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The Grand Design Paperback – Feb 21 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (Feb. 21 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055338466X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553384666
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 1.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

“In this short and sprightly book . . . Hawking and Mlodinow take the reader through a whirlwind tour of fundamental physics and cosmology.”—The Wall Street Journal

“Fascinating . . . a wealth of ideas [that] leave us with a clearer understanding of modern physics in all its invigorating complexity.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“The authors bring to the field an anecdotal clarity that is something of a first for this genre. . . . Making science like this interesting is not all that hard; making it accessible is the real trick.”—Time
 
“Provocative pop science, an exploration of the latest thinking about the origins of our universe.”—The New York Times
 
“Introduces the reader to topics at the frontier of theoretical physics . . . more clearly for general readers than I have seen before.”—Steven Weinberg, The New York Review of Books
 
“Groundbreaking.”—The Washington Post
 
“A provocative, mind-expanding book.”—The Plain Dealer

About the Author

Stephen Hawking was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge for thirty years, and has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors including, most recently, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His books for the general reader include the classic A Brief History of Time, Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays, The Universe in a Nutshell, and A Briefer History of Time. He lives in Cambridge, England.

Leonard Mlodinow received his doctorate in theoretical physics from the University of California at Berkeley, and teaches at Caltech. He is the New York Times bestselling author of The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules our LivesSubliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your BehaviorWar of the Worldviews: Science versus Spirituality (with Deepak Chopra), Feynman’s Rainbow: A Search for Beauty in Physics and in Life, and Euclid’s Window: The Story of Geometry from Parallel Lines to Hyperspace. He also wrote for Star Trek: The Next Generation. He lives in South Pasadena, California.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

142 of 152 people found the following review helpful By A. Volk #1 REVIEWER#1 HALL OF FAME on Sept. 3 2010
Format: Hardcover
First, I didn't want to wait for the Canadian release, so I just bought this book in the US.

Next, this book is about trying to answer some of the universe's biggest questions: Why is there something instead of nothing? Why do we exist? Why does this particular set of laws govern our universe and not some other set? What Hawking does is use Quantum Mechanics theory to explain our best answers to these questions. The answers are surprisingly satisfying. While it won't all be new to anyone who's read his Brief History of Time, the theories here are presented clearly, without explicit math, and in a way that's accessible to the average reader. Make no mistake though, this isn't a "physics for dummies" in that the ideas themselves are quite complex. But it shouldn't be too hard for most people to follow Hawking along well enough to get a basic understanding of what modern physics knows. I'm certainly not a physicist, and I found the reading to be just about right. In fact, I think that's largely the result of the contributions of his co-author Leonard Mlodinow, who's an accomplished popular science writer.

I'm really curious and don't mind math, so I wouldn't have minded a bit more of that. But it's OK without it, including the way Hawking and Mlodinow can illustrate complex ideas visually. The general gist of quantum mechanics relies on probabilities, the possibility of multiple universes, and the search for a theory that will completely unify all the "laws" of the universe. It's a really ambitious goal that I hope, but don't expect, physicists will soon reach.

Finally, despite the hoopla that the media made, this book is not a serious anti-religion book. This is not another God Delusion (by Richard Dawkins).
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Peter Cantelon TOP 500 REVIEWER on Sept. 16 2010
Format: Hardcover
Stephen Hawking's latest book is very informative and compelling. Unlike A Brief History of Time where he generally focuses more on cosmology than physics this book is solidly planted in the realm of bleeding edge theoretical physics.

While it is a short book clocking in at four to five hours of reading it is by no means a simple book. The content is far denser in terms of ease of understanding than his previous work which could be called introductory in comparison to this one.

The first half of the book is really a foundational historical introduction to the real premise which is to introduce the lay person to M-theory...a potential winner in the search for a Grand Unifying Theory i(GUT)in science. Still Hawking is not unrealistic in the sense that he also proposes that new lessons learned from M-Theory about the nature of the universe suggest that a GUT may not in fact be possible.

I would suggest the only weakness is when Hawking strays into the realm of the philosopher or theologian by making sweeping declarations about the unnecessity for a god and the very bold (and some might suggest arrogant) statement at the beginning of the book that "philosophy is dead" and science is the only reliable source of knowledge in the new world today.

Still having said all of that the book is a very compelling read and certainly will require a re-reading or two. It is gratifying that geniuses like Hawking can find the time to translate and distill some of the most mind-bending and exciting developments of physics to a level that the rest of us can consume.

While you may not agree with everything Hawking says you will most certainly come away more knowledgeable and pleased. A very good read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jacob ryan on July 29 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hawking presents here a well explained version of quantum mechanica and physics with several analogies and simplistic diagrams. The grand design is a must read for anyone interested in quantum physics and theory.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David Jones on Oct. 21 2010
Format: Hardcover
This provides yet another addition to Stephen Hawking's list of books for the lay-person. This does have some overlap with his previous material but is written in a manner that is much easier to understand. His views on model-dependent realism are insightful and one might want to consider how these theories might apply to areas outside of theoretical physics. I highly recommend this book.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Jan. 7 2011
Format: Hardcover
What makes this book so intriguing for me, a traditional Christian and someone not always up on the sciences like I should be, is that it uses a reputable theory like quantum physics as the key to opening my mind to a universal world within my grasp. Hawkings, a leading physicist, with the help of a great popular science writer in Mlodinow of Star Trek fame, proceeds to describe how the power of particle collision, continuing from eons past (Big Bang), can unlock our understanding of life and its implications for humankind. They believe that our purpose for existing comes from continuing to learn how infinitesimal our relationship is to the universes that lie beyond this earthly realm. This account of the role of science in our lives is easy to follow, full of relevant facts, and draws some very profound conclusions as to where we go from here in our never-ending search for truth. While it, unfortunately, excludes God and religion from its calculus, it does so in a quiet and respectful manner. Christianity, as far as the authors see it, is part of a historical culture that doesn't help break new ground in our understanding of the cosmos. While I might question this position, I give the book full marks for taking modern humanism to a new level in a continuing effort to plumb great mysteries and wonders of the natural world. This is definitely a big picture analysis that Hawkings offers his readers so be prepared to come with an objective mind. You might just learn something like I did.
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