As one moves North, the circles of latitude at constant distance from the South Pole become bigger, corresponding to the universe expanding with imaginary time. The universe would reach maximum size at the equator and then contract again with increasing imaginary time to a single point at the North Pole. Even though the universe would have zero size at the poles, these points would not be singularities, just the North and South Poles on the Earth's surface are perfectly regular points. This suggests that the origin of the universe in imaginary time can be a regular point in spacetime."

So, for me, what were somewhat difficult concepts (singularities, picturing the cosmic expansion and a suggestion for a causeless universe) are solved within the span of two simple paragraphs.

The problem the human mind has is we are used to our conceptualizations; a very strong one is a linear basis upon which real world time exists in it. In our mind's perception of time, there has always been something "south of the South Pole", a.k.a. a Beginner of Things. There may be, but we can now conceptualize a universe own its own terms without postulating the infinite regress or simply having a need to go beyond it. The reason this is important stems from the fact that all understanding of ourselves and the world we live in has come from taking each discovery at face value and then delving into it within its own cause and effect relationship to the rest of the world. With cosmological origins, we remained within the realm of metaphysics up until Dr. Hawking's treatment in this well written and beautifully illustrated book.

So now we can curve back around (I just had to put that in...) and continue with the second example where we are to simply picture our sphere again but this time with longitudinal lines as imaginary time running from the South Pole to the North Pole and converging at them.

Now, remember, we are using imaginary time to picture "extra spatial dimensions" (this aids in our visualization of the extra spatial dimensions of supergravity).Next, Professor Hawking asks us to picture all lines of imaginary time (all extra spatial dimensions) converging at the poles where "time" (extra spatial dimensions) can be considered to be "standing still" (spacetime is curled up). This standing still (curling up of spacetime) is "very similar to how time appears to stand still at the event horizon of a black hole". (Remember, black holes will be places where we can study supergravity, the quantum curling up of all 7 extra dimensions.)

Now, here comes the hard part.We want to relate imaginary time at the poles of a sphere to extra curled up spatial dimensions to the event horizon of a black hole so that we can, in the end, make predictions about the future state of the universe.To make predictions about the future state of the universe, we must have knowledge about the extra spatial dimensions (pictured for the moment as imaginary time "standing still" on the event horizon of a massively gravitating body like a black hole).To have knowledge of a thing, we must have information about it.Now, ordinary or imaginary time (it doesn't matter which, they both work or neither works) "standing still" also means that "spacetime has a temperature," just as Professor Hawking "discovered for black holes."Why is this relevant?Because now we can relate the entropy of a black hole, call it S, to the event horizon of the black hole with Area, A.S is proportional to A.That is, "there is one bit of information about the internal state of the black hole for each fundamental unit of area of the horizon"!!!"This shows that there is a deep connection between quantum gravity and thermodynamics, the science of heat (which include the study of entropy") which leads us to the study of holography and the Holographic Principle.The Holographic Principle is stated by Professor Hawking and along with a final comment neatly sums up what all of this mental gymnastics has been for:

HOLOGRAPHIC PRINCIPLE:The realization that the surface area of the horizon surrounding a black hole measures the black hole's entropy has led people to advocate that the maximum entropy of any closed region of space can never exceed a quarter of the area of the circumscribing surface.Since entropy is nothing more than a measure of the total information contained in a system this suggests that the information associated with all phenomena in the three-dimensional world can be stored on its two-dimensional boundary, like a holographic image in a certain sense the world would be two-dimensional.

Final Comment:"If quantum gravity incorporates the holographic principle, it may mean that we can keep track of what is inside black holes.This is essential if we are to be able to predict the radiation that comes out of black holes.If we can't do that, we won't be able to predict the future as fully as we thought."

I think we are just going to have to trust him on that last statement and what it might mean for us personally.But, for me, with a simple geometric shape (sphere) and some imaginary lines of time, Professor Hawking has: 1. Introduced a conceptualization of time as an extra spatial dimension; 2. Eliminated singularities from big bang cosmology; 3. Eliminated the concept of "beginning" from the big bang model; 4. Kept cosmic expansion intact; 5. Tied holographic information theory to entropy and, in the end, will give you, I'm sure, a better understanding of the supergravity of black holes, the 5 "dualities" of string theory which when seen through Professor Hawkings eyes, gives us M-theory.

I hope I have intrigued you enough to buy a copy today. ... Read more

13. Illustrated Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe
by Stephen Hawking
Hardcover: 117 Pages (2009-09-15)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$16.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1597776114
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Stephen Hawking is widely believed to be one of the world’s greatest minds, a brilliant theoretical physicist whose work helped reconfigure models of the universe and define what’s in it. Imagine sitting in a room listening to Hawking discuss these achievements and place them in historical context; it would be like hearing Christopher Columbus on the New World.

Hawking presents a series of seven lectures—covering everything from big bang to black holes to string theory—that capture not only the brilliance of Hawking’s mind but his characteristic wit as well. Of his research on black holes, which absorbed him for more than a decade, he says, “It might seem a bit like looking for a black cat in a coal cellar.”

Hawking begins with a history of ideas about the universe, from Aristotle’s determination that the Earth is round to Hubble’s discovery, more than 2,000 years later, that the universe is expanding. Using that as a launching pad, he explores the reaches of modern physics, including theories on the origin of the universe (e.g., the Big Bang), the nature of black holes, and space-time. Finally, he poses the questions left unanswered by modern physics, especially how to combine all the partial theories into a “unified theory of everything.” “If we find the answer to that,” he claims, “it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason.”

A great popularizer of science as well as a brilliant scientist, Hawking believes that advances in theoretical science should be “understandable in broad principle by everyone, not just a few scientists.” In this book, he offers a fascinating voyage of discovery about the cosmos and our place in it. It is a book for anyone who has ever gazed at the night sky and wondered what was up there and how it came to be.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Concise Book
It gave me a much better understanding of physics and quantum mechanics than I had before. I would recommend it to anyone.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, but it has its flaws.
I've just read a copy of the hardcover version of "The Illustrated Theory of Everything" by Hawking, and I have to say that it is a very good (and easy) read for anybody who wants to know the basics of astrophysics (e.i. the origins of the universe, black holes, etc.).The book is really just a series of seven lectures by Hawking, first published in the mid-1990s under the title "The Cambridge Lectures."So, it should be noted that some of the content is out of date.

While many of the illustrations in the book are amazing, especially the Hubble pictures, they are mostly useless. Also, I noticed a few odd editorial problems in the book. For example, at one point it is stated that there are about "1,080" particles in the universe, but clearly this is meant to be 10^80 (10 to the 80th power) particles in the universe.

Still, this is a very interesting read. And since the book is so short (110 pages + a short forward and an intro), it wont take too much of your time - so, if this subject does end up grabbing your interest, you can go out and buy a book that's more in-depth and updated.

4-0 out of 5 stars Theory
It is always interesting to read current ideas on the universe and what they think is going on.I always enjoy reading Stephen Hawking because his books are not too technical and can be read by the common person.

5-0 out of 5 stars Caveat Emptor
True, the book does not represent Hawking's latest views, but for those wishing to wade into the shallow end of Hawking's writing this is not bad.

Coming in at a short 112 pages, this heavily illustrated book gives one a opportunity to at least familiarize themselves with issues that Hawking gives much more detailed treatment to in his other works:A brief history of time, Black holes and Baby Universes and On the Shoulders of Giants.

One good for instance is his chapter on the arrow of time.In it Hawking observes that there is not only one but several arrows of time.Though he only talks about cosmic expansion, gravitation and the perceptual arrows of time (and not Kaon decay or the quantum arrow of time which may be the master arrow), one still gets the idea that there are physical reasons for why time assumes a directionality.

Another example is his final chapter on the quest for a theory of everything.Though now -- particularly with waning enthusiasm for string theory -- there is reasoned speculation that maybe there may never be a theory of everything, his chapter stills reflects how many view still view the search.

And finally, his chapter on black hole radiation harkens back to the research that originally put him on the map, his 1974 finding that black holes do indeed radiate and even given enough time will decay.

All together, Hawking's book shows the lucid explanatory power of one who both knows and knows how to explain.

So yes, by all means, read this book, but don't stop here and read the rest of his books too.

5-0 out of 5 stars Advanced astrophysics for dummies
The general consensus is that the three greatest physicists of all time are Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. Unfortunately, Hawking is often known more for his lack of physical prowess than for his prowess in physics. He possesses a brilliant mind, and is also very effective at the writing of popular science. Hawking has an uncanny ability to make the incredibly complex ideas of astrophysics understandable to people who have difficulty balancing an algebraic equation.
Hawking is once again at the top of his game with this book. It is a collection of the seven popular lectures that he presented to the public. Their titles are:

*) Ideas about the universe
*) The expanding universe
*) Black holes
*) Black holes ain't so black
*) The origin and fate of the universe
*) The direction of time
*) The theory of everything

Each is fairly short; the ideas are explained without the reference to equations. There are many illustrations that give a visual explanation of concepts such as the curvature of space, the expansion and contraction of the universe and the direction of time.
If you have an interest in the fate of the universe but always felt that advanced astrophysics was beyond you, then this is the book for you. It doesn't explain everything, but it does show you the best current theories of how the universe started, how it is constructed and how it appears that it will end. ... Read more

14. The Nature of Space and Time: (New in Paper) (The Isaac Newton Institute Series of Lectures)
by Stephen Hawking, Roger Penrose
Paperback: 160 Pages (2010-02-28)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$7.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691145709
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Einstein said that the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible. But was he right? Can the quantum theory of fields and Einstein's general theory of relativity, the two most accurate and successful theories in all of physics, be united in a single quantum theory of gravity? Can quantum and cosmos ever be combined? On this issue, two of the world's most famous physicists--Stephen Hawking (A Brief History of Time) and Roger Penrose (The Emperor's New Mind and Shadows of the Mind)--disagree. Here they explain their positions in a work based on six lectures with a final debate, all originally presented at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge.

How could quantum gravity, a theory that could explain the earlier moments of the big bang and the physics of the enigmatic objects known as black holes, be constructed? Why does our patch of the universe look just as Einstein predicted, with no hint of quantum effects in sight? What strange quantum processes can cause black holes to evaporate, and what happens to all the information that they swallow? Why does time go forward, not backward?

In this book, the two opponents touch on all these questions. Penrose, like Einstein, refuses to believe that quantum mechanics is a final theory. Hawking thinks otherwise, and argues that general relativity simply cannot account for how the universe began. Only a quantum theory of gravity, coupled with the no-boundary hypothesis, can ever hope to explain adequately what little we can observe about our universe. Penrose, playing the realist to Hawking's positivist, thinks that the universe is unbounded and will expand forever. The universe can be understood, he argues, in terms of the geometry of light cones, the compression and distortion of spacetime, and by the use of twistor theory. With the final debate, the reader will come to realize how much Hawking and Penrose diverge in their opinions of the ultimate quest to combine quantum mechanics and relativity, and how differently they have tried to comprehend the incomprehensible.

In a new afterword, the authors outline how recent developments have caused their positions to further diverge on a number of key issues, including the spatial geometry of the universe, inflationary versus cyclic theories of the cosmos, and the black-hole information-loss paradox. Though much progress has been made, Hawking and Penrose stress that physicists still have much farther to go in their quest for a quantum theory of gravity.

Amazon.com Review
Who doesn't love a good argument? When physics heavyweights Stephen W.Hawking and Roger Penrose delivered three sets of back-and-forth lecturescapped by a final debate at Cambridge's Isaac Newton Institute, the courseof modern cosmological thinking was at stake. As it happens, The Natureof Space and Time, which collects these remarks, suggests that littlehas changed from the days when Einstein challenged Bohr by refusing tobelieve that God plays dice. The math is more abstruse, the arguments morerefined, but the argument still hinges on whether our physical theoriesshould be expected to model reality or merely predict measurements.

Hawking, clever and playful as usual, sides with Bohr and the Copenhageninterpretation and builds a strong case for quantum gravity. Penrose,inevitably a bit dry in comparison, shares Einstein's horror at suchintuition-blasting thought experiments as Schrödinger's long-sufferingcat--and scores just as many points for general relativity. The math istough going for lay readers, but a few leaps of faith will carry themthrough to some deeply thought-provoking rhetoric. Though no questionsfind final answers in The Nature of Space and Time, the quality ofdiscourse should be enough to satisfy the scientifically curious. --Rob Lightner ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

3-0 out of 5 stars Now that is a trip down the rabbit hole as it were.
I love cosmology, physics and math but this book goes outside my comfort zone...so many equations and concepts that are beyond my complete understanding.There were times where I had to re-read sections 2-3 times and I'm still not sure that I completely grasp what they were saying.Now let's be honest we are talking about 2 geniuses here so I really didn't stand a chance.

The concept of the book with both men taking different sides to the cosmos questions as they relate to General Relativity, Quantum Field Theory, gravity and much more was a blast...the learning curve is HUGE though so be sure you brush up on you algebra and calculus prior to reading this book.

I also love the questions and answers at the end!!

3-0 out of 5 stars used book
I would not have ordered a used bookwith a "good" rating if I had known that it had coffee stains on multiple pages and the back cover.It makes me wonder about the cleanliness of the item being shipped.
There were also creases which don't bother me at all.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not for the Mathmatically Challenged
If you liked "The Road to reality" and have an understanding of the Mathmatics of Quantum Physics and Relativity then you will enjoy this book. Otherwise don't bother.

4-0 out of 5 stars Sweet
The complexity of space and time easily transcribed, though a more laymens terms kind of explaination would have been more interesting.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, yet complex.
I found this to be a fascinating overview of some of the major issues in cosmology from both Hawking and Penroses point of view.What is amazing is the actual level of agreement between the two.Perhaps only the real physicists appreciate the nuances of their differences of opinion.

I would recommend this book for anyone who's gone to the trouble of picking up a basic understanding of relativity ( special and/or general ).

The math is not terrbily daunting in most places and you get a real overview for the big picture of the state of relativity and quantum gravity. ... Read more

15. The Illustrated Brief History of Time, Updated and Expanded Edition
by Stephen William Hawking
Hardcover: 248 Pages (1996)
list price: US$40.00 -- used & new: US$21.28
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553103741
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In the years since its publication in 1988, Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time has established itself as a landmark volume in scientific
writing. It has also become an international publishing phenomenon, translated into forty languages and selling over nine million copies.

The book was on the cutting edge of what was then known about the nature of the universe, but since then there have been extraordinary advances in the
technology of observing both the micro- and the macrocosmic world. These observations have confirmed many of Professor Hawking's theoretical predictions
in the first edition of his book, including the recent discoveries of the Cosmic Background Explorer satellite (COBE), which probed back in time to within 300,000 years of the universe's beginning and revealed the wrinkles in the fabric of space-time that he had projected.

Eager to bring to his original text the new knowledge revealed by these many observations, as well as his most recent research, for this revised and expanded edition Hawking has prepared a new introduction to the book, revised and updated the original chapters throughout, and written an entirely new chapter on the fascinating subject of wormholes and time travel.

In addition, to heighten understanding of complex concepts that readers may have found difficult to grasp despite the clarity and wit of Hawking's writing, this edition is magnificently enhanced throughout with more than 240 full-color illustrations, including satellite images, photographs made possible by spectacular new technological advances such as the Hubble telescope, and computer- generated images of three- and four-dimensional realities. Detailed captions clarify these illustrations, enabling readers to experience the vastness of intergalactic space, the nature of black holes, and the microcosmic world of
particle physics in which matter and antimatter collide.

A classic work that now brings to the reader the latest understanding of cosmology, The Illustrated A Brief History of Time is the story of the ongoing search for the tantalizing secrets at the heart of time and space. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (58)

4-0 out of 5 stars Get over it when there is no time
From past to current, from simple kinetics to quantum theory, this book introduces ideas gradually.A well-organized review book that will widen many eyes.

5-0 out of 5 stars Easy to follow!!
This book really breaks down astronomy and makes it easy to understand, even explaining the General Theory of Relativity which can be very confusing.It's a well written, understandable, intriguing, and easy to follow book :)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best
The best physics' book I ever read. Simple, concise, practical for non-experienced regular curious persons.

5-0 out of 5 stars Timeless classic worthy of your personal library
The significant enhancement over the original version is the inclusion of 240 illustrations of the concepts. The writing style is characteristically Stephen Hawking; he delights in adding his own personal experiences with colleagues. The book traces the historic discoveries, his personal experiences, and development of significant concepts to understanding the physics of our universe. His effective writing style presents these concepts descriptively in context without the mathematics. Note: If you are really thirsting for the heavy math, I highly recommend Roger Penrose's 'Road to Reality'.

In Chapter 2, 'Space and Time' (my favorite), Hawking summarizes the sequence of events that occurred between 1887 and 1905 that moved our understanding from classical (Newton) physics to relativistic (Einstein) physics. Prior to 1887, Maxwell's equations had proved the velocity of light is a constant. From a classical physics perspective, scientists thought that 'ether' must fill the vacuum of space and that observers would measure different speeds of light based on their own velocity relative to the ether. Measuring this difference in velocities was the intent of a famous experiment (Michelson-Morley) conducted 1887. Problem was, the experiment showed that the speed of light from different directions was exactly the same (i.e., speed of light is constant, independent of an observer's own velocity). Between 1887 and 1905, several theories were proposed to explain this apparent paradox. But it was Einstein, who published his famous paper on special relativity (constant speed of light, time dilation) in 1905 that resolved it, once and for all. The subsequent advances in our understanding of physics during the last 100 years have been remarkable.

The following quote is from the first chapter: "But ever since the dawn of civilization, people have not been content to see events as unconnected and inexplicable. They have craved an understanding of the underlying order in the world. Today we still yearn to know why we are here and where we came from. Humanity's deepest desire for knowledge is justification enough for our continuing quest. And our goal is nothing less that a complete description of the universe we live in."

Stephen Hawking has published a collection of books on the physics of the universe, each with a different perspective and focus. Regardless of which books written by Stephen Hawking you acquire, the illustrated version of 'A Brief History of Time' is a timeless classic worthy of your personal library.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bood is Great and Arrived in good condition
Its probably one of the greatest books ever written. I dont have to say it if you are reading my review about this book. The service is good and the book arrived in great condition. ... Read more

16. Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays
by Stephen W. Hawking
Paperback: 192 Pages (1994-09-01)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$4.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553374117
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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Readers worldwide have come to know the work ofStephen Hawking through his phenomenal million-copyhardcover best-seller A Brief History of Time. Bantam is proud to present thepaperback edition of Dr. Hawking's first new booksince that event, a collection of fascinating andilluminating essays, and a remarkable interviewbroadcast by the BBC on Christmas Day, 1992. Thesefourteen pieces reveal Hawking variously as thescientist, the man, the concerned world citizen,and-always-the rigorous and imaginative thinker.Hawking's wit, directness of style, and absence of pompcharacterize all of them, whether he isremembering his first experience at nursery school; callingfor adequate education in science that will enablethe public to play its part in making informeddecisions on matters such as nuclear disarmament;exploring the origins of the future of the universe;or reflecting on the history of A BriefHistory of Time. Black Holes and Baby Universes is an important work fromone of the greatest minds of the twentiethcentury. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (46)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Brief History of Stephen Hawking Would Have Been Better
"Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays" is a collection of 13 essays by Stephen Hawking and a manuscript of an interview. First off, I would say that it is definitely worth the price. However, somethings should be made clear about the work:

If you have read "A Brief History of Time" you may find some of the material of the scientific essays to be a bit redundant. Redundancy seems to be present even in the essays themselves (usually involving definitions). This is not a major issue at all, but it is a bit of an annoyance. The more personal essays are (in my opinion) the highlights of the work.

There are also a few errors here and there (such as stating that protons and electrons are made up of quarks, when it should be protons and neutrons since the electron is an elementary particle and protons and neutrons are baryons (collections of 3 quarks)). These aren't high in number and aren't that big of a disruption, but people thinking that electrons are made up of quarks is obviously not good. (I am planning to be a particle physicist so I wasn't mislead, but people not informed on elementary particles might be confused.)

There are a few concepts discussed in the collection that (in my opinion) aren't discussed thoroughly enough. But the reason for this is probably that it would be too technical (and involve too much mathematics) for it to be thoroughly explained as it's not meant to be a technical book. This probably won't be a problem for the majority of readers, but for those who want to know precisely how, it can be a bit frustrating.

Overall, the essays and interview are very interesting in their content (especially the more personal essays), but there are a few problems that hold it back from being outstandingly superb.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Inspiring biographical chapters. Deep content made accessible to a non-technical audience as best as feasible.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and eye opening!
This is a great book for anyone interested in the secrets our universe hides in its darkest places. Part autobiography and part cosmological theory, it's a great picture of Professor Hawking's life and work. Highly recommended for the amateur or the expert.

5-0 out of 5 stars Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays
Stephen Hawking is my favorite science author, and I have learned almost everything I know about physics from this man's books.
This book gives some very interesting facts about his life in the beginning. It includes much biographical info not included in his other books, as well as the usual physics he includes in his other books.
Highly recommended book. And cheap (only a few dollars if bought from an Amazon merchant).

3-0 out of 5 stars Library Journal has it just right
BHaBU is a very uneven collection of essays.To LJ's criticisms I would add one more -- which the author himself notes at the outset: there is an enormous amount of repetition in this already short book.To be sure, the science writing in BHaBU is, expectedly, quite interesting (hence, 3 stars).But many essays in BHaBU are little more than quasi-verbatim rehashings of other essays in the book.Overall, BHaBU feels more like a profit-seeking venture than the deliberate product of a conscientious author.And strong agreement with LJ: the last 'essay' in BHaBU -- the transcript of a radio interview -- is pure filler.Very annoying, I thought. ... Read more

17. The Future of Spacetime
by Stephen William Hawking, Kip S. Thorne, Igor Novikov, Timothy Ferris, Alan Lightman
Paperback: 224 Pages (2003-06)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$5.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 039332446X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Where the science of black holes, gravitational waves, and time travel will likely lead us, as reported by spacetime's most important theoreticians and observers.

Our minds tell us that some things in the universe must be true. The New Physics tells us that they are not, and in the process, blurs the line between science and science fiction. Here are six accessible essays by those who walk that line, moving ever further out in discovering the patterns of nature, aimed at readers who share their fascination with the deepest mysteries of the universe.
• Richard Price: "An Introduction to Spacetime Physics"
• Stephen Hawking: "Chronology Protection"
• Igor Novikov: "Can We Change the Past?"
• Kip S. Thorne: "Speculations about the Future"
• Timothy Ferris: "On the Popularization of Science"
• Alan Lightman: "The Physicist as Novelist" ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Dandy for Airplane travel...about 3.5 hours
I had the chance to attend a Kip Thorne lecture at UCI in 2008 and enjoyed his contribution to this book, as another chance to try to understand his "warping versus curving" of space and black hole structure theorizing. The Future Of Spacetime is not exactly a *substitute* for the "live" experience, but I surmise it works for initiated *and* the inquisitive, mathematically-lacking individual.

I still can't fathom how backwards time-travel is possible as human beings are in an evolutionary process and once a cll is used up...well, how does on retreive it?
So I'll revisit those passages on occasion.

The Introduction mentions that Einstein's breakthrough was based, however, on basic Math, so this work, with clearly detailed graphs and drawings, is a nic "breakthrough" for new and old students alike.

4-0 out of 5 stars The State of Real Time Travel
A series of essays on the concept of Time in current Theoretical Physics.The papers were presented in 2000 following a tradition within the community of Physics.These topics honor Kip Thorne on the occasion of his 60th birthday. Thorne has investigated the possibility of actual time travel in current concept of Spacetime.

Igor Novikov provides arguments for the possibility of travel to the past, but concludes that it is impossible to change the past, which has already happened, including any effects of a future person traveling back into time.Stephen Hawking argues that travel in time, in the science fiction concept, is impossible, likely violating the laws of physics as we understand them now.

Contributors discuss the latest knowledge on black holes and singularities.This volume was enjoyable as a view of Physics enjoying itself, taking its possibilities seriously, while enjoying the adventure along the way.Insights from Quantum Physics contribute to our possibilities in the macro world.

Timothy Ferris explores the factors involved in the popularization of science.He provides some shocking statistics about the general ignorance of the American public about science and our knowledge of the universe.Alan Lightman takes us into the world of writing to compare the insights and themes of science fiction and physics.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting thinking on the edge of knowledge
This a book derived from 5 physicists who gave a discourse to honor Kip Thorne on his 60th birthday.If you're interested in the musings of some of the greatest minds in science, this is an excellent book.Absent is the mathematics that gives substance to the thoughts, which makes this subject very approachable to the lay audience.

The topics are far ranging in the field of physics and the discussions are beyond the edge of what is currently provable.This is the area of where knowledge meets intuition, where great theories and insight are born.

If time travel, the universe as four dimensions, and related subjects are not for you, then this isn't the book for you.If your interested in the thoughts that will propel further investigation in the quest for knowledge and understanding, this is an excellent book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Is time-travel possible?
This slim volume consists of six essays, based on talks presented at the Kipfest [note 1] on the occasion of Kip Thorne's sixtieth birthday. Thorne, the Feynman Professor of Physics at Caltech is best known to the general public for his 1988 wormhole "time machine" proposal, and indeed much of the book is taken up exploring the question, "is time travel possible?"

Physicist Richard Price leads off with a concise refresher-essay, "Welcome to Spacetime." Danish physicist Igor Novikov explores classic time-travel paradoxes, with some cool diagrams and novel results: in essence, "closed timelike curves" [note 2] are theoretically possible, but paradoxes aren't allowed -- with a time-machine, you could visit your grandfather, but you couldn't kill him. The universe wouldn't permit it -- which in essence is Hawking's Chronology Protection conjecture. Hawking speculates that the unfortunate time-traveler would be incinerated by (literally) a bolt from the blue. Well, what he actually says is, "one would expect theenergy-momentum tensor to be infinite on the Cauchy horizon" [note 3], which (sigh) is a pretty typical Hawking attempt at "popular" science.

Fortunately, Thorne himself is a master popularizer, and he ends up explaining Hawking's ideas as well as his own. His essay amounts to an update chapter for his wonderful 1994 book, Black Holes & Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy, which I enthusiastically recommend: . Thorne reluctantly concludes that things really don't look very good for wormholes, especially for time travel -- though he does leave a tiny ray of hope for some super-advanced future civilization to make wormholes for space travel [note 4]. Thorne notes that our grasp of basic physics is so crude that we can really only understand maybe 5% of the stuff that fills our universe -- the "normal" baryonic matter that makes up people, planets and stars. Thorne guesses that 35% of the universes's mass is in some unknown form of "cold dark matter", and the remaining 60% is some even more mysterious form of "dark energy" -- so there's certainly plenty of room left for discovery!

The book concludes with a nice explanation of why good popular-science books are needed, by noted pop-science writer Timothy Ferris, and with Alan Lightman's essay on "The Physicist as Novelist".Lightman, a former student of Thorne's, went on to write Einstein's Dreams and other well-regarded novels.

The Future of Spacetime is written for a general audience -- aside from Hawking's essay, everything should be understandable to any science-literate reader. I particularly recommend it to readers who've liked Thorne's earlier pop-science works.

Note 1). a clever play on festschrift, the traditional name for such a tribute volume.

Note 2). As Hawking cheerfully points out, "closed timelike curve" is just physics-speak for time travel, because you can't admit you're studying that sci-fi stuff in a grant proposal...

Note 3). Arthur C. Clarke notes that "the most convincing argument against time travel is the remarkable scarcity of time travellers..."

Note 4). As you may know, a faster-than-light spaceship could also be used as a time-machine, another reason why most physicists think FTL travel is very unlikely. I'd love to see a theoretical treatment of FTL travel that wouldn't violate Hawking's "Chronology Protection Clause"... Note also that there's no theoretical barrier to wormhole spaceships travelling a bit *slower* than light.

Peter D. Tillman
Consulting Geologist, Tucson & Santa Fe (USA)
Review first published at SF Site:

4-0 out of 5 stars Sorry, grandma, I won't be seeing you again anytime soon.
Time travel appears pretty impractical based on this book.Maybe it's mathematically possible to fold time and punch wormholes in it in theory, but I don't think NASA or Greyhound is going to be offering trips back and forth through our lives.However, it's always intriguing to read what really smart people come up with, because they make a lot of it seem so obvious, even though I could never come up with it on my own. ... Read more

18. On The Shoulders Of Giants
by Stephen Hawking
Paperback: 1280 Pages (2003-12-25)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$10.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 076241698X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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World-renowned physicist and author Stephen Hawking presents a revolutionary look at the momentous discoveries that changed our perception of the world with this first-ever compilation of five classic works of physics and astronomy. His choice of landmark writings by some of the world's greatest thinkers traces the brilliant evolution of modern science and shows how each figure built upon the work of his predecessors. On the Shoulders of Giants includes On the Revolution of Heavenly Spheres by Nicolaus Copernicus; Principia by Sir Isaac Newton; The Principle of Relativity by Albert Einstein; Dialogues Concerning Two Sciences by Galileo Galilei with Alfonso De Salvio; plus Harmony of the World by Johannes Kepler. It also includes a biography of each featured physicist that explains the significance of his work. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Promethean Bible
"On the Shoulders of Giants" is a powerful book. It contains the seminal works of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, and Einstein (translated into English) and thus, is an exhaustive account of their Promethean quest to see beyond the veil of appearance and into the hidden laws of the universe.In that sense it is quite revelatory, i.e., a "Promethean Bible" of sorts. And each of these men is a prophet of the scientific revolution.

What I found most interesting were the prevailing ideas that these extraordinary individuals had to overcome during the time that they lived. All of them faced an intellectual climate that often rendered a "contrary supposition inopinable," as Copernicus once said. And yet, their convictions were so strong that they sailed against the prevailing winds and charted a New World that was right before our very eyes.

Copernicus was the first to stand "On the Shoulders of Giants" (the ancient Pythagoreans) as he penned "On the Revolution of Heavenly Spheres." However, he also lived during the time that Columbus sailed to the West Indies and Magellan's voyage had successfully circumnavigated the globe. So it was truly a tumultuous age of exploration and discovery, one that would mark the birth of our modern era. Nevertheless, to purport that the earth was a mere planet that circled around the sun over the course of a year, and to insist that night and day were the result of its rotation on its axis during each 24-hour day, was a mind blowing proposition in 1543. There was really no empirical proof that this was true. And Kepler and Galileo would face enormous difficulties as they attempted to advance this "hypothesis."

But they did, and with only the tools at hand. Which is what is most instructive and beautiful about this book. The methods they used to inquire into the sacred mysteries of the universe can still teach us a lot about what we are unable to see, even today. Moreover, as we read their prose, we get a feel for what was first and foremost on their minds at the time that they were wrestling with their "contrary suppositions."

Einstein, for instance, had to overcome the authority of Sir Isaac Newton in order to develop the General Theory of Relativity. And his imagery is so surreal and difficult to fathom in certain respects that it has captivated our imagination ever since, posing even more questions than it may have answered. Consequently, he would be the first to say that no theoretical edifice should be regarded as sacrosanct, including his own. For there is always a basic premise that provides the foundation for a sacrosanct edifice, and that basic premise is where the scientist needs to look, even if he has to stand "On the Shoulders of Giants" in order to see what is hiding just over the horizon.

One last thing: The introductory commentary that Stephen Hawking provides for each "Giant" is well worth the price of the book. And hopefully, the next young Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, or Einstein will feel the same way as he plumbs the depths of this sourcebook of cosmological genius.

4-0 out of 5 stars Now We Know why Geometry is Called the Queen of the Sciences
One would think that this book's main value is as a keepsake for scientists, so as to have it as a handy reference to refer to the data actually collected by Tycho Brahe, and used by Copernicus; or to repeat the experiments of Galileo, or to have a handy reference to the equations that led Einstein to the development of relativity theory; and these would all be good reasons to buy this book. But there is another more important and even better reason to buy and read this book: and it is that it shows how each of these five geniuses, including Einstein himself, did not just put Euclidean Geometry to good effect, but relied on it until it was time for a newer mathematical paradigm to take over.

It is simply astounding how much mileage Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, and Einstein got out of ordinary Euclidean geometry. In fact, it could be argued that Newton (along with Lebinitz) were forced to invent the calculus, otherwise they too presumably would have remained content to stick to Euclidean geometry. Likewise, had Malinowski and Reimann not expanded the geometry of space to n-dimensions, Einstein's progress on developing relativity could well have remained stuck in the mud. No wonder Euclidean Geometry is still referred to as the "Queen of the sciences."

Although a weighty tome, and a bit pricey, there is more here than just sentimental value. Four stars.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Great Summary of Natural Philosophy
Hawking's summary of some of the greatest works in Physics and Astronomy speaks to more than an audience of physicists and astronomers.Students of History, Mathematics, and other science buffs will benefit from and enjoy this writing.The Principia, for example, is tough reading; and it's especially so for younger audiences.This book highlights important historical facts and principles in enough depth to be beneficial but not too detailed ot be mundane.

3-0 out of 5 stars Impressive but not what was promoted
This book contains writings of five of the greatest scientists who have ever lived.They changed the way we thought about nature and in so doing changed the way we thought about ourselves. Nicolaus Copernicus challenged the notion of a heliocentric universe. Galileo Galilei reiterated that with the added evidence of moons of other worlds. He introduced the discipline of physics into the discussion. Johannes Kepler used this new science to measure the orbits of the planets and discover HOW they spun in their orbits (he gave us the three planetary laws).

Newton used that information to explain the underlying reasons for motion, gravity, acceleration.He also built on Kepler's work in optics. Albert Einstien used the Newtonian universe as the starting point for introducing us to the relativistic nature of existence.

This is NOT a book for beginners - it contains some heavy mathematics, theorem, and the writing is at times, turgid. What I found lacking was the "commentary" by Stephen Hawking.I, like others, had presumed that it was going to be give and take...he would introduce the scientist, let us see some of their work, then offer commentary. Instead what we got were LONG tomes that, while being the essense of the genius, are hardly digestable as public reading.It is an impressive work but is not easily accessible by the layman.

2-0 out of 5 stars Put your wallet back in your pocket, unless...
Fortunately, my public library has this book and I was able to check it out before laying out my dough.
As others have said, the only Stephen Hawking material in this book is the short intro.I would much rather consult the individual works as I see the need rather than relying on Hawking (or most likely--the publisher/editor) to provide me a pricey package which has little apparent added value.Its sort of like an Oprah Book Club selection--Steve Hawking says its good, so I guess I'll buy it.For the general public (dumb guys like me) who love astronomy and astrophysics, Timothy Ferris' books are a lot more fun and approachable. ... Read more

19. A Brief History of Time and the Universe in a Nutshell
by Stephen W. Hawking
Paperback: Pages (2007-06-07)
list price: US$14.98 -- used & new: US$17.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0307291227
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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One of the most influential thinkers of our time, Stephen Hawking is an intellectual icon, known not only for the adventurousness of his ideas but for the clarity and wit with which he expresses them. In this new book Hawking takes us to the cutting edge of theoretical physics, where truth is often stranger than fiction, to explain in laymen's terms the principles that control our universe.Like many in the community of theoretical physicists, Professor Hawking is seeking to uncover the grail of science - the elusive Theory of Everything that lies at the heart of the cosmos. In his accessible and often playful style, he guides us on his search to uncover the secrets of the universe - from supergravity to supersymmetry, from quantum theory to M-theory, from holography to duality. He takes us to the wild frontiers of science, where superstring theory and p-branes may hold the final clue to the puzzle. And he lets us behind the scenes of one of his most exciting intellectual adventures as he seeks "to combine Einstein's General Theory of Relativity and Richard Feynman's idea of multiple histories into one complete unified theory that will describe everything that happens in the universe."With characteristic exuberance, Professor Hawking invites us to be fellow travelers on this extraordinary voyage through space-time. Copious four-color illustrations help clarify this journey into a surreal wonderland where particles, sheets, and strings move in eleven dimensions; where black holes evaporate and disappear, taking their secret with them; and where the original cosmic seed from which our own universe sprang was a tiny nut.The Universe in a Nutshell is essential reading for all of us who want to understand the universe in which we live. Like its companion volume, A Brief History of Time, it conveys the excitement felt within the scientific community as the secrets of the cosmos reveal themselves. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not as advertised
The book was advertised as paperback, instead, they shipped a hardcover. However, they refunded me the money and let me keep the book.

4-0 out of 5 stars From Someone Who Knows Nothing About Physics
I read this book for a physics class and I was really scared that I wouldn't understand anything. I also did not know how physics would be applied to things in outer space. I was very happy to find out that it lacked complicated equations and attempted to explain in simple terms things like black holes, the p-brain, galaxies, the possibilities for extraterrestrial life and other physics related topics. Simple language was used for the most part and when more complex things were introduced, many pictures were shown. In fact the pictures make the book. The author has a sense of humor with several jokes that lighten up the reading as well.

One of my favorite parts of the book was probably the first chapter that gives a biography of Einstein. He then references Einstein and Newton throughout the book explaining their different theories and discoveries. The black hole section was also very interesting learning the physics of how they exist and work. Now I understand a little better the physics behind Star Wars and other sci-fi movies.

It was a fun book to read that I would recommend to anyone looking for a lighter physics read where they want to learn a little more about things that they have always heard about, but were afraid to research because they might only find things that were over their head.

5-0 out of 5 stars Nutshell
I had meant to get the full version but ended up with the "nutshell" version instead. As someone who has a degree in physics this book represents nothing new to me, but presents the findings of modern cosmology in a logical, accessible way that I am sure everyone can benefit from. The book is aimed at the lay person (there are no fancy equations) who may not know what scientists currently have found about the universe.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best book on cosmology.
If you're only going to get one book on the astro world, want to find out if the field is interesting enough to persue further or want to learn what seems like quite a lot of knowledge, this is the book to get.

Improved over previous versions.Excellent pictures.Expensive looking.Amateur appeal; pro content.

I'm not formally educated in this subject at all, so I can attest to it's accuracy, but having read other books by Greene, Tyson, etc, I'd say this book through the use of explanations in words and pictures, is able to explain a pretty good chunk of what might be going on in the "outer" world.

Personally... i think it's all about spinning magnets.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing - Easy to read
The illustration are amazing !!!!. It really help you to understand better the concepts, I have read very few books with such ilustrations.

At the same time, Stephen Hawking explains the concept in a very simple way that any non-scientific person can understand.

I fully recommend this book.

Regards ... Read more


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