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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)
As one reads the end, it seems that the author hurried up to finish the book, but had more to say.
It's also very well written, easy to read and it manages to explain very complex theories in an understandable human language.
Hawking and Mlodinow seem to realize they have not yet answered the question, "Why is there something rather than nothing?"
If you would like, in a very readable and informal, sometimes funny and sometimes very serious, attempt to explain who we are, where we are, and where we're going, "The Grand... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Alfred R. Couchon
I read this immediately after reading The Universe in a Nutshell (2001). I read Black Holes and Baby Universes a few years ago. Read morePublished 5 days ago by JustinHoca
A very readable book. Hawkings explains quantum mechanics quite well.
While "M Theory" has some problems, he does explain his thinking. Read more
Just OK, parts are now somewhat outdated by current publicly accepted scientific research.Published 9 days ago by Alexey Souvorkin
Interesting but...too much expectation throughout the reading for a weak and frustrating grand finale. As a non-phycisist the conclusion was not that convincible for me.Published 13 days ago by LUCIANO HARARY
it appears that Dr. Hawkins had little to do with this book; I suspect that Mlodinow took advantage of SH's fame and respect to create a book that in many cases is irrational and... Read morePublished 15 days ago by BD
By a heavyweight.But get an alternate view by also reading John Lennox: God and Stephen Hawking.Published 16 days ago by David McG