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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hawking is succinct, even-handed, and even funny.
A Brief History of Time is 3 things at once:
First, it is a chronology of the various important scientists and discoveries over the centuries, all leading to where we are now.
Second, it explains, between the beginner and intermediate levels, an understanding of concepts such as black holes, worm holes, the beginning and potential end of time, particles and...
Published on July 3 2004 by William Franklin Jr.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's not THAT good, nor is it THAT easy to read.
I don't care what anyone says, that book was not easy to get through. I have a degree in Math, and he does not give this stuff in layman's terms. Most of it, will eventually make sense if you can wrap your head around the hard to grasp principles, but he keeps adding more, and more to the theories and he will definitely lose you at some point.
Now don't get me wrong,...
Published on Jan. 30 2003


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hawking is succinct, even-handed, and even funny., July 3 2004
By 
William Franklin Jr. (Austin, Texas, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Brief History of Time (Paperback)
A Brief History of Time is 3 things at once:
First, it is a chronology of the various important scientists and discoveries over the centuries, all leading to where we are now.
Second, it explains, between the beginner and intermediate levels, an understanding of concepts such as black holes, worm holes, the beginning and potential end of time, particles and waves, quantum mechanics, and other issues in science.
Third, it is almost an autobiography of Dr. Hawking's scientific life. He interjects wonderful bits of humor and explains the concepts carefully and as simply as he can.
He is also respectful of religion, briefly interjecting his ideas about how religion does not have to be incompatible with the rapidly expanding ideas of science, and that religion should embrace science more.
One part I found humorous was his explanation of a bet he lost with a colleague (he seems to have a lot of long-standing bets going). He owned up to being wrong, and paid the penalty, which was a "one-year subscription to Penthouse, to the outrage of [his colleague's] liberated wife."
This book is for physics experts as well as people who know nothing about science and just want to learn some of the basic concepts. Like the universe, expand your mind.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's not THAT good, nor is it THAT easy to read., Jan. 30 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: A Brief History of Time (Paperback)
I don't care what anyone says, that book was not easy to get through. I have a degree in Math, and he does not give this stuff in layman's terms. Most of it, will eventually make sense if you can wrap your head around the hard to grasp principles, but he keeps adding more, and more to the theories and he will definitely lose you at some point.
Now don't get me wrong, it's obvious that we are dealing with complicated stuff, and he needs to discuss these things, but I just don't want you to think that this is an easy read. It's a necessary read, and I DO recommend you buy it, but don't think it will be easy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, elegant, concise!, Oct. 14 2003
By 
Giant Panda (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Brief History of Time (Paperback)
This perhaps the masterpiece of all science books aimed at general readers. I highly recommend everyone reads it at some point of their lives. Stephen hawking is one of the most brilliant scientists of our time, and in this book he demonstrates how he is equally one of the best science writers. At first I was so intimidated by the reputation of Hawking as a leading physicist I dared not open the book, expecting to find bulky equations and unintelligible discussions of exotica. I couldn't have been further from the truth.
"A Brief History of Time" defies the majority of science books in how easily it is accessible to the general readers. Instead of equations, one finds very simple diagrams beautifully explaining some of the strangest physical phenomena: space-time, relativity, black holes, the Big Bang. It is all in here, and a glossary is provided to remind readers of the meaning of some of the more exotic terms. Best of all, Hawking himself has played major roles in discovering and understanding some of those phenomena, so this book is an autobiography of sorts from one of the people who actually founded modern cosmology.
One of the best things about this book is its brevity, making it possible for one to finish this book in an amount of time such that one remembers the beginning and does not lose sight of the big picture throughout. This is a major advantage over some of the other books like the thick "Black Holes" book by Kip Thorne. What this book lacks, though, is a bibliography to direct interested readers to other books on the topic. Perhaps this is a product of this book being a pioneer - very few other introductory books on science existed when it first appeared.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History of Time, Jan. 25 2010
This review is from: A Brief History of Time (Paperback)
Like some other reviewers, it took a few tries spaced a few years apart to finally get through it. If you try this book keep in mind that it's targetted to give someone with little more than highschool math and physics a gereral understanding of some pretty complex topics; relativity, quantum mechanics, black holes, etc. This book actually does a pretty good job off doing that. For some it will fly over their head, others will want more detail, but Hawking has sold millions of copies of this book because the level of detail and complexeity of discussions are about right.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Put it on your bookshelf, to impress your date, July 24 2002
By 
This review is from: A Brief History of Time (Paperback)
People say that what you read is what you are, and therefor, you can tell about the charector of a person by examing his bookshelf. Well, this book is a great bookshelf book. To put it on your bookshelf so your date think your intelligent, would be a great use for it. It is not a "Science book for the masses" like some had refered to it. It's possible that something happened in the transtlation to Hebrew, but this book was hard-to-read and boring and there are better books in the subject.
This book is a must on every bookshelf, but from the wrong reasons.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Skating the Edge of the Incomprehensible, June 14 2004
By 
Lukas Jackson (Los Angeles, California United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Brief History of Time (Paperback)
My science background is virtually nil, but I found this book to be an interesting and relatively easy read in light of the difficult subject matter. For anyone who has pondered how it all started, how it will all end, or such ideas as whether the universe has a boundary, this book offers a fascinating discussion of our current understanding of these matters.
Hawking first explores how our view of the universe has changed since ancient times, then explains the revolutionary theories of relativity and quantum mechanics. Einstein developed the idea that space-time is "curved" and exists in four dimensions with his theory of relativity. Quantum mechanics was especially interesting-- the idea that matter can be viewed as either a wave or a particle, that matter and forces consist of the same particles with different "spin," or that all forces might be different incarnations of the same absolute force, was especially interesting.
Hawking also explores the most cutting-edge issues in astrophysics. He shows how the universe can be considered like the earth, with time beginning at the North Pole and ending at the "big crunch" at the South Pole. The question of "what happened before the big bang" thus becomes immaterial, as space-time was infinitely curved and "time" as we know it did not exist. He also suggests that space-time may be curved and therefore "finite without a boundary," a fascinating idea that I found difficult to visualize. Hawking asks what role a Creator might have if the universe is a "closed system" like this.
This book packs an enormous amount of information into few pages, but it is not as difficult a read as your average physics textbook. I highly recommend it to anyone concerned with the eternal issues confronting humankind.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "C", "P", and "T"? What tha..., Jan. 3 2002
By 
Ken Nemelka (Alpine, UTAH USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Brief History of Time (Paperback)
I would have to say that overall I was a bit disappointed in this book. It was a little too technical and too theoretical for simple minded little me. I got woosey trying to follow such things as "1/2 Spin" and "Imaginary Time". I was, though, pleasantly surprised at Mr. Hawking's self-depricating and humorous writing style. A discussion of the "Casimir Effect" would make a great ice breaker at an office party, though. :-)
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5.0 out of 5 stars New Old and Essential, May 28 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: A Brief History of Time (Paperback)
Stephen Hawking masterly presents a lucid exposition of the twentieth century science. The foundations of this science were cast before World War II in the works of Einstein, Heisenberg, Plank and Bohr, i.e. well before the age of computers, spacecraft explorations and chaos theory. Hawking skillfully builds on these old foundations in his books. Nevertheless puzzling observations pile in my e-mail from e-zines that report current space research. The galaxies and heavy elements found out at the outskirts of the accessible universe, the association of quasars with common galaxies and the heaviest stars seen dancing very close to each other, all these are only few examples of the increasing number of perplexing discoveries. The growing pile of poorly understood observations requires reconsideration of the old groundwork of modern science. Otherwise we will sink in swamps of paradoxes, complexities and misunderstandings that will soil every aspect of our life.
If you want to impress and confuse your friends and professors with some really new basic ideas and far reaching implications, then you should read also Eugene Savov's Theory of Interaction the Simplest Explanation of Everything. In this thrilling book a well argued and supported with many baffling observations new picture of the universe is drawn. The revealed astonishing picture will become more actual after each surprising discovery in the macro and micro cosmos.
I highly recommend these two books to everyone who wants to become a highbrow hero in college, university or on coffee table.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fate of Space and Time: Blackholes to Big Crunch, March 31 2004
By 
Rama Rao "Rama" (Annandale, VA, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Brief History of Time (Paperback)
This is one of the early books written for those who prefer words to equations to understand cosmology of blackholes. The author attempts to answer basic questions such as; was there a beginning of time? Is there an end to the universe? What are similarities of blackholes, singularity, and Big Crunch? Is the universe infinite? Or does it have boundaries? What are the effects of the critical value of the universe's density on its rate of expansion? What is the role of God in the creation of the universe and how it can be evaluated by the anthropic principle? Did God creat laws of quantum mechanics and theory of relativity and let it evolve itself without leaving an option for him to intervene? How did he choose an initial state or configuration of the universe? What were the boundary conditions at the beginning of time? The author reviews the literature that includes Newton's laws of gravitational force, Einstein's theory of relativity, and quantum mechanics. Problems arise when one combines these theories to understand the four natural forces; the electromagnetic force; the strong and weak nuclear forces; and the gravitational force by one unified field theory (Quantum theory of gravity, and Superstring Theory). This theory must unify the forces of the cosmos and forces of microcosm so that it can explain the grand plan of God in the creation of heaven and earth. The author describes quite a few interesting anecdotes in academic research: The first experimental evidence in support of Einstein's theory of relativity contained errors that were as great as the effect they were trying to measure. In 1920s it was supposed that there were only three men who understood theory of relativity and now thousands of graduate students and many millions are familiar with this theory: Many readers should be encouraged at this. When the author presented his theory that black hole radiates like a hot body, many repudiated his assertion and later accepted it. Max Born, a Nobel Laureate in 1928 told a group that physics research will end in six months, when Dirac published equations for an electron, in the anticipation that the whole of physics problems are solved. This should remind all of us how far the science and mankind has progressed despite this prediction. Newton, one of the greatest scientists of this planet also had a streak of meanness in him. Einstein's honesty as a scientist could be found when he admitted that his universal constant to account for a static universe is a mistake, but he was also less willing to accept quantum mechanics; this is known by his well known comment that "God does not play dice." Hawking having a bet with Kip Thorne over the existence of black holes in Cygnus X-1 for Penthouse magazine to Private Eye magazine shows the fun side of academic rivalry. This is one of the very few books I have read that discusses God's role at the level of quantum mechanics. The reader should feel lucky to have such a book for his/her personal library.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, Feb. 10 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: A Brief History of Time (Paperback)
I have read Hawking's Brief History of Time and Black Holes and Baby Universes, in addition to Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe. I can easily say that, out of those and any conceptual physics book that I have read even a portion of, this is the easiest to read and offers the most knowledge. While I have read reviews, not only on Amazon but in numerous other sources, that say that this book is complicated, foolish, or even proves that a creator exists, it is/does none of these things. I, only from taking a single semester of High School level conceptual physics, was able to easily understand the novel. Also, regarding the foolishness, many who do not realize basic physics principles (such as inabsolute and imaginary time) might feel that this is somewhat silly and abstract. Finally, regarding creationism, Hawking only states that physics does not disprove religion. For instance, he states that while the big bang created time, it is still possible that a "God" created the universe at that time, and therefore does not take any stance on religion whatsoever.
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A Brief History of Time
A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking (Paperback - Sept. 1 1998)
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