In the last thirty years of his life Albert Einstein searched for a unified theory - a theory which could describe all the forces of nature in a single framework. But the time was not right for such a discovery in Einstein's day. Neither was the time right when, in 1988, Professor Stephen Hawking wrote A Brief History of Time in which he took us on a journey through classical physics, Einstein's theory of relativity, quantum physics and string theory in order to explain the universe that we live in. He concluded, like ...
In the last thirty years of his life Albert Einstein searched for a unified theory - a theory which could describe all the forces of nature in a single framework. But the time was not right for such a discovery in Einstein's day. Neither was the time right when, in 1988, Professor Stephen Hawking wrote A Brief History of Time in which he took us on a journey through classical physics, Einstein's theory of relativity, quantum physics and string theory in order to explain the universe that we live in. He concluded, like Einstein, that science may soon arrive at the long sought after 'Theory of Everything'. In this ground-breaking new work, Professor Hawking and renowned science writer Leonard Mlodinow have drawn on forty years of Hawking's own research and a recent series of extraordinary astronomical observations and theoretical breakthroughs to reveal an original and controversial theory. They convincingly argue that scientific obsession with formulating a single new model may be misplaced, and that, instead, by synthesising existing theories we may discover the key to finally understanding the universe's deepest mysteries. Written with the clarity and lively style for which Hawking is famous, The Grand Design is an account of Hawking's quest to fuse these different strands of scientific theory. It examines the differences between past and future, explains the nature of reality and asks an all-important question: How far can we go in our search for understanding and knowledge?
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The way I interpret this book, we are not even close to an overall theory about the physical world around us. In fact, according to authors Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, there may be many other universes, (10 to the 300th power). And, they may not play by the same scientific rules as our universe does. That is something to ponder.
This book is very well illustrated, with color prints and cartoons. It is also set up for the lay reader, (as much as any book on science can be); but it will still leave you scratching your head if you are not that familiar with the material. But if you want the truth you should get it straight from the expert?s mouth, (and Mr. Hawking is very qualified in that regard).
There is no way to dumb-down quantum mechanics or alternate histories, it is either take-it-or-leave it. When I decide to tackle a book like this I just grab a handle and hang on for the ride, (and for dear life). Our very existence on this planet is in the details. It does make me want to investigate further, (but I had better watch my physics video tutor first to get a better grasp).
I mean, who doesn?t ponder the big questions? Of course, the old maxim applies, the more we know the more we realize that we don?t know. The smugness that could go along with the accumulation of empirical knowledge is counter-productive to the spirit of curiosity. It is the people who are never intellectually satisfied who push the human race forward. It is not enough to accept the facts as presented. You should ask yourself why it happened, and how.
According to Mr. Hawking there is no accepted GUT, (Grand Unified Theory), so we are forced to patch together different models to find answers. Many of the present theories do not mesh with one another, (or the connections between them have not been deciphered yet, at least in their totality). So, if we are ever to figure out why there is something rather than nothing we still have a lot of work to do. An example of a gold fish in a bowl was used to illustrate the importance of perspective, and perception; because if we ever hope to make a big leap in knowledge we have to climb out of the confinements of our own self-limitation. In other words, don?t be contented with swimming around in your comfort zone. A good place to start is reading this book.
Dec 16, 2010
Hawking outduels Feynman
Hawking explains physics more comprehensibly and more entertainingly than Feynman, who was famous for making physics fun for the non-scientist. This book really is "the theory of everything." Readers of all backgrounds will learn something new.
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