Summary and Info
Many readable introductions to the concepts and issues of modern physical theory have been offered over the last few decades. I have enjoyed many of them. With the publication of The Grand Design by Hawking and Mlodinow, I decided to revisit Hawking's A Brief History of Time.
After two decades, this remains the most succinct, parsimonious and carefully written introduction for the non-specialist that I have read. He passes over bits ( a whole Newtonian law of motion) for brevity and clarity, and pads it out for relevance, all appropriately. For example, introducing quantum theory through black body radiation and the uncertainty principle is a common approach, but Hawking is lucid and direct, inspiring a "wow, that was easy" moment. Many books roll out phenomena and theories, duality, tunnelling, entanglement etc, and while these are excellent for learning about elements of quantum theory, a clear take-home message is usually elusive. Rolling this, black whole theory, anthropic principles, no boundary condition, string theory and the unification of physics all together is a singular achievement for this classic. What an inspiration to tackle the maths and learn more.
More About the Author
Stephen William Hawking, CH, CBE, FRS, FRSA (/ˈstiːvən ˈhɔːkɪŋ/; born 8 January 1942) is an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge.
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