kindle A Brief History of Time By Stephen Hawking – Andy-palmer.co.uk

A Brief History of Time It is not clear to me who is in the target audience for this book At times it tries to explain basic concepts of modern physics in simple language, and at other times it assumes a familiarity with the same subject For the first time I think I understand why absolute time is not consistent with relativity theory or that space time curvature supplants the notion of gravity, and for that I thank the author There are a few other things I believe I have a glimpse of having finally slogged thro It is not clear to me who is in the target audience for this book At times it tries to explain basic concepts of modern physics in simple language, and at other times it assumes a familiarity with the same subject For the first time I think I understand why absolute time is not consistent with relativity theory or that space time curvature supplants the notion of gravity, and for that I thank the author There are a few other things I believe I have a glimpse of having finally slogged through the book.On the other hand, there are many places where he writes as if it were clear what he is talking about even though it would require a good deal of background knowledge To give but one example, he starts talking about summing up over possible world histories I cannot locate the quotation without explaining what that would mean Trained in statistics, I have some idea that he is talking about mathematical expectation in the context of quantum mechanics, but I don t know how another reader might make any sense of it and I certainly don t havethan a vague notion There are irritating writing practices that could have used some editing, e.g., the use of the naked pronominal adjective this when in the middle of a dense explanation of an abstruse concept e.g., This had serious implications for the ultimate fate of massive stars My biggest complaints, however, are about his philosophical opinions Obviously he is entitled to think as he wishes about the ultimate questions, but his assertion that his hypothesis of a finite world without beginning or end would leave no place for God seems beside the point The classic divide has not changed some folks look around and say stuff just is, and other folks say there s a power behind the stuff that has at least as much going for it as we do That argument hasn t changed with his theories At one point in the book he claims that the late John Paul II told gathered scientists that they mustn t inquire into the Big Bang because that was God s territory I would wager with anyone reading this comment that such an assertion is just plain false JPII was a flawed mortal, to be sure, but he was no dope it certainly sounds to me like someone hearing what he thinks the pope would say And the Galileo jokes are pretty dumb does anyone think that JPII, who apologized for the embarrassing Galileo fiasco, would go after this guy It must be all that influence the Vatican has had in Britain over the last 400 years that has him scared Other philosophical complaints involve his use of entropy he defines it first within closed systems and then uses it to explain why the thermodynamic arrow of time and the personal arrow of time must run in the same direction leaping from a box of molecules to the entire universe , his droning on about what black holes are like when he doesn t know for sure they exist, his statements about random and being 95% certain a theory is true does that mean about 95 out of 100 theories like that are true His opinions may be very rich, deep, though provoking, but how would I or most general readers know You can t really evaluate a judgment unless you know something in the field And so that is why I ultimately cannot recommend this book if you know physics inside and out, you might find his opinions interesting If you don t, you can only walk around parroting what he says about black holes as if you had a clue what you were talking about What we all really need is a remedial course in physics In The Ten Years Since Its Publication In , Stephen Hawking S Classic Work Has Become A Landmark Volume In Scientific Writing, With Than Nine Million Copies In Forty Languages Sold Worldwide That Edition Was On The Cutting Edge Of What Was Then Known About The Origins And Nature Of The Universe But The Intervening Years Have Seen Extraordinary Advances In The Technology Of Observing Both The Micro And The Macrocosmic Worlds These Observations Have Confirmed Many Of Professor Hawking S Theoretical Predictions In The First Edition Of His Book, Including The Recent Discoveries Of The Cosmic Background Explorer Satellite COBE , Which Probed Back In Time To Within , Years Of The Universe S Beginning And Revealed Wrinkles In The Fabric Of Space Time That He Had Projected Eager To Bring To His Original Text The New Knowledge Revealed By These Observations, As Well As His Own Recent Research, Professor Hawking Has Prepared A New Introduction To The Book, Written An Entirely New Chapter On Wormholes And Time Travel, And Updated The Chapters Throughout Isn t it amazing that a person can read a book like A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking and come away feeling both smarter and dumber than before he started What a universe we live in It s quite short and generally a quick read Not every page is filled with mind blowing numbing theories and brain busting equations Some of it is just history, say on Newton and such However, there were a few pages worth of passages where my wee brain felt like it was getting sucked into a black holem Isn t it amazing that a person can read a book like A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking and come away feeling both smarter and dumber than before he started What a universe we live in It s quite short and generally a quick read Not every page is filled with mind blowing numbing theories and brain busting equations Some of it is just history, say on Newton and such However, there were a few pages worth of passages where my wee brain felt like it was getting sucked into a black holemainly during the black hole segment.I ve forgotten so much since I left school, and since school was such a long time ago, some of what was taught back then is now outdated, it was nice to read this refresher cleanser I came away with a better understanding of the Big Bang theory and why it s plausible Not the tv show Its existence is not plausible I m trying to sort out the time space quantifiability thing That s going to require a rereadand probably further study elsewhere.Surprisingly, I also came away with the idea that God and science can coexist I didn t expect that I figured someone like Hawking would be like, God Pssh, whatever But that s not his take at all, or at least that not the impression this book left me with A Brief History of Time was written with accessibility in mind, knowing full well idiots like me wouldn t buy it, read it or recommend it if it were impossibly dense Hawking s sense of humor even comes through on occasion, which is always appreciated in these sciencey texty thingies So, I ll probably move on to his Briefer History next and I d be quite willing to read others as well A Brief History of Time From the Big Bang to Black HolesWhat is it that our eyes do that could possibly affect things Stephen HawkingA Brief History of Time From the Big Bang to Black Holes is a popular science book on cosmology the study of the universe by British physicist Stephen Hawking It was first published in 1988 Hawking wrote the book for nonspecialist readers with no prior knowledge of scientific theories 1996 A Brief History of Time From the Big Bang to Black HolesWhat is it that our eyes do that could possibly affect things Stephen HawkingA Brief History of Time From the Big Bang to Black Holes is a popular science book on cosmology the study of the universe by British physicist Stephen Hawking It was first published in 1988 Hawking wrote the book for nonspecialist readers with no prior knowledge of scientific theories 1996 1369 231 1369 1375 1378 1380 964573519 1993 Stephen Hawking writes in a very simple and approachable way On the surface the book has been written for the common man, for he who has little knowledge of theoretical physics Hawking uses basic terminology and he tries not to overload his writing with explanations and information dumps, but at times it is very clear that the reader needs a certain level of knowledge to understand what he s talking about As such, Hawking makes certain assumptions as he shifts from concept to concept which le Stephen Hawking writes in a very simple and approachable way On the surface the book has been written for the common man, for he who has little knowledge of theoretical physics Hawking uses basic terminology and he tries not to overload his writing with explanations and information dumps, but at times it is very clear that the reader needs a certain level of knowledge to understand what he s talking about As such, Hawking makes certain assumptions as he shifts from concept to concept which left me a little confused Things that don t appear related are related and it made me question who the intended readership really was I do believe this is a book every reader should try because it is an important one, full of discussions and ideas that could really open up your mind But I would warn you to be prepared, although this seems like light reading, much of it may go over your head Approach with caution Things I learnt from Stephen Hawking11 October 2014 Ever since I took up physics in year 11 I have had a love affair with the subject, which is odd since I went on to study an arts law degree but that probably had something to do with the fact that I would not have had the staying power to pour all of my energy into helping human knowledge advance towards establishing a unified theory I still wonder where I ended up getting this book, and it had been sitting on my shelf for quite a while pro Things I learnt from Stephen Hawking11 October 2014 Ever since I took up physics in year 11 I have had a love affair with the subject, which is odd since I went on to study an arts law degree but that probably had something to do with the fact that I would not have had the staying power to pour all of my energy into helping human knowledge advance towards establishing a unified theory I still wonder where I ended up getting this book, and it had been sitting on my shelf for quite a while probably because I was too busy listening to people tell me why I shouldn t read this book , but it wasn t until John Lennox said that it was the most unfinished book that is people start reading it but do not have the staying power to get to the end ever written I m sure there are other books that beat this book though There are quite a few things that I have discovered while reading this book, and it is these discoveries that I wish to share with you 1 This is not an anti God book One of the impressions that I got from certain people was that this was a book that an atheist wrote to try to argue that God does not exist, in much the same way that Richard Dawkins does in his books However, that statement could not be further from the truth In fact, throughout the book the question of the existence of God perpetually hangs in the background Granted, Hawkings does suggest that if the concept of a infinite bounded universe don t ask turns out to be true then it would undermine God s existence, however he does not actually say that this may be the case In fact his final sentence in this book is that the reason we study physics and try to find a unified theory is because we, as a race, seek to understand the mind of God.2 Stephen Hawkings is actually a really good writer This probably goes without saying, especially since the cover of my book says that it is a record breaking best seller While he is involved in some very serious and complicated research he is able to write in a way that many of us who have probably studied physics up to a year twelve level that is the end of High school can understand Okay, I probably have an advantage over most other people since my Dad is a theoretical physicist that we have regular conversations about some of these high level concepts such as by having anythan three dimensions would cause the orbits of the planets to collapse , but I still found that he was very easy to follow and he explained many of these high level concepts in a way that many of us could understand.3 Scientists have a strange way of viewing the universe Many of us would be familiar with this guy but as it turns out, after reading this book, I have come to the conclusion that a lot of theoretical physicists seem to live in the same world that he does Okay, they probably don t spend their time at the comic book store, or arguing whether Babylon Five is better than Star Trek actually, one of my primary school friends is a theoretical physicist, and we did have such an argument , but they do seem to see the world in a way that we ordinary people would consider strange For instance, we see space as flat, meaning that if we look at a star, as far as we are concerned the star is in that direction However physicists see space as being curved and that a straight line is not necessarily straight We would see a brick wall as being a solid object and that the idea of walking through one would result in a sore nose However physicists see it as being made up of mostly space, and the only reason we can t walk through it is because the nuclear forces forces that exist inside an atom, not the force that can level an entire city prevent us for doing so Then there is the concept of dimensions to us there are only three dimensions, however some scientists and Hawking is not one of them see that there are in fact ten, or even , dimensions.4 Why are so many scientists atheists While reading this book I could not get past about how complex this universe is and it made me wonder why it is, with the mathematical precision of the universe, and the complexity that lies therein, that so many scientists seem to argue that it all came about by chance Even Hawking argues, using the second law of thermodynamics, that the universe cannot move from a state of disorder to a state of order a broken plate simply cannot mend itself However, the argument also goes that with the Big Bang Theory not the television show that the universe began in a state of disorder and moved to a state of order, however the laws of physics seem to suggest otherwise because what the big bang did was sent in motion a series of laws that caused the universe to come about to what we have at the moment However, to go into details would require some intense theoretical physics, something which I have do desire to delve into at the moment.5 Scientists assume the speed of light is a constant The truth is that it is not Okay, if light were travelling through a vacuum where there are no external forces acting upon it, then it is a constant, but that is very rarely the case Take for instance this phenomena The reason light behaves thus is because when it hits the prism it SLOWS DOWN, and when it slows down it refracts Thus my point is proven, the speed of light is only a constant when there are no external forces acting upon it So, what external forces may act upon light in space Well, first of all there are black holes When light hits a black hole the force of gravity is so strong that it will actually prevent light from escaping Thus, gravity is a force that effects light and slows it down Then there is the concept of dark matter, which are clouds of matter that do not emit light and float between the star systems Okay, we know very little about the stuff and it is also a theory, so it has not been proven but my hypothesis is that if this stuff exists then would it not have an effect upon light, namely by slowing it down, which means that there is a possibility that our calculations as to the distance of stars from our own Sun could actually be wrong 6 Scientists do not know as much as we think they know One of the things that Hawking stresses in this book is that theories are not actually proven A theory is an idea that has some foundation based on mathematical calculations and empirical evidence Therein lies the problem Much of our understanding of the universe is based upon mathematical calculations, and it appears that if an event comes about which causes this mathematical calculation to break down, they immediately set out to try to find another mathematical equation to plug the hole Take light for instance For years we believed that light acted as a wave and suddenly it was discovered that it also behaves like a particle a particle of light is called a photon The same goes with matter for years we believed that they were particles when all of the sudden we discovered that they can also behave like waves As such, our understanding of the universe suddenly breaks down meaning that we are not necessarily made up of atoms, but have wavelike properties as well Mathematical equations have been very destructive in out modern world Take the Global Financial Crisis for instance A bunch of apparently really smart people create complex mathematical equations to determine when to buy and sell shares and how to make billions of dollars However what these equations did not take into account was the fact that people could not simply continue to accumulate debt without having to pay it back and when people began to default on their loans enmass, the whole concept broke down and we were taken to the brink of financial armageddon Another point goes back to Ancient Greece Here we have the theory of Democritus, namely that matter was not infinitely indivisible the smallest piece of matter is an atom , and then the theory of Aristotle, that is that matter is infinitely divisible Scientists preferred Democritus theory, however they soon discovered that you could break down the atom into protons and neutrons, and you could even break them down to quarks So, maybe Aristotle was right after all.7 We accept their theories because our gadgets work It goes without saying that their research and discoveries have lead to the computer that I am writing this on, the energy that powers our devices, and the bombs that can level entire cities We know how to make a nuclear bomb, as well as a smart phone, so we don t question what they say, because it obviously works However, as a friend of mine once said, it is still all based on theory, and just because something works does not necessarily mean that the theory is correct Remember that penicillin was discovered by blind chance.8 Nobel Prizes are simply shiny baubles that have no merit Okay, maybe the people that win these prizes are actually really smart, but then again, the guys who set up Long Term Capital Management also won a Nobel prize, which proves my point.9 Nobody really knows how gravity works Gravity is one of those odd forces that doesn t seem to connect with any of the other forces in our universe As Hawking points out, there are four forces that have been identified electro magnetic, strong nuclear, weak nuclear, and gravity Out of those four forces five if you divide electric and magnetic, but since electricity will create a magnetic force, they are effectively combined only gravity stands out This is probably why Hawking spends so much time talking about black holes because black holes are where the gravitational pull is so strong that not even light can escape from its grasp The other thing is that gravity does not, at least in our knowledge, have an opposing force Gravity basically sucks, and that is all it does it doesn t repulse as the other forces can It is interesting that in some texts that I have read maybe it is speculative science fiction but I simply cannot remember off the top of my head some people have suggested that gravity is actually a force from another universe that affects our universe and what it is effectively doing is sucking our universe into their universe However, as I have said, that is incredibly speculative, and since I am not a theoretical physicist I can t really say anyon the subject.10 The God of the Gaps is a cop out The idea of the God of the Gaps is that where there are gaps in our knowledge we simply say oh, God did that and think nothingof it This goes back to the days of paganism and Medieval Europe where all of the unknown forces, such as the weather, was attributed God or the gods and we could not know anything beyond that fact However I am arguing that it is a cop out Creation scientists who resort to this argument are at best lazy and at worst dangerous The reason I say that is that it discourages research into areas that we do not understand Okay, we may never be able to control the weather, or predict earthquakes, but that does not mean that we should throw our hands up in the air and say this is too hard While I may be taking a swipe at creation scientists here, I would also take a swipe at the atheists who claim that there is no God The reason I say that is because there seems to be a fear within the scientific community that suggests that we may not be able to know everything, or that our understanding of the universe may be wrong The problem that arises is that if we throw the idea of God out of the window and claim that the universe came about by chance, then we deny the fact that we live in an incredibly ordered universe that we can learn and understand through the development of mathematical formulae If a formulae turns out to be wrong, that does not mean that the universe will collapse in on itself it won t it just means that we have to go back to the drawing board and start over from scratch.11 Why are Creation Scientists so dogmatic Why is it that some members of the scientific community insist that we must take the Bible literally The Bible is not a scientific text, and it was never meant to be a scientific text It is a theological text that tells us how we should live with one another and how we should view God Science exists beyond the Bible, and neither contradicts the other Okay, granted, God has intervened in this world and done things that break the laws of science, but doesn t he have a right to do that he created the universe However, what the Bible tells us is that God is a god of order, and if he is a god of order then does it not make sense that the universe that he created is an ordered universe So, maybe you are looking for a whiz bang conclusion to my exposition on this book, but all I can say is that what I have written above pretty much sums up what I have learnt from this book In a nutshell hey, this is me in a nutshell , all I can say is that what I have learnt from this book is that the world is an amazingly ordered place in which we live, and having now completed this book I am just as committed to my Christian faith as I ever was However, if theoretical physics fascinates you, then this is certainly a book that you should give a read though you have probably done that already.This review also appears on my blog I have also commented on this book in my review on Interstellar This is an absolutely magical book, both objectively and for me specifically I first read it when I was about 9 or 10, and ever since I ve assumed that I didn t understand a thing, and read it as a childish boast Fast forward nearly twenty years, degree and PhD in physics in hand, and I decided to give it a proper read Much to my surprise I found that the book had permeated my brain I remembered a huge number of the explanations, and the book resonated with the way I ve thought about physics This is an absolutely magical book, both objectively and for me specifically I first read it when I was about 9 or 10, and ever since I ve assumed that I didn t understand a thing, and read it as a childish boast Fast forward nearly twenty years, degree and PhD in physics in hand, and I decided to give it a proper read Much to my surprise I found that the book had permeated my brain I remembered a huge number of the explanations, and the book resonated with the way I ve thought about physics my entire academic career I think I took in a great dealthan I first thought As a primer to physics I would say modern physics, but the book is a little out of date you really couldn t ask for anything better than this Especially when it comes to cosmology, this is possibly the best popular physics book that I ve ever read It really is a classic for a reason It s such a concise, understandable introduction to the field that I m determined to get my girlfriend a linguist with no real interest in physics to read it Not just because I think she ll understand it, but because I think she will enjoy it One peculiarity of the text is Hawking returning to the concept of God with a capital G over and over again In some ways this feels like a transitional text, marking the passing of the public generation for whom the church determined the order of all things, and the coming of the current, secular generation Unlike other authors looking at you, Dawkins Hawking always does so in a way that feels respectful while also forcefully stating his scientific case It s quite feat of writing, much like the rest of the work.You really should read this, it s fantastic Apparently this book tops the world list of bought but not read , which may explain why it s so universally acclaimed as a work of genius If you know anything much about relativity or cosmology, it comes across as a potboiler, admittedly a well written one with a great final sentence I wasn t impressed.But without it, we would never have had MC Hawking If you haven t come across him, start with the lyrics to E MC Hawking Then buy A Brief History of Rhyme Apparently this book tops the world list of bought but not read , which may explain why it s so universally acclaimed as a work of genius If you know anything much about relativity or cosmology, it comes across as a potboiler, admittedly a well written one with a great final sentence I wasn t impressed.But without it, we would never have had MC Hawking If you haven t come across him, start with the lyrics to E MC Hawking Then buy A Brief History of Rhyme The universe doesn t allow perfectionStephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time I know I know I both loved and hated this book I definitely should never have read this book, cut the pages, opened the box, etc Somehow Stephen Hawking has written a book that gently fluffs the tail on Schr dinger s cat or perhaps Schr dinger s cat is fluffing Dr Hawking Look, no doubt the guy is a genius and has a fantastic story ALS, computer voice, nurses, Black Holes, strippers, movies, etc My prThe universe doesn t allow perfectionStephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time I know I know I both loved and hated this book I definitely should never have read this book, cut the pages, opened the box, etc Somehow Stephen Hawking has written a book that gently fluffs the tail on Schr dinger s cat or perhaps Schr dinger s cat is fluffing Dr Hawking Look, no doubt the guy is a genius and has a fantastic story ALS, computer voice, nurses, Black Holes, strippers, movies, etc My problem is the wussification of a large scientific narrative by one of Big P Physics primary scientists Let someone else write a pop GUT Blackhole Big Bang story Let another writer do the pop up Children s book with the scratch n sniff singularity, the rotating black hole, the pull out universe I want Dr Hawking doing smart stuff Let Bill Bryson write the summary science But it is too late for me I already crossed the damn event horizon I ve just become entangled with his book, so my observer state now corresponds to the damn book and the damn book review being both five stars and 1 stars is no longer a possibility my reader state is entangled or linked now with my own review so that the observation of the book review s state and the review s state correspond with each other I am finished.Hey, now to go see some movies about blackholes and wormholes and assholes The main idea to take away from this book is that time has a clear direction Entropy is the idea that the universe moves from highly ordered states to less ordered states If you take the lid off a bottle of perfume, and leave it off for a few days the perfume will go from being highly ordered all in the bottle to highly disordered all over the room Hawking uses this idea to explain why travelling back in time is impossible It requires very little energy to knock a glass over and smash it The main idea to take away from this book is that time has a clear direction Entropy is the idea that the universe moves from highly ordered states to less ordered states If you take the lid off a bottle of perfume, and leave it off for a few days the perfume will go from being highly ordered all in the bottle to highly disordered all over the room Hawking uses this idea to explain why travelling back in time is impossible It requires very little energy to knock a glass over and smash it but think of how much energy it would take to make the glass jump back into place all of the bits perfectly back where they were prior to the glass breaking It would be impossible and that impossibility is what gives time its clear direction.Philosophically, I tend to feel that the book makes far too much of the Uncertainty Principle But that is another story.This isn t the easiest book to read in the world and is probably the most bought science book of all time while also being the one most likely gave up on after a chapter or two but it is a fascinating read all the same


About the Author: Stephen Hawking

Stephen William Hawking was born on 8 January 1942 in Oxford, England His parents house was in north London, but during the second world war Oxford was considered a safer place to have babies When he was eight, his family moved to St Albans, a town about 20 miles north of London At eleven Stephen went to St Albans School, and then on to University College, Oxford, his father s old college Stephen wanted to do Mathematics, although his father would have preferred medicine Mathematics was not available at University College, so he did Physics instead After three years and not very much work he was awarded a first class honours degree in Natural Science.Stephen then went on to Cambridge to do research in Cosmology, there being no one working in that area in Oxford at the time His supervisor was Denis Sciama, although he had hoped to get Fred Hoyle who was working in Cambridge After gaining his Ph.D he became first a Research Fellow, and later on a Professorial Fellow at Gonville and Caius College After leaving the Institute of Astronomy in 1973 Stephen came to the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, and since 1979 has held the post of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics The chair was founded in 1663 with money left in the will of the Reverend Henry Lucas, who had been the Member of Parliament for the University It was first held by Isaac Barrow, and then in 1669 by Isaac Newton.Stephen Hawking worked on the basic laws which govern the universe With Roger Penrose he showed that Einstein s General Theory of Relativity implied space and time would have a beginning in the Big Bang and an end in black holes These results indicated it was necessary to unify General Relativity with Quantum Theory, the other great Scientific development of the first half of the 20th Century One consequence of such a unification that he discovered was that black holes should not be completely black, but should emit radiation and eventually evaporate and disappear Another conjecture is that the universe has no edge or boundary in imaginary time This would imply that the way the universe began was completely determined by the laws of science.His many publications include The Large Scale Structure of Spacetime with G.F.R Ellis, General Relativity An Einstein Centenary Survey, with W Israel, and 300 Years of Gravity, with W Israel Stephen Hawking has three popular books published his best seller A Brief History of Time, Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays and most recently in 2001, The Universe in a Nutshell Professor Hawking received twelve honorary degrees, was awarded the CBE in 1982, and was made a Companion of Honour in 1989 He was the recipient of many awards, medals and prizes and is a Fellow of The Royal Society and a Member of the US National Academy of Sciences.


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