Stephen Hawking’s phenomenal, multimillion-copy bestseller, A Brief History of Time, introduced the ideas of this brilliant theoretical physicist to readers all over the world. Now, in a major publishing event, Hawking returns with a lavishly illustrated sequel that unravels the mysteries of the major breakthroughs that have occurred in the years since the release of his acclaimed first book.The Universe in a Nutshell• Quantum mechanics• M-theory• General relativity• 11-dimensional supergravity• 10-dimensional membranes• Superstrings• P-branes• Black holesOne of the most influential thinkers of our time, Stephen Hawking is an intellectual icon, known not only for the adventurousness of his ideas but for the clarity and wit with which he expresses them. In this new book Hawking takes us to the cutting edge of theoretical physics, where truth is often stranger than fiction, to explain in laymen’s terms the principles that control our universe.Like many in the community of theoretical physicists, Professor Hawking is seeking to uncover the grail of science — the elusive Theory of Everything that lies at the heart of the cosmos. In his accessible and often playful style, he guides us on his search to uncover the secrets of the universe — from supergravity to supersymmetry, from quantum theory to M-theory, from holography to duality. He takes us to the wild frontiers of science, where superstring theory and p-branes may hold the final clue to the puzzle. And he lets us behind the scenes of one of his most exciting intellectual adventures as he seeks “to combine Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity and Richard Feynman’s idea of multiple histories into one complete unified theory that will describe everything that happens in the universe.”With characteristic exuberance, Professor Hawking invites us to be fellow travelers on this extraordinary voyage through space-time. Copious four-color illustrations help clarify this journey into a surreal wonderland where particles, sheets, and strings move in eleven dimensions; where black holes evaporate and disappear, taking their secret with them; and where the original cosmic seed from which our own universe sprang was a tiny nut.The Universe in a Nutshell is essential reading for all of us who want to understand the universe in which we live. Like its companion volume, A Brief History of Time, it conveys the excitement felt within the scientific community as the secrets of the cosmos reveal themselves.
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I read this book while in rehab, during my recover from total paralysis caused by Guillain-Barré Syndrome. I could not turn the pages myself, so I made a pest of myself by calling out to whatever staff member was walking by my hospital room. On night, I called Shirley, who worked mostly in the kitchen, as she walked by my room. Before she got to my bedside, I managed to turn the page by myself. We both were amazed and happy! This was a big milestone in my recovery, and I will never forget it. I finished the book pretty quickly after that.more
I was kind of unimpressed by Hawking's latest book, The Grand Design (co-authored with Leonard Mlodinow), which I read a few months ago. But it did remind me that I still had this book sitting on my To-Read Pile, getting more and more out of date by the minute, so I figured I'd better pick it up and give it a shot. In a way, this one gave me some of what I'd been hoping for from The Grand Design, as it touches a little more on topics such as M-theory, which I am very, very fuzzy on and quite interested in learning more about, instead of concentrating mainly on the basic concepts of modern physics. So I found parts of it interesting and reasonably rewarding. On the other hand, I do think I can make some of the same complaints about it as I did about The Grand Design, namely that it's often rather too abstruse and lacking in explanatory background to make sense to the complete layman, but also frequently lacks the technical detail that might help make it more understandable to, say, someone with a decent but slightly rusty undergraduate-level background in physics and astrophysics like yours truly. Admittedly, this is a problem any popularizer is going to run into when dealing with a field like this in which it's essentially impossible to grasp certain ideas without an understanding of advanced mathematics, but I know I've seen other writers do it somewhat better.At least the illustrations make the book very attractive, and, unlike those in The Grand Design, they tend to actually be relevant and sometimes even useful, if also a little distracting.more
When Amazon has over 150 glowing reviews of a book it says something. This is clearly the book I need to help with History of Physics, but have it tucked away in Box 5 in the basement. Must retrieve it soon as I plan to advance my science education, so neglected in high school and college.more
As with A Brief History of Time, I was frequently caught off guard by Hawking's sense of humor. His witty comments brighten up what could have been rather dry material. This is another I listened to on audiobook, read by Simon Prebble. The narrator was good and the subject matter interesting, but I think this would be better read in paper form, if only for the added benefit of diagrams. I had a lot of trouble following some of the more mind-bending notions in theoretical physics.more
This book gets too much out of reality. Nice pictures. Nothing new, and by that I mean all of the Physics is now about one topic(Boring).more
This audiobook wasn’t as good as "A Briefer History of Time," because I preferred the reader of the latter (Eric Davies has a wonderful voice, and Simon Prebble is a Brit), and because this audiobook did not even have the “enhancement” of a PDF of pictures from the book that you can view on your computer as the latter did. As I stated in my review of "Briefer History...", even that “enhancement” isn’t particularly useful, since you can’t look at the pictures on the CD while listening to the book in your car, and because I felt videos rather than static illustrations to depict the principles would be more useful. Hawking seems to cover the same topics as are covered in the other book, just in a different order. It did seem as though the material was clearer this time, but whether that was due to the organization of the book or to the fact that maybe some of the information is finally sinking in on a second listen, I’m not sure. There are a few concepts I think I really understand now (for example, the Doppler effect, although that could have been demonstrated very effectively with an audio/video clip of a passing train). Once again, I had to check out the book to clarify some concepts with the illustrations. On the plus side, Hawking is humorous and drolly dry at times, especially with his references to Star Trek (and his appearances playing poker with Data, Einstein, and Newton on "The Next Generation") and quotes from Shakespeare. However, I think two trials of Hawking in audiobook are plenty, and I won’t be buying or listening to any more.more
I read Stephen Hawking's previous book, A Brief History of Time when I was about 16 years old. That book was great and pretty easy to understand even though I didn't know much about physics back then. Now, ten years later, having spent five of those years studying physics at university level, I can't find much enjoyment in this book. Admittedly, it could be a question of my taste changing while growing up - but I still enjoy A Brief History of Time. Although there were many new tidbits for me (I'm by no means an astrophysicist) and I enjoyed reading the book, the sense of wonder was not there. The "plot" of the book was hard to follow since the book wasn't as well structured as ABHoT. Also, I have a feeling that if I had read this book back when I was 16, I might not have understood very much of it, so I'm not sure that this book is as suitable to someone who has never studied physics.All in all, a good book if you enjoy physics without the equations every once in a while, but not something I would recommend as a must read for a beginner.more
With humor and pretty pictures, Stephen Hawking describes the current theories about the universe as we know it. Definitely more approachable if you have some mathematics or physics background, but appreciable by a layperson as well.more
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