Stephen Hawking, science's first real rock star, may be the least-read bestselling author in history--it's no secret that many people who own A Brief History of Time have never finished it. Hawking's The Universe in a Nutshell aims to remedy the situation, with a plethora of friendly illustrations to help readers grok some of the most brain-bending ideas ever conceived.
Does it succeed? Yes and no. While Hawking offers genuinely accessible context for such complexities as string theory and the nature of time, it's when he must translate equations to sentences that the limits of language get in the way. But Hawking has simplified the origin of the universe, the nature of space and time, and what holds it all together to an unprecedented degree, inviting nonscientists to share his obvious awe and love of the unseen forces that shape it all.
Yes, it's difficult reading, but it's worth it. Hawking is one of the great geniuses of our time, a man whose life has been devoted to thinking in the abstract about the universe. With his help, and pictures--lots of pictures--we can seek to understand a bit more of the cosmos. --Therese Littleton
Read by 5 CD's
Like many in the community of theoretical physicists, Professor Hawking is after the Grail of science-the Theory of Everything that lies at the heart of the cosmos. He involves us in the attempts at uncovering its secrets-from supergravity to supersymmetry, from quantum theory to M-theory, from holography to duality, and now, at the very frontiers of science, superstring theory and p-branes. He shares his eagerness to "combine Einstein's General Theory of Relativity and Richard Feynman's idea of multiple histories into a complete unified theory that will describe everything that happens in the universe."
With characteristic exuberance, Hawking invites us to be fellow travelers on this extraordinary voyage through spacetime.
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