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A Brief History of Time [Kindle Edition]

Stephen Hawking
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (955 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $18.00
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $10.01 (56%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description


A landmark volume in science writing by one of the great minds of our time, Stephen Hawking’s book explores such profound questions as: How did the universe begin—and what made its start possible? Does time always flow forward? Is the universe unending—or are there boundaries? Are there other dimensions in space? What will happen when it all ends?

Told in language we all can understand, A Brief History of Time plunges into the exotic realms of black holes and quarks, of antimatter and “arrows of time,” of the big bang and a bigger God—where the possibilities are wondrous and unexpected. With exciting images and profound imagination, Stephen Hawking brings us closer to the ultimate secrets at the very heart of creation.

Editorial Reviews 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


“[Hawking] can explain the complexities of cosmological physics with an engaging combination of clarity and wit. . . . His is a brain of extraordinary power.”—The New York Review of Books
“Lively and provocative . . . Mr. Hawking clearly possesses a natural teacher’s gifts—easy, good-natured humor and an ability to illustrate highly complex propositions with analogies plucked from daily life.”—The New York Times
“Even as he sits helpless in his wheelchair, his mind seems to soar ever more brilliantly across the vastness of space and time to unlock the secrets of the universe.”—Time
“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 (London)
“A masterful summary of what physicists now think the world is made of and how it got that way.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Charming and lucid . . . [A book of] sunny brilliance.”—The New Yorker

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
299 of 320 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Many Different Angles February 3, 2000
By A Customer
Most people know that Hawking is a brilliant physicist, but after reading this book, one develops a respect for his other talents as well. Most noticeable is Stephen Hawking's ability to make very complicated ideas seem quite clear through good explanations, clear comparisons to real life events, and a soft humor. The organization of chapers mostly follows a chronological order, which gives a sense of history from Aristotle to present day, yet also establishes concepts in an order that builds on itself. One also realizes that A Brief History of Time was written by a writer, not a scientist who happened to put ideas to paper. This makes a big difference in the enjoyment of a book, since good information in a dry, dull form can be difficult to read (remember trying to keep your eyes open while reading a dull textbook in a subject of interest?). On the other hand, interesting information presented in an interesting manner make A Brief History of Time as much of a 'page-turner' as physics can be.
In summary, a fountain of information from galaxies and black holes to quantum mechanics presented in such a way that is not only as easy to understand as it can be, but is an enjoyable experience to read.
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105 of 111 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm impressed September 25, 2006
I must say my first reaction was to be surprised at how much better Hawking is at explaining modern physics than my college instructors were. Heisenberg's uncertainty principle was just an equation I learned. Hawking made it seem like common sense.

Hawking tries a little too hard to be witty at times (and punctuates all of his jokes with exclamation points! just in case you missed them!), but all-in-all, this was a quite readable account of what's presently known about cosmology. I use the term "presently" guardedly, as just recently there was some big finding about dark matter (it exists!), but from now on, when there are new findings in physics, I want Hawking to explain them to me, because I feel like then I might understand them. That's why you should read this book.

The reason you should not read this book is because you have no interest in wrestling with abstractions with which you will never interact in daily life, and would rather read about global warming or Darfur or something a bit more topical and practical. This was still a hard read, and I feel like I grasped maybe 80% of it. For you to decide, but for a former engineering student, this was something I wish I had read when I was taking physics.
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73 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Updated Edition July 4, 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A Brief History of Time has had a tremendous impact on scientific thought since its initial publication in 1988. The Big Bang and Black Holes have become parts of our common vocabulary. Why review this book now? Perhaps some readers are not aware of a special Commemorative Edition of this book that was issued as an "Updated Edition" on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of its initial publication. In the "Acknowledgements" at the beginning of the book, Hawking gives great credit to his editors and friends who have helped him improve the book "considerably" in revising the text. In this Edition, Hawking states "I have taken the opportunity to update the book and include new theoretical and observational results obtained since the book was first published. I have included a new chapter on wormholes and time travel. I also describe the progress that has been made recently in finding dualities or correspondences between apparently different theories of physics." A discussion of the significance of cosmic microwave background and its fluctuations is included. These are great reasons to reread this classic work, which has to be one of the finest in the history of science.
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72 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important but accessible classic September 11, 2002
This is probably the most readable book on those mind-boggling questions of cosmology and theoretical physics that engage many of the top minds today. Hawking explains it all in easily understandable language, almost conversationally, and even then, sometimes the concepts are tough sledding. But overall, this is a readable and enjoyable trip along some of the high roads of contemporary physical thought by one of its greatest thinkers. It had been some years since I'd had the time to read much about astronomy and cosmology, and this little book was a great place to start reading up on the subject again.
I usually try to do reviews that aren't simply a rehash of the material in the book, but I would like to mention one thing Hawking discusses since it was so ironic. I was taught, of course, about the Big Bang theory in college (and no, it's not about a hot party at Jimi Hendrix's place back in the 60's), and by that time it was pretty much accepted as an established fact. But Hawking points out that originally he had trouble convincing his fellow physicists that a singularity such as the big bang had actually occurred. His fellow physicists eventually came around to his view of things, but it took a while. However, Hawking discovered later that if certain quantum phenomena were brought into the picture, the necessity for a singularity disappeared--so he could have saved himself the trouble of the original controversy!
Overall, a great classic by a great scientist and teacher.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book but, only if one has a good knowledge of physics.
Book tries hard to be understandable to all. Almost makes it. It is great reading, anyway. I would recommend it.
Published 8 hours ago by Mario
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book! A must read book for everyone interested in space and time.
Published 11 hours ago by Grace
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly smart/wise person can simplify the most complex concept ...
A truly smart/wise person can simplify the most complex concept and make it approachable for all who come in contact with the subject at hand. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Mark C. Reps
3.0 out of 5 stars This is a book that you need in paper so you can closely examine the...
Never should have ordered it for my Kindle. This is a book that you need in paper so you can closely examine the graphs and refer back and forth easily. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Dr.Eileen Klitsch
5.0 out of 5 stars Impeccable
Eye opener
Published 1 day ago by Adnan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book and it was in excellent condition! Thank you:)
Published 1 day ago by CLM
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good ready for just about anyone, even if you don't have an...
Great book for any avid reader and Fan or super fan of Stephen Hawking. This was a very good read. Although, I was able to understand everything in this book. Read more
Published 1 day ago by ZiggyZ
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding read!
Stephen Hawking gives enough data on time and space for,the lay person and the scientist alike. A great way to understand the periphery of the science that he grasps so well.
Published 2 days ago by S. D. Sessions
5.0 out of 5 stars There is a difference berween Stphen and me!
Interesting. Had to re-read some of it and still didn't completely undertand.
Published 3 days ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars It's very interesting
Very hard to understand at first but gets much easier to read after a while, especially f o r a middle schooler
Published 3 days ago by isaac cannon
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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.

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