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The Illustrated A Brief History of Time: Updated and Expanded Edition Hardcover – Oct 1 1996

4.5 out of 5 stars 330 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; 2nd Updated and Expanded ed. edition (Oct. 1 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553103741
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553103748
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 2 x 25.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 862 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 330 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #40,722 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Library Journal

A new edition?with pictures?for those who couldn't fathom the original.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"He can explain the complexities of cosmological physics with an engaging combination of clarity and wit—His is a brain of extraordinary power."—New York Review of Books

"Hawking has succeeded in writing two intertwined books, one a highly readable and popular account of the role of time in physics, the other an in-depth review—What makes all this so interesting is Hawking's ability to convoy the essential physics in words alone."—Physics Today

"In his first work of popular science, Stephen Hawking proves himself to be a master of vivid clarity—It's difficult to think of anyone else living who could have put these mathematically formidable subjects more clearly."—Chicago Tribune

"A masterful summary of what physicists now think the world is made of and how it got that way."—Wall Street journal

"This book marries a child's wonder to a genius's intellect. We journey into Hawking's universe while marvelling at his mind."—Sunday Times, London

"The famous theoretical physicist best known for his inquiries into the nature of black holes—turns out to be as skilled a popular writer as he is a mathematician—The result is probably the best single book on astrophysics for the common reader. Thank you, Dr. Hawking!"—Booklist

"Lively and provocative—Hawking clearly possesses a natural teacher's gift—easy, good-natured humor and an ability to illustrate highly complex propositions with analogies plucked from daily life."—New York Times

"Charming and lucid—gives the general reader an opportunity to learn some deep science directly from the source—[A book of] sunny brilliance."—New Yorker

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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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Format: Hardcover
Stephen Hawking is one of if not the most prominent physicist on the planet today, and works like A Brief History of Time make it easy to see why. Hawking knows just about everything about modern physics, hence the lofty title. From time travel to black holes to general relativity, quantum mechanics and even string theory, he never fails to captivate and galvanize.
The strongest sections in the book are probably those on black holes and time travel, so if you are interested in either of those areas, you would be doing yourself a favor by buying it. The whole book is highly stimulating, though, so even just a casual interest in science would be well-fed by any chapter. In fact, for those of you who are only mildly involved with or intrigued by modern scientific theories, A Brief History of Time just might push you over the edge and make a fanatic out of you.
With the addition of literally dozens of illustrations per chapter, Hawking has made his book extremely readable and colorful, both comprehensive and comprehendable. Yet there are some topics covered inside that are simply too complicated for many people to understand. How black holes can emit radiation even though nothing can escape their surfaces is discussed, for example. (The answer: a particle and its antimatter counterpart can, according to quantum physics, spontaneously emerge out of nothingness very near to the black hole's event horizon--anywhere else they would collide and erupt into pure energy, but near the event horizon one is sucked into the black hole and the other escapes. In this sense black holes are like "matter factories", causing new matter to enter the universe out of nowhere. Pretty weird and confusing stuff.)
The only other quibble I have with this book is that it is too short! That just attests to the quality of the book, though. It was a very worthwhile read for me; it will be for you, too.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It should be a fact that people are taking their own time to be writing a review for this book, and trust me it is no "ordinary" book. Stephen Hawking takes the reader on a journey through different dimensions, possibilities and worlds alike. It's no wonder that this book has over 40 holds at my local library, it's pure genius. The way it can explain physics is both fascinating to someone who doesn't know much about physics and is likewise as interesting for a full-on physicist. Stephen Hawking wastes no time and talks about the CONCEPTS (the interesting part) and leaves out the complex calculations and math out of it. It's more important that the reader should be aware of what something is before they know what it does. This is no critical acclaim, it's only to acknowledge the brilliance of someone so gifted and talented.
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Format: 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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