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Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays Paperback – September 1, 1994
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
- Gregg Sapp, Montana State Univ. Libs., Bozeman
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
To be sure, Hawking's reputation is not confined to popular acclaim. Other noted scientists, not known to be motivated by sympathy for Hawking's physical condition, have shown the greatest respect for Hawking's work. As Dr. Kip S. Thorne, a physics professor at CalTech, recently said in a New York Times article, "Stephen can see much farther and much more quickly what nature is likely to be doing than most of the rest of us poor mortals. Very few have his level of understanding and insight, or his ability to ask the right questions that trigger others to work on problems in ways they might never have thought of."
Hawking's book Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays continues his attempt to popularise the findings of cosmology and theoretical physics. The book is composed of one interview and 13 essays, most of which were originally given as lectures. Several of the essays are autobiographical. Hawking recounts, for example, his family history, his birth on the 300th anniversary of Galileo's death, his childhood fascination with electric trains, and his marriage and three children.
Of all the segments of the book, it is the interview that gives the most insight into Hawking's personality and tastes.Read more ›
The whole `feel' of Hawking's discourses reminds me of the stories I have read about Einstein at work - placid, orderly and without excitement (or should I say `perturbation'?). Genius of this kind seems to be a kind of glorified knack - such minds just operate naturally with concepts of this kind, and there is no sense of effort or struggle. Sandwiched between some biographical material and a radio interview, the main material in this book is a collection of essays and lectures. They include Hawking's inaugural lecture at Cambridge where he occupies the chair of mathematics once held by Newton, and all are intended in the first place for an audience of his peers. On the other hand, where Newton and Einstein did not try to address the general public, Hawking, like Russell, seeks to do just that, and he does it superbly. The style of writing is both literate and unpretentious, and the occasional jokes are very good. Readers who, like myself, are intensely interested in the subject-matter but entirely lacking in natural aptitude for it, ought to find this book enormously helpful. There is a certain amount of repetition inevitably, but the more of that the better so far as I'm concerned. Any amateur trying to get a handle on mathematical concepts like these has to get into a mathematician's way of thinking as best he can and stop thinking as a layman.Read more ›
The first 3 essays, "Childhood", "Oxford and Cambridge", and "My Experience with ALS" are autobiographical, drawn from talks presented to various Motor Neurone Disease Societies in 1987, with material added in 1991. Much of this (particularly "My Experience with ALS") should be familiar to anyone who watched Errol Morris' A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME or read the transcript (STEPHEN HAWKING'S A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME: A READER'S COMPANION, edited by Gene Stone). To me, this material is most interesting taken together with the film and with Jane Hawking's MUSIC TO MOVE THE STARS. For example, the filmmakers followed up the professor's childhood friends who once bet a bag of sweets on whether he'd ever amount to anything, while Jane Hawking in her book discussed her theory that the professor (like their sons) is probably dyslexic, explaining why he learnt to read relatively late.
"Public Attitudes Toward Science" (October 1989) isn't a history of science, but instead (after pointing out the drawbacks - and impossibility - of putting the clock back to a 'simpler' age) a talk about the need for basic scientific literacy for the general public to be able to make informed decisions. Hawking is careful to make clear that understanding the concepts, not the math, is fundamental.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Book was a gift for someone interested in this subject. He said it is very interesting and informative.Published 9 days ago by Moriah Mercereau
A very interesting work which shows the evolution of Hawking's thinking over the years since Brief History was published. Read morePublished 3 months ago by J. P.
Try another book that goes even deeper in only 30 pages.
It's called "Everything About Black Holes" and it explains everything with science. It's on Amazon.
In this book Hawking talks about his life and about his major areas of interest in his researches.
The book is a collection of updated essays and speeches concerning the... Read more
Most essays are accessible. Some were a challenge. A good book, but I preferred his earlier work, A Brief History of Time. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Tara
I read "A brief history of time" before this one and some ideas and concepts were still unclear to me. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Pablo G.