The Universe in a Nutshell

The Universe in a Nutshell

by Stephen Hawking
4.7 39

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The Universe in a Nutshell 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
CynthiaSueLarson More than 1 year ago
Stephen Hawking's book, THE UNIVERSE IN A NUTSHELL, succeeds in making some of the newest theories in physics understandable to everyday people. Until reading this book, I hadn't considered what conditions would be necessary in order for our night-time sky to look completely white with stars, nor had I seen such a gorgeous depiction of the micro and macro-cosmic universe in a nutshell (cover illustration). Hawking carefully examines time-travel, predicting the future, and the shape of time after starting the book with an overview of the theory of relativity. Hawking saves his biggest question for last, to leave readers wondering 'Do we live on a brane, or are we just holograms?' (A brane is something like a membrane.) Thanks to stunning color illustrations and fascinating questions and ideas gracing almost every page, THE UNIVERSE IN A NUTSHELL accesses both the rational and intuitive hemispheres of the reader's brain. It's the perfect book to unwind with after a long day -- allowing the exotic images and ideas to percolate in your mind like a delicious cup of your favorite hot beverage -- opening your mind to whole new worlds of possibility. Those seeking mathematical equations to accompany their theoretical physics will likely be disappointed by this coffee-table masterpiece, as will readers who prefer to read ground-breaking books which describe entirely new theories in physics. Pretty much everyone else will be thrilled to take a peek at the 'big' questions and ideas being contemplated by the world's most famous physicist.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a very successful popular science book. Prof Stephen Hawking uses very simple language to explain complicated physics. However, the M-Theory or superstring theory may not be the ultimate grand unified theory. Go to read a book entitled "Theories of Everything by logic" by Wan-Jiung Hu. He proposes a grand unified theory by explaining the origin of dark matter and dark energy.
ToriBentley More than 1 year ago
The book The Universe in a Nutshell is a book of crazy wild and exciting theories that explain ideas that many people have wondered about. The theories are all very convincing in many ways due to Hawking's great use of supporting evidence along with illustrations which really help the reader thoroughly understand the meaning of the theory and why it would actually be true. Hawking covers the past, present, and future, which definitely helps the reader, have an idea in their head of how all of the theories came to be and were evolved. Hawking takes complex ideas and breaks them down to be simple so that the audience can work their mind and figure out the point he is trying to get across. Examples of material Hawking covers include; black holes, worm holes, time and space, time travel, particles, history of particles, futuristic research, etc. Not to worry though this book is interesting and not your everyday science text book. The book can change the way you as a person look at different things in the world and universe and that is a really cool thing to do. Stephen Hawking did a fabulous job writing this book and I hope many people decide to read it as it is a neat book and very knowledgeable. Hawking is known to be one of the greatest thinkers of our time and it's amazing to hear his thoughts on the universe. All in all, the book changes your point of view and may open your mind to new things you have never thought of before.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This Book MUST be read by all Physicist, Scientist, or religious zealots. This is THE ultimate guide for all mankind. I highly recommend the illustrated version as unless you are already familiar, the concepts can be hard to visualize.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Earlier attempts to formulate an answer that takes into account existing theories and observations have failed because of obstacles posed by gravity. The Nature of Space and Time pitts two heavy weights trying to provide a loop quantum gravitational model that successfully merges current ideas, and which may enable us to overcome such difficulties. Stephen Hawking shot to fame in the world of physics when he provided a mathematical proof for the Big Bang theory. This theory showed that the entire universe exploded from a singularity, an infinitely small point with infinite density and infinite gravity. Hawking was able to come to his proof using mathematical techniques that had been developed by Roger Penrose. These techniques were however developed to deal not with the beginning of the Universe but with black holes.......................Science had long predicted that if a sufficiently large star collapsed at the end of its life, all the matter left in the star would be crushed into an infinitely small point with infinite gravity and infinite density...a singularity. Hawking realized that the Universe was, in effect, a black hole in reverse. Instead of matter being crushed into a singularity, the Universe began when a singularity expanded to form everything we see around us today, from stars to planets to people. Hawking realized that to come to a complete understanding of the Universe he would have to unravel the mysteries of the black hole....................Hawking and his fellow physicists embarked on an extraordinary intellectual expedition to tame the black hole. Slowly physicists were coming to understand this most destructive force of nature. But Hawking realized that there was something missing from the emerging picture. All work on black holes to that point used the physics of the large-scale Universe, the physics of gravity first developed by Newton and then refined by Einstein's theories of general and special relativity. Hawking realized that to come to a full understanding of black holes, physicists would also have to use the physics of the small-scale Universe, (the physics that had been developed to explain the movements of atoms and sub-atomic particles, known as quantum mechanics.) The problem was that no one had ever combined these two areas of physics before. But that didn't deter Hawking. He set about developing a new way to force the physics of quantum mechanics to co-exist with Einstein's relativity within the intense gravity of a black hole....................After months of work Hawking came up with a remarkable result. His equations were showing him that something was coming out of the black hole. This was supposed to be impossible. The one thing that everyone thought they knew about black holes was that things went in but nothing, not even light itself, could escape. But the more Hawking checked, the more he was convinced he was right. He could see radiation coming out of the black hole. Hawking then realized that this radiation (Hawking Radiation) would cause the black hole to evaporate and eventually disappear. Although Hawking's theories about black hole evaporation were revolutionary, they soon came to be widely accepted. But Hawking knew that this work had far more fundamental consequences. In 1976 he published a paper called 'The Breakdown of Predictability in Gravitational Collapse'. In it he argued that it wasn't just the black hole that disappeared. All the information about everything that had ever been inside the black hole disappeared too......................There are limits to what science can know. For many years no one took much notice of Hawking's ideas until a fateful meeting in San Francisco. Hawking presented his ideas to some of the world's leading physicists. In the audience were Gerad t'Hooft and Leonard Susskind, two leading particle physicists. They were shocked. Both realized that Hawking's 'breakdown of predictability' applied not only to black holes but to all processes i
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was my first time reading a book of this level and theme. However I ended up actually enjoying the book quite a bit. It opened my mind to new ideas and to things that I never even knew existed. The book was written in a level that was understandable yet contained very complex ideas.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a must read for everyone who loves science. One has to feel discomfort from the incompleteness of the big bang universe and its inefficiency to explain the growing number of observations. It is quite uncertain what was before the big bang. That is why new theories that incorporate the progress of experimental science from the last few decades should be considered.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellent! Stephen Hawking out does himself and presents his theories to the limit of the universe..
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be okay however I still prefer M. R. Franks' The Universe and Multiple Reality.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Nothing happens out of chance. Professor Hawking is the Scientist who chose to be in our Planet Earth at this point and time. He is our messenger of Light for this time and age, scientifically speaking. There are messengers for all walks of life, and he holds that position in the scientific circles 'where truth is often stranger than fiction.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can't imagine anyone writing about physics and cosmology more clearly than Stephen Hawking. If you want to know the state of those fields today, and how they got where they are, this book is ideal. Several things set it apart from Hawking's bestseller, A Brief History of Time. In The Universe in a Nutshell, he provides more of the history of cosmological thinking, and goes on to give sparklingly clear descriptions of some more recent developments, such as branes (lower-dimensional spaces that are subsets of higher-dimensional universes) and M-theory, a meta-theory that unites supergravity and string theories. In the current book, Hawking also makes frequent and interesting use of the anthropic principle, which limits our universe in certain ways since if it were significantly different galaxies, stars, planets, and humans could not have appeared. I was surprised and pleased to find Hawking taking time to speculate on the future of humanity given our ability to create increasingly complex organisms, and electronic systems. And, the book is full of colorful and helpful illustrations. Like A Brief History of Time, The Universe in a Nutshell is full of Hawking's witty asides. My favorite was, "Newton occupied the Lucasian chair at Cambridge that I now hold, though it wasn't electrically operated at that time." I found the book to be a delightful and of course informative read. Robert Adler, author of Science Firsts: From the Creation of Science to the Science of Creation
Guest More than 1 year ago
Stephen Hawking tops a Brief History of Time in this new book. If you know not much about quantum physics or if you are experienced in the field, this new book will catch your attention. The added help of illustrations and charts make this book even better. Have fun reading it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be better than his ealier book, a brief history of time. The pictures helped a lot and generally it was easier to understand. Overall, a very good book by one of the leading scientists.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is incredibly fascinating, and Stephen Hawking writes it in the clearest, most easy to read English ever. Hawking talks about black holes, the fate of the universe, and about the quest for the Theory of Everything. An excellent read for the average person.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The best part about this book is the illustrations. Nearly every page is filled with pictures and diagrams which can make even a dry book entertaining. A few things in this book are merely re-hashes from his old books, but most of the content is fresh.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has the strengths (and a few weaknesses) of books for the layman on very technical subjects. The ideas are exciting, and when well-described (Hawking is an excellent writer) thrilling to read about. The lay reader is left with a lingering concern that he has not quite understood what is really going on. This is hardly a surprise, for the technical basis of the ideas described is fiendishly difficult (Hawking himself is resposible for some of the most remarkable, but difficult, discoveries in this area). Hawking does as good a job as anyone could, but if you come away with the feeling that you haven't quite understood it, you are right. There really is no shortcut.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved the book, of course. One of the best ones I have ever read in my life. It is very interesting! I cannot add anything new to what has already been said. But has anyone realised what happens to figures 4.1 and 4.3? In Figure 4.1 (p.103), on the top, numbers 3 and 4 are swoped. In Figure 4.3 (p.104) the butterfly is flapping his wings in Central Park (NY) and the storm takes place in Tokyo, but the text says exactly the opposite. I think these minor errors could be arranged in future editions, Yours sincerely,
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is written for everyone. You don't need to know math. He easily describes concepts and complex theories in your everyday language. There is also a lot of information for the advanced reader who deals with physics and math.
ChristianP More than 1 year ago
The Universe in a Nutshell gave a comedic and easy approach to physics that almost no books in its category have been able to do. It covers ideas from Time Travel to super gravity and each section is accompanied by a surplus of graphics to assist in the explanation of the material (a needed addition). You are also given a sense of Hawking's humor. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to any of my friends with even a mild interest in science. I felt immersed in every topic he covered and by continuously referencing the graphics I feel I could offer a very basic explanation of many of the topics after having read this book. I will say it is not for everyone, only those who are curious about the universe and theoretical physics should read this. Unlike many Nonfiction books it is structured much more like a textbook than a story. This is however exactly what I find myself enjoying to read so I loved it from the moment I opened it. Would buy again in a heartbeat.
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