The Grand Design

The Grand Design

by Stephen Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow
3.8 735

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The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow


When and how did the universe begin? Why are we here? What is the nature of reality? Is the apparent “grand design” of our universe evidence of a benevolent creator who set things in motion—or does science offer another explanation? In this startling and lavishly illustrated book, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow present the most recent scientific thinking about these and other abiding mysteries of the universe, in nontechnical language marked by brilliance and simplicity.

According to quantum theory, the cosmos does not have just a single existence or history. The authors explain that we ourselves are the product of quantum fluctuations in the early universe, and show how quantum theory predicts the “multiverse”—the idea that ours is just one of many universes that appeared spontaneously out of nothing, each with different laws of nature. They conclude with a riveting assessment of M-theory, an explanation of the laws governing our universe that is currently the only viable candidate for a “theory of everything”: the unified theory that Einstein was looking for, which, if confirmed, would represent the ultimate triumph of human reason.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553907070
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/07/2010
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 10,763
File size: 12 MB
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About the Author

Stephen Hawking was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge for thirty years, and has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors including, most recently, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His books for the general reader include the classic A Brief History of Time, Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays, The Universe in a Nutshell, and A Briefer History of Time. He lives in Cambridge, England.
Leonard Mlodinow is a physicist at Caltech and the bestselling author of The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules our Lives, Euclid’s Window: The Story of Geometry from Parallel Lines to Hyperspace, and Feynman’s Rainbow: A Search for Beauty in Physics and in Life. He also wrote for Star Trek: The Next Generation. He lives in South Pasadena, California.

From the Hardcover edition.


Cambridge, England

Date of Birth:

January 8, 1942

Place of Birth:

Oxford, England

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The Grand Design 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 735 reviews.
CoryLuLu More than 1 year ago
I realize that most theists will try to debunk this as much as they can before ever actually ever reading this book but I want to make a few things clear before they start. I don't think this book will claim there is no chance at god at all, it will simply debunk the argument that "something" had to create the universe, and that something must be God. He will simply be arguing, no, actually what we know now in science (or at least what we think) shows that you don't need a god to start the big bang or to explain anything else that would require God's existence. I think his argument will simply be not that there is no god, for there could be one even if it wasn't required we have one, rather he will be making the case that god isn't needed to explain the universe.
wookietim More than 1 year ago
This is, by far, Hawkings best prose showing yet. Well written and well argued, this book sets out his most recent thoughts on how the universe began in a comprehensive manner. For such a short book (Roughly 110 pages) there is a lot to take in. But it's presented in a way that the layman can understand it. Highly recommended!
NMW630 More than 1 year ago
The diagrams and illustrations in this book are unreadable on the Nook, even with type increased to extra large. This inhibits our understanding of the complex principles explained and detracts from the beauty of the book. I don't know if this is inherent in the Nook format or just a problem with this book, but this is one to purchase on paper.
pakman777 More than 1 year ago
Good, thought-provoking read, even if it is not the "philosophy killing" argument that the authors claim it to be. Part of the fun of reading it, though, is the sheer audacity displayed as the authors build their argument. Compelling.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you've ever wanted to understand more about all there is, this is the book to have. Set aside some time and go through it, at least once.
qubit More than 1 year ago
Ignore the naysayers who have obviously not even read the book. This book in no way attempts to "disprove" anything or "attack" religion. In fact Hawking clearly states that "neither [a God-created or big bang-created] model can be said to be more real than the other". Instead, he simply states the obvious fact that science must follow the scientific method, accepting or rejecting theories as necessary based on sound scientific method, reason, and proven fact. The current accepted model, he explains, is simply the best one we have, which most accurately predicts and explains observable phenomena. The laws of physics cannot and will not change, no matter how much some would like them to, and no matter how much faith one has in their own model of life, the universe, and everything. Hawking uses simple, clear language to describe physical laws and scientific method, giving many examples of how an open-minded, unbiased approach to science is the only approach which will allow us to someday find the truth of the whys and hows of our existence. Free of heavy scientific jargon and complex mathematical proofs, The Grand Design is written as a way to explain physical laws and theories to those who are not familiar with the world of science, and it does so very well. A must read for anyone interested interested in seeking an answer to life's great questions.
Kel14 More than 1 year ago
To pick up a book by Stephen Hawkings, a reader probably already has an interest in science, and in the universe in particular. For someone like me, a high school physics and math teacher and a student of space science my entire life, I found this book to merely repeat much of the material on a "Theory of Everything" that I have read elsewhere. Unlike other books I have read, I felt like, for the derogatory "general" reader to which this book refers as its audience, it does a paultry job of explaning the theories on which the authors' new assertion are based. I was even more disappointed to discover that the only new material I read in this book constituted only 10 out of a 180 pages (and I feel I am being generous in giving the authors that many). In those 10 pages, much of what the authors discussed I have read in Scientific American articles. The authors also spend an inordinate amount of time bashing religion. This is unnecessary in a science book and degrades from the validity of the authors' message. If the science is good, it will address the religious asssertions without wasting ink- for the mere 180 pages in this book, I would have preferred more science and less atheist propaganda. SAVE YOURSELF SOME TIME: BUY THE SEPTEMBER 2010 ISSUE OF SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN AND READ THE AUTHORS' ASSERTIONS. Unless you're a science teacher who could use some of the additional illustrations in class, the book isn't worth the money. A better book for pictures is Hawking's "The Illustrated Universe in a Nutshell."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very thought provoking book for the general reader. Having no formal education in advanced mathematics or physics I appreciate the lack of complex mathematical equations in this book. The concepts are presented in a way that is relatively easy to understand although you may have to read parts of the book more than once to get it! Prior to purchasing this book I had heard that its main purpose was to disprove the existence of God. I'm not sure how one proves or disproves the existence of God and in any event that's not what the book is about. My advice is to buy the book and read it. It will expand your intellect at least a little, maybe alot!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a huge Hawking fan so it pains me to say this but this book reminds me of a high school term paper thrown together after midnight before having to turn it in the next morning- VERY SHALLOW even for the general audience. It just has the feel of a superficial rush job. It just skates over important concepts that deserve to be treated with respect. And it just ends abruptly after 107 pages. If I hadn't suddenly run into the glossary at the end I wouldn't have known I was near the end. Sorry DR.s Try again
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A retread of ideas covered much better and more entertaining in his other books. Library card stuff if you just gotta read it.
SheilaDeeth More than 1 year ago
Science can be truly beautiful, and every once in a while there's a science book that's beautiful too. Stephen Hawking's popular science books usually fall into that category, with gorgeous illustrations, in pictures and words, highlighting the wonders and mysteries of our world. The Grand Design reminds readers of those four pre-requisites of good scientific theory-it should be elegant, it should rely on as few unproven assumptions as possible, it should agree with and explain all existing observations, and it should make predictions about future observations that can prove or disprove the theory. The theory of gravity, for example, moves forward from Aristotle to Newton to Einstein as different experiments yield new results. The text is easy to read and complex concepts are nicely balanced with wryly humorous asides. Repetition of the authors' point of view that God is not "necessary" to explain the world might offend some religious readers, but the authors also point out that none of their explanations is "necessary," and all the models we use to explain reality depend in the end on our own point of view. The fish in a spherical bowl doesn't see straight lines as we do and might explain life very differently, but if the model works the fish will be happy. I enjoyed learning about two very different scientific views-the deterministic science of initial conditions and well-defined results, and the probabilistic approach that's needed for wave-particle theories and the Grand Design. At last I know where "eleven dimensions" comes from, and at last I have a clearer view of how waves can be particles-there's a great illustration of soccer balls being kicked at a two-slitted screen. Free-will, psychology and stellar evolution all take their place in a thoroughly fascinating read. I still believe in God and attribute the final (and grandest) design to Him, but I really enjoyed this journey through the wonders of modern science. Disclosure: I got this book for Christmas-only took half a year to get around to reading it.
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RobertVelez More than 1 year ago
Tries to open your mind and for the most part does a good job at it. This is the kind of text that might strike as complex for the average (non-scientist) reader yet The Grand Design explains things in such a way that is more easily digestible while also using images and diagrams along the way to help illustrate the topics.
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