THE FIRST MAJOR WORK IN NEARLY A DECADE BY ONE OF THE WORLD’S GREAT THINKERS—A MARVELOUSLY CONCISE BOOK WITH NEW ANSWERS TO THE ULTIMATE QUESTIONS OF LIFE
When and how did the universe begin? Why are we here? Why is there something rather than nothing? What is the nature of reality? Why are the laws of nature so finely tuned as to allow for the existence of beings like ourselves? And, finally, is the apparent “grand design” of our universe evidence of a benevolent creator who set things in motion—or does science offer another explanation?
The most fundamental questions about the origins of the universe and of life itself, once the province of philosophy, now occupy the territory where scientists, philosophers, and theologians meet—if only to disagree. In their new book, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow present the most recent scientific thinking about the mysteries of the universe, in nontechnical language marked by both brilliance and simplicity.
In The Grand Design they explain that according to quantum theory, the cosmos does not have just a single existence or history, but rather that every possible history of the universe exists simultaneously. When applied to the universe as a whole, this idea calls into question the very notion of cause and effect. But the “top-down” approach to cosmology that Hawking and Mlodinow describe would say that the fact that the past takes no definite form means that we create history by observing it, rather than that history creates us. The authors further explain that we ourselves are the product of quantum fluctuations in the very 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.
Along the way Hawking and Mlodinow question the conventional concept of reality, posing a “model-dependent” theory of reality as the best we can hope to find. And they conclude with a riveting assessment of M-theory, an explanation of the laws governing us and our universe that is currently the only viable candidate for a complete “theory of everything.” If confirmed, they write, it will be the unified theory that Einstein was looking for, and the ultimate triumph of human reason.
A succinct, startling, and lavishly illustrated guide to discoveries that are altering our understanding and threatening some of our most cherished belief systems, The Grand Design is a book that will inform—and provoke—like no other.
©2010 Steven Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow (P)2010 Random House Audio
Loved "A Brief History of Time" but hated this. Maybe it's the addition of the co-author, but I found this too be condescending and arrogant. Where previously Hawking would give theories on what could be known and left to us what could not be (i.e. what happened before the big bang). Here he overreaches and denies our own individuality based on quantum physics and bluntly says if you disagree you are a superstitious relic. I tried, I really did, for 2 or 3 hours, but eventually had to give in.
I'm glad the book was written and I'd imagine there are some that will get quite a bit out of it. But, I thought this book was a bit too complicated for what I was interested in listening to. Mind you, I'm an engineer and a techie and generally interested in anything science related and I'm still saying this. I did find bits and pieces interesting but if I could do it over again I think I'd pass on this one. The other thing is that if you are really interested in this book, maybe reading the written format would allow you to digest things better. For example, being able to reference the glossary in the back would have been nice.
Unfortunately, I have to give to that audiobook only a two stars because of the narration... It is not only bad, it's awful. It's almost seems like the narrator doesn't understand a word, of what he is saying! So, the material, which is pretty much interesting and exiting itself, becomes monotonous and boring! You have to fight the fatigue through to the end... Once you've done it, you will appreciate your straggling, because, as I said before, the book itself is really GREAT.
I would love to give a better review, but, to do that, I'd had have to understand it!
Too complicated, I had to listen and read to understand some chapters...
This is bit of self-plagarism from his earlier works which were much more comprehensive and comprehendible. A feeble attempt to explain M theory. Finally, to me the book seemed to be a vehicle for Hawkings to declare that there is no God and that astro/nuclear physics proves the fact. Nothing new here except for great cynicism from a man who, in an alternate universe, awakes each day thankful for the Grace of God.
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