A Briefer History of Time

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  1. A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking - Penguin Books Australia
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He was basing that approximation on a formula called the Fully Read Index, which measures how easy a book is to read and how dumb the author makes readers feel. If you're one of those 97 people, you'll be glad to know an even more concise version of A Brief History of Time was released in A Briefer History of Time. This was Professor Hawking's area of expertise. He showed that they must contain "a singularity of infinite density and space-time curvature", and he showed that they aren't completely black — theoretically, they can emit tiny amounts of radiation.

But in A Brief History Of Time, he took it back to the basics, giving this neat explanation for the phenomenon:. Thus if light cannot escape, neither can anything else; everything is dragged back by the gravitational field.

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A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking - Penguin Books Australia

So one has a set of events, a region of space-time, from which it is not possible to escape to reach a distant observer. Anything or anyone who fell past the event horizon, Professor Hawking explained, would soon reach a point of "infinite density and the end of time" — bad news for hypothetical astronauts. Professor Hawking described the search for black holes as "a bit like looking for a black cat in a coal cellar", given that by definition they don't emit light. But explained how it can be done. This might seem ambitious, but Professor Hawking was uniquely qualified to try — along with mathematician Roger Penrose, he demonstrated in that the universe started as a singularity.

However, Professor Hawking later tweaked his big bang theory, saying that there actually was no singularity at the beginning of the universe because "it can disappear once quantum effects are taken into account". In A Brief History Of Time, Professor Hawking explained why the universe must have had a beginning in time, due to the discovery that the universe was expanding. Put simply, this is the attempt to reconcile the general theory of relativity which deals with phenomena on a large scale, for instance planets and quantum mechanics which deals with phenomena on an extremely small scale, for instance atoms.

The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing? Is the unified theory so compelling that it brings about its own existence? Or does it need a creator, and, if so, does he have any other effect on the universe? And who created him? Topics: science-and-technology , human-interest , physics , england , united-kingdom.

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By Michael Collett. Photo: If Stephen Hawking's book is still too difficult for you, don't feel like you're the only one. Reuters: Toby Melville.

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Related Story: Stephen Hawking dies aged That still seems a bit far out to me. And, I'm still not sold on such huge quantities of dark matter. He really is a genius to be able to dumb down such a complex subject so well. Best of all, he makes it clear that many of the theories I was taught might be wrong in extremes, but are perfectly acceptable in my observable, living universe, so I don't feel like a complete idiot. Time varies with the observer, but the fractions of a second difference that my GPS uses are of intellectual interest only.

I was a bit surprised at his references to god since I thought he was an atheist. Apparently this was his way to explain in terms that he thought most people would understand. I found this on the web: Hawking now explained: "What I meant by 'we would know the mind of God' is, we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God. Which there isn't. I'm an atheist. Use it or lose it. They're interesting, but of no practical value to me and, as he points out, science has progressed so much that no one can understand it all any more.

So, this was a nice glance at a very interesting, if odd area. View 1 comment. Nov 21, Deborah Markus rated it liked it. If you're thinking of reading A Brief History of Time , read this first. At least if you're a total civilian, which I am. My son and I read this together. We did have to hit the Internet pretty hard a few times to get clarification on some critical points; but all in all, this is a well-written, accessible introduction to some pretty heady stuff.

I would recommend having the basics of atomic structure and the life cycles of stars under your belt before giving this a go. Also, it really helped my son and me to resign ourselves to not being able to visualize certain concepts. Wave-particle duality is just plain weird, and I think it helps to do the best you can and ultimately just go with it, rather than struggling to fit this contradictory idea into a conventional kind of "making sense.

Jul 11, Briynne rated it it was amazing. Wow and wow. I am not by nature a science person. The largely-repressed memories I have of high school chemistry still make me feel a little ill. But this, friends, is more like reading poetry than it is like reading a textbook.

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I am officially in awe of Stephen Hawking - the man can actually make you feel about subatomic particles and forces of nature. It's nothing short of amazing, really. Don't be put off, fellow arts majors. This is a phenomenal book. View 2 comments. Shelves: nonfiction-science.

However I wish explanations to some theories made sense to me. I still feel unfullfilled about string theory and multi dimensions. In addition, the language was a bit dry, or so I thought. Still humor wasn't absent. Apart from those, I liked this book. Got good deal of information and understanding of theories. After reading sc "A briefer history of time" is briefer and simpler version of "A brief history of time". After reading science themed books, especially ones dealing with cosmos, you can't help but feel smaller and meaningless.

However it also fuels your curiosity about universe and science. I really like popular science books and how they are great ways to understand science and even got even deeper. Jan 14, Anto rated it it was amazing Recommended to Anto by: Goodreads. I began watching Neil Degrasse Tyson's Cosmos last year and it rekindled my interest in learning about physics and astronomy. While I excelled in other subjects, my physics teacher in school didn't exactly make the topic interesting so I was never really good at it.

No enthusiasm engendered there. When I learned that there was a Briefer History of Time, I opted for that one bec I began watching Neil Degrasse Tyson's Cosmos last year and it rekindled my interest in learning about physics and astronomy. When I learned that there was a Briefer History of Time, I opted for that one because of my relative ignorance in the subject. In the first chapters, I feared I should have chosen the Brief version instead, because it was kind of 4 Dummies and I didn't need that much explaining to understand it.

I was still learning new concepts though, so it kept me going. Later on it gradually gained complexity with every passing chapter, but the preceding chapters prepare you well for them. There's a certain satisfaction in knowing you wouldn't have gotten all of what you're reading if you had skipped the preceding chapters. When you think of how you would share this with other people, you realize that it would take some time because you'd need to explain from beginning to end.

It's not an over-complicated book you have to waddle through and put down every 30 minutes to digest. The concepts are engaging enough and the path to them is easy and smooth. In the end it is not at 4 dummies, you need to have read the preceding chapters to understand it if you're new to the subject. Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow wrote this in a really enthusiastic way so as a reader you will be excited too.

Well, to summarize this , as someone who started out being pretty ignorant in physics, I'm glad I had a pleasant, fun experience out of becoming better informed on a fascinating subject, including topics like Special and General Relativity, Quantum Theory, and String Theory. I recommend it to pretty much anyone over the age of 12 who doesn't know much about these subjects. This is for beginners. If you're thinking of buying this for someone who has already been enthusiastic about this subject for a while , even if they're 13, chances are they won't get so much out of this and you should get a recommendation for the next step of depth.

Feb 03, Jim rated it liked it Shelves: nonfiction. In an attempt to prove to some recent mega-brainiac friends not that they asked me that I was capable of some limited understanding of physics, I picked up this slim volume. The result: my brain hurts, I learned a few things, and I humbly submit that I will stay in the humanities. Although I think I got most of it, I nonetheless find it hard to accept certain things. I need some time-travel pills, as I am queasy. A lot of this material I learned in school or absorbed over time in media and St In an attempt to prove to some recent mega-brainiac friends not that they asked me that I was capable of some limited understanding of physics, I picked up this slim volume.

A lot of this material I learned in school or absorbed over time in media and Star Trek , though the advance of years washed away much of it, but this book was easy enough for a proto-geek like myself that is like a cro-magnon scientist compared to the smarts of people I know to have some limited understanding and to enjoy, though there are still sections that are blank in my mind. Did I read them? I am not sure. I think Hawking is just playing with me, like a mega-brain cat swatting around an insignificant cricket.

Luckily, I don't think he plans on crushing me. And it was somewhat comforting to understand that, like me, the universe is still expanding. I was disheartened to learn we cannot achieve light-speed. Now, I think I will return to previously scheduled fiction maybe some fantasy. Jan 13, Rusty rated it liked it Shelves: audio-book , read-in , physics , to-buy , goal , science. To begin, I am not…. But I would like to get a better grasp on some scientific principles, so I thought I would give this book a whirl.

Feb 08, S. Baqer Al-Meshqab rated it really liked it. Imagine you are a tiny particle, one that lived throughout the universe since the beginning of time. You witnessed the dawn of creation, and within you lie the rules with which the end can be foreseen. You are fully aware of the characteristics of space-time. You could even be a string! But nobody can say for sure, for only you have that knowledge. You gaze at the human race along the path of t Imagine you are a tiny particle, one that lived throughout the universe since the beginning of time.

You gaze at the human race along the path of time, laughing: They still don't know. But you praise their efforts in their quest to understand it all. Such is the magnificence of a bewildering world. Warning: For a beginner in the field of physics, going through this book may not be an easy task. It was not, for me In spite of being relatively short, it requires a great deal of concentration. A Briefer History of Time does not tell the story of creation, at least not entirely.

It outlines, however, the scientific theories, observations, and discoveries by which one can try to understand how things are they way they are. Starting with the basic definition of the Scientific Theory, and ending with the dilemma of String Theories, the authors tackle some interesting topics regarding the nature of space and time, realized by a different set of theories initiated by different scientists; like Newton, Einstein, and Heisenberg, during a long course of human history.

They will shed some light on the big bang, the black holes, the forces that govern the universe and its components, worm holes and even time travel! Despite all that is known up to date, some things still remain a mystery. Don't expect the book to give you a happy, clear ending, for nowadays theories are not able to explain everything, as they are still not completely compatible. The future, however, is a head of us, and we might, one day, find the one grand ultimate theory which can unveil the curtains to the unknown.

Or can we not? Mar 30, Rick rated it really liked it Recommends it for: non-scientists. I love Physics. And I suck at understanding Physics. But I try. I can actually identify the paragraph where I get lost. I guess that, at least at this time in my life, I'm not capable of getting my head around the concept of a unified and relative space-time and all the implications it carries such as the bending of time near large gravitational fields, differences in aging the farther one gets from the center of a large gravitational field, and that whole section about time travel.

I really w I love Physics. I really wish I did get it, and I am confident that someday I will. As for now, even though I read the whole book after about page 70 most of it was well over my head. This is going to motivate me, though, to find someone who might be able to explain it to me so I get it. NOTE: Hawking actually does an incredible job of simplifying these concepts. My lack of understanding has much more to do with the limits on my brain rather than on his explanation. The book itself is incredibly well-written and easy to read. His explanations of the history of the field and his wry sense of humor keep it flowing and interesting.

Very readable, and I was actually surprised to realize I'd learned most of this information in an astronomy class I took in college. Who knew I was this educated? The end of the book, where Hawking discusses the theories that scientists are currently trying to prove, started getting to be a bit above my head - in my lay opinion, I think it was a combination of Hawking getting a bit more vague and having fewer concrete facts and observations to state.

This is ridiculous, I finished it in less than a day! Yes, it's that interesting and overwhelming, no matter if you've read the earlier version of this book - A Brief History of Time , or how many times you've watched Stephen Hawking's popular series on BBC.

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  7. And you recognize good old Stephen Hawking humour when he introduces Isaac Newton by stating that "Isaac Newton was not a pleasant man. It's a tiny bit shorter, more condensed, with more accessible images than those diagrams in the earlier version. On the contrary, it contains more modern theories that weren't much developed back in the 80s.

    There's a chapter devoted to the string theory. Correct me if I'm wrong but there was nothing about string theory in A Brief History of Time maybe only a slight mention but nothing more. In general I'd say this is like a children's book compared to the version, so if you're not really a science person I'd recommend to read only this one I liked the detailed discussion of Friedmann's 3 models of the universe in the first edition, as well as singularities and possibilities of time travel. I don't know why but quantum mechanics and the string theory still give me the chills comparable to a solid chill a good Stephen King horror book would give me.

    I'm doing it again, aren't I? View all 11 comments. Mar 24, Bruce rated it really liked it Recommends it for: everyone who has not yet made it to a grad-school-level physics class. Shelves: science. This will be a shorter-than-usual review for me, but it doesn't seem necessary to add much more to the many excellent reviews of this book.

    This is the Hawking-Mlodinow easy-reader because his best-seller A Brief History of Time was bought to make people seem better informed, but not actually really read. The challenge here was to comprehensively and cogently present complex concepts like relativity, quantum theory, string theory, etc. After a few initial hiccups the first chapter's historical survey of the evolution of human understanding was a touch treacly and almost lost me , the book completely and remarkably succeeds at this.

    It was written with non-scientists like you in mind

    Two minor quibbles: 1 The illustrations, while very pretty and all in color! Rather than seek to use pictures to flesh out the more difficult-to-grasp ideas e. Hey, pobody's nerfect, but this really seems like a tremendous missed opportunity. So why perpetuate the "anthropic principle" fallacy to answer the unanswerable philosophical question, "Why is the universe the way we see it?

    Out of billions and billions of possible configurations of the whole shootin' match we call existence, this one happened to arise. Freakish coincidence? Not really. Presumably the gamma-tasting collective consciousness of silicon, potassium, chlorine, and fluorine living across a ring-system near-zero-temperature orbiting a red giant in some far distant galaxy perceives the remarkableness of a universe that makes possible its best of all possible worlds?

    Logic doesn't appear to be Hawking's forte when it comes to seeking existential self-justification. The answer is neither "We see it this way because we exist and that's what we must expect our environment to look like for our existence to be possible," nor "If the universe were otherwise we would not exist," but because we don't know how to describe it otherwise. Our descriptions are but metadata we superimpose on the data, why conflate the two? I should hope that we are ever-more-detailed, precise, and accurate in matching our descriptions to the reality of our environment on the assumptions that a we are aiming at this conceit, b we desire consistency, and c we hopefully and when we don't try to make the data fit our theories instead of the other way around are honest enough to discard those outdated models that don't seem to gibe with what our extended senses have recorded or which others without ulterior motives can independently confirm.

    Not to get on my high horse here who am I ranting at, anyway? Unless we are sharing a mass delusion straight out of Philip K. Dick, the universe appears to exist independently of and without concern for our appreciation of it. The ol' Trekkie-ism, "It's life, Jim, but not as we know it," is inherently contradictory. Better to say, "It's life, Jim, but not as we knew it.

    View all 3 comments. Apr 24, Jenny Reading Envy rated it it was amazing Shelves: read Quantum mechanics, singularities, time travel, the speed of light - this is a more concise and updated version of Hawking's original Brief History of Time. It boggles the mind. I start to grasp the concepts and then they start slipping away.

    I did learn some very interesting things though, like what would happen to the universe if we had more than three space dimensions, how we can't seem to get beyond Jul 08, Michael Lawrence rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Anyone interested in the physical world. Shelves: space-science-philosophy. An even shorter version of a History of time I dont care how short he makes the next one.

    If it will take physics and make it digestible to the average joe then I'm all for it. It surprises me how disinterested we are today about things like physics, space, the universe and philosophy of our existence, our purpose, our final destination. That was somehow lost in our information generation. So like I said, if this tiny take on life An even shorter version of a History of time So like I said, if this tiny take on life and physics gets into more hands then horray. Its a crazy world out there. Be curious. This book takes topics like general relativity, quantum theory, string theory, the universe, it;s size and expansion, black holes, time travel and microwaves that still exist from the first moments of the universe's existence and do it all with no numbers, just words : Its a great book to ease into other Stephen Hawking books.

    He is one of the most brilliant minds of my lifetime in my opinion. All hail the hawk! I'm absolutely convinced that Hawking is the best man in the simple illustration of sciences especially the cosmology and physics in general. In partnership with Mlodinow created such an exceptional informative rich text. I tought in the first pages that this book is totally different than the obvious one but, in very smart characters it links with the old one " I mean a brief of history of time" I finished the last pages of this book while the power is down!

    I couldn't leave it until I finished i I'm absolutely convinced that Hawking is the best man in the simple illustration of sciences especially the cosmology and physics in general. I couldn't leave it until I finished it. Absolutely deserves 5 stars in general and every page it contains. This book has been in my T.

    R list forever but late is better than never. Rest in peace Mr. Hawking along with all the brilliant men who spent their lives trying to enlighten humans.

    Dec 27, Christine Alibutud rated it really liked it. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists, and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason—for then we would know the mind of God. It's nice to get inside the head of Stephen Hawking. I've got to a "If we do discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable in broad principle by everyone, not just a few scientists.

    I've got to admit, it was hard trying to understand everything, especially since I basically suck at anything science-related, but it was altogether a good read. Truth be told, I only picked up this book because it was a requirement for one of our subjects and it's a relief that this one's actually interesting. One of the things I actually like about this book are the pictures relating to each chapter. I definitely got a knack out of those. This one's my personal favorite. With everything Hawking put out into this book, the one that really piqued my interest was the time-traveling.

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    I've always been intrigued if it was possible or not, and his explanation about it boggled me to the extremes. I just wished I was more familiar with the jargons and all those science terms so I would have a better understanding of everything he was saying, but at least he managed to write his book in an interesting and appealing manner. Today we still yearn to know why we are here and where we came from. And our goal is nothing less than a complete description of the universe we live in.

    Mar 27, Steve rated it really liked it. Stephen Hawking, famous physicist and atheist, undertakes in this book to explain to the casual reader some of the most complex and mind-bending concepts of modern physics while asking ultimate questions regarding the origin and destiny of the universe. Hawking surveys the development and revision of scientific theory regarding space and time from Aristotle to Ptolemy to Newton to Einstein and beyond, briefly and simply as possible elucidating concepts such as gravity, relativity, curved space Stephen Hawking, famous physicist and atheist, undertakes in this book to explain to the casual reader some of the most complex and mind-bending concepts of modern physics while asking ultimate questions regarding the origin and destiny of the universe.

    Hawking surveys the development and revision of scientific theory regarding space and time from Aristotle to Ptolemy to Newton to Einstein and beyond, briefly and simply as possible elucidating concepts such as gravity, relativity, curved space-time, parallax and dark matter. In so doing, the author recounts amazing discoveries regarding the nature and size the known universe. According to Einstein, if a man could travel through space at near the speed of light, he would experience time more slowly than a person on earth, and after returning to earth, the man would be younger than someone born on the same date.

    The book treats the newer and disputed theories of string theory, dark matter and dark energy, demonstrating just how much remains unknown about the design and function of the creation. But despite his unbelief, Hawking cannot help but display glimpses of the unfathomable glory and wisdom of God as he describes the wonder and mystery of the physical world.

    In so doing, Hawking stirs the believing reader to amazement and awe at the Creator and the world he has made. Nov 30, Sina Jahandari rated it liked it. Topics like string theory and dualities which were not fully developed at the time are also included. The language is what you find in technical articles, simple and dull, which I ironically liked a lot. The authors did a good job walking through the evolution of scientific modeling of the world from old times.

    It was really interesting to me to find out how people in the past figured out the facts that are well known today for the first time. Newtonian mechanics, relativity, the curved time-space, big bang, black holes, quantum theory, and singularities were explained well. However, I think, string theory and anti-particles were still confusing and I found the chapter on time travel ridiculous. Overall, the book is informative and entertaining. However, I feel the basic understanding of college-level physics is still necessary to enjoy the book.

    Apr 03, Stuart rated it liked it Shelves: technology-science. This book is for all the thousands of people who bought the original edition, read 20 pages and gave up at the first differential equation, and put it on their to-be-finished-someday-in-the-far-future shelf.

    Well, it actually does a pretty good job of surveying the development of the cosmological and physical sciences from antiquity to the present. I thought general relativity and quantum were fairly well explained, but that s General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, and String Theory for Dummies! I thought general relativity and quantum were fairly well explained, but that string theory was totally incomprehensible hard to say if it's possible to explain something that abstract in a book like this anyway.

    Still, it's an entertaining book on science that liberal arts majors can tolerate. Jul 16, N rated it it was amazing Shelves: all-time-favs. This book is now one of my all time favorites. I absolutely loved how concisely the authors explained the theories while making the reader feel real smart. Quite often the reader is urged to imagine a certain scenario to help them grasp the phenomenon that is being discussed. Personally, I appreciated these instances because I am confident in my understanding as a result. The timeline of the scientific theories is established throughout the book.

    This is not an easy accomplishment, since, they feel inaccessible at this point of time. I, however, do not understand the quest of physicists for a unified theory of the universe. I find that very limiting, what with all the existing, fascinating theories about the largeness and continuous expansion of the universe.

    Paradoxical much? Mar 29, Noemi rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction. Discovering what it means to be both confused and mind blown.