“The most remarkable property of the universe is that it has spawned creatures able to ask questions.”
-Stephen Hawking

 

Book: The Theory of Everything: The origin and the fate of the universe
Author: Stephen Hawking
Genre: Cosmology
Publisher: Jaico Books
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 124
Ratings: 5/5

Blurb: Stephen Hawking is widely believed to be one of the world’s greatest minds: a brilliant theoretical physicist whose work helped to reconfigure models of the universe and to redefine what’s in it. Imagine sitting in a room listening to Hawking discuss these achievements and place them in historical context. It would be like hearing Christopher Columbus on the New World. Hawking presents a series of seven lectures- covering everything from big bang to black holes to string theory- that capture not only the brilliance of Hawking’s mind but his characteristic wit as well. Of his research on black holes, which absorbed him for more than a decade, he says, “It might seem a bit looking for black cat in a coal cellar.”

Hawking begins with a history of ideas about the universe, from Aristotle’s determination that the Earth is round to Hubble’s discovery, over 2000 years later that the Universe is expanding. Using that as a launching pad, he explores the reaches of modern physics, including theories on the origin of the universe, the nature of black holes and space-time. Finally he poses the questions left unanswered by modern physics, especially how to combine all the partial theories into a “unified theory of everything” “If we find the answer to that “he claims, “It would be the ultimate triumph of human reason.”

A great popularize of science as well as a brilliant scientist, Hawking believes that advances in theoretical science should be “understandable in broad principal by everyone, not just a few scientists” In this book, he offers a fascinating voyage of discovery about cosmos and our place in it. It is a book for anyone who has ever gazed at the night sky and wondered what was up there and how it came to be.

Review: Cosmology has always been one of the greatest reasons of human curiosity. The very early men even gazed up and wondered what’s up there which made the foundation of NASA’s formation. I believe The Theory of Everything is Hawking’s masterpiece. There millions who desire to be a space tourist or an astronaut but where to get started? You obviously need an introduction to the cosmos to extend the limits of your imagination. To me, cosmos is currently the greatest attraction of brilliant minds. Hawking explains everything in this book of mere 200 pages, everything you need to know about cosmology to trigger your fascination is in the book. Hawking briefly but beautifully review past ideas about the universe and how we got to our present picture. One might call this the history of the history of the universe. In the second lecture he describes how both Newton’s and Einstein’s theories of gravity led to the conclusion that the universe cannot be static; it had to be either expanding or contracting. This implied that the density of universe at the time of big bang was infinite. It would have been the beginning of the universe.

In the third lecture Hawking talked about Black Holes, probably his favorite topic ever to talk about. In the fourth lecture he shall describe how quantum mechanics allows energy to leak out of black holes. In the fifth lecture Stephen shall apply quantum mechanical ideas to the big bang and the origin of the universe.  In the sixth lecture I shall show how the new boundary proposal could explain why the post is so different from the future, even though the laws of physics are time symmetric.

Finally, in the seventh lecture he describes how we are trying to find a unified theory that will include mechanics, gravity and all other interactions of physics. If we achieve this, we shall really understand the universe and our position in it.

I feel really bad for Stephen Hawking, he should have lived another year and could have seen the greatest marvel of his life. He contributed his wit and time to the study of black holes and a year after his death, the very first image of a black hole came out. Irony indeed. Without him the marvelous limitations of science would have been less, you can contribute to him by reading his book.

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