- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (Feb. 21 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 055338466X
- ISBN-13: 978-0553384666
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.4 x 22.8 cm
- Shipping Weight: 454 g
- Customer Reviews: 1,225 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #89,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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
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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Put this down before you finish cover to cover. I DARE YOU!!
Top international reviews
This will answer all your questions and don't be afraid if you get a little lost - download the audiobook, let the author explain it to you. He does a beautiful job.
Especially since there are parts I listen to five times before I get it.
But science is supposed to be a bit challenging, right?
As for the concepts, I cannot help but feel that these are mathematical conveniences rather than physical descriptions. Indeed, the authors hint at this. 10 or 11 dimensions certainly cannot be understood by the normal human mind as being a physical concept. But the mathematical theories actually work in being able to predict occurrences which can then be verified: this is the basis of a sound theory.
Interspersed with the theory are various anecdotes of ancient religious myths and some history of the development of cosmological ideas which add colour and interest.
The second half of the book brings more recent findings and ideas into the mix. They talk about M theory, strong and weak anthropic principles and how the weirdness of quantum theory can explain the existence of the universe and why it seems fine tuned for us.
Once upon a time popular science books took complicated theories and brought them to a lay audience. They still do that and I would argue, better than ever, but I've noticed a more frequently occurring dimension. That of religion. A modern day battle is being fought on that front and it seems that not even Stephen Hawking is immune from entering the fray. He argues convincingly that science does not need to postulate a deity to explain anything. Whatever your opinion on that front, I don't think they labour the point too much and I didn't feel as though it got in the way of the basic science.
So overall I would say that if you are reasonably familiar (at a lay level) with modern physics then this book is a brief but clear and easily understood update. If you're not then I imagine a lot of the book will be incomprehensible.
Expect a challenging read. The concepts are still challenging even in the scientific community !
Written in a very approachable and compelling style. Making complex subjects understandable at a high level. Also gives a great recap on philosophy / physics to date
Very impressed, thoroughly enjoyed
If you want to understand M-Theory and string theory, then this book provides an excellent introduction for the non-scientist.