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The Grand Design Paperback – Feb 21 2012
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“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 Lives, Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior, War 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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Top Customer Reviews
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).Read more ›
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!
You do not need to be an scientist to understand this book.
The book is is well written, clear and comprehensive.
This book makes me want to study physics.
It was a fascinating read.
In their recent publication they open with a lovely reference to Douglas Adams' number 42, continue with a brief history of science, putter about defining laws, philosophize about realism and then talk about what makes a good theory. Its not for a ways in that you get to some good stuff; the meat and potatoes of what The Grand Design is all about is something referred to as 'M-theory'. Unfortunately, M-theory isn't anything new, rather a new-ish term for uniting the current physical theories. The proper new material in The Grand Design can be summarized as follows: M-Theory dictates that the universe is composed of 11 total dimensions. Full stop.
Compared to Hawking's other books, the amount of description and background material in this book is little, rather its focus is on a very clear description of where physicists are with current knowledge and technology, leaving the details and especially the mathematics behind. Hawking does a great job explaining some fascinating experiments and their implications including the double-slit experiment involving buckyballs and John Conway's game of life.
Overall, The Grand Design is simple to read, well illustrated, and without mathematical formulas.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Great book, as expected from someone like Stephen Hawking, simple and usefulPublished 15 months ago by Omar Sunba
I cannot say I truly understood all the concepts in this book but it was worth the read for what I did get out of it. Read morePublished 19 months ago by bookweasel
Mind blowing. I'm on my first read but I'll have to re-read again to let the ideas digest. Fast shipping.Published 19 months ago by Oreon
Still reading this book and am awed with the breath of knowledge required to cope with contents. Will be rereading this book many times.Published 19 months ago by Leopold Roberge
Sometimes it was difficult to understand, the concepts seemed a little strange for me. then again its been awile. But I did enjoy this book a lot.Published 21 months ago by nick jaggan
Hawking presents here a well explained version of quantum mechanica and physics with several analogies and simplistic diagrams. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Jacob ryan
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