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A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (May 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553346148
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553346145
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 8.8 x 5.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (185 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Stephen Hawking, one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists in history, wrote the modern classic A Brief History of Time to help nonscientists understand the questions being asked by scientists today: Where did the universe come from? How and why did it begin? Will it come to an end, and if so, how? Hawking attempts to reveal these questions (and where we're looking for answers) using a minimum of technical jargon. Among the topics gracefully covered are gravity, black holes, the Big Bang, the nature of time, and physicists' search for a grand unifying theory. This is deep science; these concepts are so vast (or so tiny) as to cause vertigo while reading, and one can't help but marvel at Hawking's ability to synthesize this difficult subject for people not used to thinking about things like alternate dimensions. The journey is certainly worth taking, for, as Hawking says, the reward of understanding the universe may be a glimpse of "the mind of God." --Therese Littleton

Review

"Master of the Universe... One scientist's courageous voyage to the frontiers of the Cosmos" Newsweek "This book marries a child's wonder to a genius's intellect. We journey into Hawking's universe, while marvelling at his mind" The Sunday Times "He can explain the complexities of cosmological physics with an engaging combination of clarity and wit... His is a brain of extraordinary power" Observer "To follow such a fine mind as it exposes such great problems is an exciting experience" The Sunday Times "One of the most brilliant scientific minds since Einstein" Daily Express --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Stephen Hawking's ability to make science understandable and compelling to a lay audience was established with the publication of his first book, A Brief History of Time, which has sold nearly 10 million copies in 40 languages. Hawking has authored or participated in the creation of numerous other popular science books, including The Universe in a Nutshell, A Briefer History of Time, On the Shoulders of Giants, The Illustrated On the Shoulders of Giants, and George's Secret Key to the Universe.

Customer Reviews

This section is why Chapter 5 needs to be understood very well.
OverTheMoon
Even though the subject matter may sound complex, Hawking has a way of writing that is very easy to understand and follow.
ROSE E HORAN
It really stimulates your thought processes and gives you new perspectives on the world we live in.
gobirds2

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By gobirds2 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book. It really explains many concepts of modern physics in layman's terms. Often we hear scientific words bantered about on various educational television programming without really understanding the concepts and theories behind them. This book goes into concise detail on quite a few topics and does a rather good job explaining them. I thought the explanation of Einstein's general theory of relativity was well done. The explanation of time differential when matter nears the speed of light was explained quite clearly. It truly is relative from your vantage point. Also the concept of space being curved was well presented. This is really a very interesting book. I truly couldn't put it down when I found it in the library. It really stimulates your thought processes and gives you new perspectives on the world we live in. I really like this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Diego Zlotogora on May 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Have you ever thought how everything started? This is what Hawking explains by describing the current theories about the universe.
Although he tries hard to keep it simple, his scientific background doesn't let him be clear enough in some concepts, which are difficult to grasp for ordinary people.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By OverTheMoon on April 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
For those who thought they knew the mind of God

A Brief History of Time (ABHOT) has been with me since its first publication. I now feel, after nearly 20 years of it as a passive hobby, to be able to comprehend and explain what it means to me. It is a deeply personal voyage that I am most glad to have undertaken.

Firstly to call this just a science book, a view I once held, is an understatement. It is both a scientific presentation and the exposure of the corruption of minds that submit completely to a mystery answer for mystery questions. You cannot separate the two in this book. They are interlinked by ABHOT's critic of the persistence of some members of mankind to maintain a wanton lack of knowledge.

This armchair sufficiency in a mystery answer must be combated at all costs in order for us to stop denying that we possess a large brain. If we invoke the mystery explanation as the answer for anything then God just might as well have finished with the spinal cord which would have been enough for us. We are faced with the facts. Creation happened and we want to know how. Hawking knows how.

Since this book deals specifically with theological questions and scientific ones it would be best to start with the theology problems posed by Hawking (the word God appears 40 times). Hawking claims that in 1981, at the end of a conference on cosmology organized by the Jesuits in the Vatican that they "...were granted an audience with the Pope. He told us that it was all right to study the evolution of the universe after the big bang, but we should not inquire into the big bang itself because that was the moment of Creation and therefore the work of God.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michaelb on July 10, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Hawking's book is very clear and despite the complexity of the subject understandable to a person like me who has not had a science lesson in his life. It is true that I had to read a few sections a few times until I got it, but that is not his fault but rather my ignorance. I also like the way he slips through the theologically tricky parts of our present knowledge, where others have been truly dogmatic and unpleasantly partisan. About the most comprehensive book on cosmology I have read. Since 1996 I am sure that much has happened and many new discoveries made. I cannot help wondering what he would say about the implications of the discovery of Higgs Boson. It is a fascinating read and particularly useful for getting a broad grasp of the subject. I now look forward to getting myself more up to date.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By wry and mighty on May 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book was written in 1987, and since then others have made developments in physics available to the layman. (See Brian Greene's Elegant Universe, and I believe Hawking has an updated version of Brief History out now.) But this book became available from a friend and I jumped at the opportunity to read it.

Hawking's writing style is very reader-friendly, and generally in layman's terms. There are no equations in this book, although he constantly refers to crunching numbers with relativistic and quantum mechanical equations. The reason why this book remains a good read is because it explains how our understanding of our universe developed from the time of Aristotle through Copernicus, Galileo, Einstein and the scientists of the 20th century. Hawking does a great job explaining how our notions changed as relativity and quantum mechanics were shown to be valid models of physical behavior.

It seems that Hawking's passion is for black holes, but his discussion of them seems very abstract to me. I was more captivated by one of the final chapters called the Arrow of Time. He poses the question of why the thermodynamic, psychological, and cosmological arrows of time run in the same direction. In other words, why does it take energy to create order, why don't we remember the future, and why is the universe expanding? Would it be plausible the other way around? There are lots of intriguing ideas in this brief survey - highly recommended.
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