The Universe in a Nutshell

by Stephen Hawking

Random House Publishing Group | November 6, 2001 | Hardcover

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Stephen Hawking's phenomenal, multimillion-copy bestseller, A Brief History of Time, introduced the ideas of this brilliant theoretical physicist to readers all over the world.

Now, in a major publishing event, Hawking returns with a lavishly illustrated sequel that unravels the mysteries of the major breakthroughs that have occurred in the years since the release of his acclaimed first book.

The Universe in a Nutshell

• Quantum mechanics
• M-theory
• General relativity
• 11-dimensional supergravity
• 10-dimensional membranes
• Superstrings
• P-branes
• Black holes

One of the most influential thinkers of our time, Stephen Hawking is an intellectual icon, known not only for the adventurousness of his ideas but for the clarity and wit with which he expresses them. In this new book Hawking takes us to the cutting edge of theoretical physics, where truth is often stranger than fiction, to explain in laymen's terms the principles that control our universe.

Like many in the community of theoretical physicists, Professor Hawking is seeking to uncover the grail of science - the elusive Theory of Everything that lies at the heart of the cosmos. In his accessible and often playful style, he guides us on his search to uncover the secrets of the universe - from supergravity to supersymmetry, from quantum theory to M-theory, from holography to duality.

He takes us to the wild frontiers of science, where superstring theory and p-branes may hold the final clue to the puzzle. And he lets us behind the scenes of one of his most exciting intellectual adventures as he seeks "to combine Einstein's General Theory of Relativity and Richard Feynman's idea of multiple histories into one complete unified theory that will describe everything that happens in the universe."

With characteristic exuberance, Professor Hawking invites us to be fellow travelers on this extraordinary voyage through space-time. Copious four-color illustrations help clarify this journey into a surreal wonderland where particles, sheets, and strings move in eleven dimensions; where black holes evaporate and disappear, taking their secret with them; and where the original cosmic seed from which our own universe sprang was a tiny nut.

The Universe in a Nutshell is essential reading for all of us who want to understand the universe in which we live. Like its companion volume, A Brief History of Time, it conveys the excitement felt within the scientific community as the secrets of the cosmos reveal themselves.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 224 pages, 10.14 × 7.78 × 0.9 in

Published: November 6, 2001

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 055380202X

ISBN - 13: 9780553802023

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– More About This Product –

The Universe in a Nutshell

by Stephen Hawking

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 224 pages, 10.14 × 7.78 × 0.9 in

Published: November 6, 2001

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 055380202X

ISBN - 13: 9780553802023

Read from the Book

CHAPTER 2 The Shape of Time Einstein’s general relativity gives time a shape. How this can be reconciled with quantum theory. What is time? Is it an ever-rolling stream that bears all our dreams away, as the old hymn says? Or is it a railroad track? Maybe it has loops and branches, so you can keep going forward and yet return to an earlier station on the line (Fig. 2.1). The nineteenth-century author Charles Lamb wrote: “Nothing puzzles me like time and space. And yet nothing troubles me less than time and space, because I never think of them.” Most of us don’t worry about time and space most of the time, whatever that may be; but we all do wonder sometimes what time is, how it began, and where it is leading us. Any sound scientific theory, whether of time or of any other concept, should in my opinion be based on the most workable philosophy of science: the positivist approach put forward by Karl Popper and others. According to this way of thinking, a scientific theory is a mathematical model that describes and codifies the observations we make. A good theory will describe a large range of phenomena on the basis of a few simple postulates and will make definite predictions that can be tested. If the predictions agree with the observations, the theory survives that test, though it can never be proved to be correct. On the other hand, if the observations disagree with the predictions, one has to discard or modify the theory. (At least, that is what is su
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From the Publisher

Stephen Hawking's phenomenal, multimillion-copy bestseller, A Brief History of Time, introduced the ideas of this brilliant theoretical physicist to readers all over the world.

Now, in a major publishing event, Hawking returns with a lavishly illustrated sequel that unravels the mysteries of the major breakthroughs that have occurred in the years since the release of his acclaimed first book.

The Universe in a Nutshell

• Quantum mechanics
• M-theory
• General relativity
• 11-dimensional supergravity
• 10-dimensional membranes
• Superstrings
• P-branes
• Black holes

One of the most influential thinkers of our time, Stephen Hawking is an intellectual icon, known not only for the adventurousness of his ideas but for the clarity and wit with which he expresses them. In this new book Hawking takes us to the cutting edge of theoretical physics, where truth is often stranger than fiction, to explain in laymen's terms the principles that control our universe.

Like many in the community of theoretical physicists, Professor Hawking is seeking to uncover the grail of science - the elusive Theory of Everything that lies at the heart of the cosmos. In his accessible and often playful style, he guides us on his search to uncover the secrets of the universe - from supergravity to supersymmetry, from quantum theory to M-theory, from holography to duality.

He takes us to the wild frontiers of science, where superstring theory and p-branes may hold the final clue to the puzzle. And he lets us behind the scenes of one of his most exciting intellectual adventures as he seeks "to combine Einstein's General Theory of Relativity and Richard Feynman's idea of multiple histories into one complete unified theory that will describe everything that happens in the universe."

With characteristic exuberance, Professor Hawking invites us to be fellow travelers on this extraordinary voyage through space-time. Copious four-color illustrations help clarify this journey into a surreal wonderland where particles, sheets, and strings move in eleven dimensions; where black holes evaporate and disappear, taking their secret with them; and where the original cosmic seed from which our own universe sprang was a tiny nut.

The Universe in a Nutshell is essential reading for all of us who want to understand the universe in which we live. Like its companion volume, A Brief History of Time, it conveys the excitement felt within the scientific community as the secrets of the cosmos reveal themselves.

From the Jacket

"Clear, concise and accessible. And he leavens it further with occasional wry humor."-St Louis Post-Dispatch

"Provocative and informed ... plenty of comprehensible analogies and no small amount of humor, often self-deprecating.... Best of all, the book is liberally sprinkled with well-conceived, gorgeously rendered and frequently whimsical illustrations."-Time

About the Author

Stephen Hawking is Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge; his other books for the general reader include the essay collection Black Holes and Baby Universes and The Universe in a Nutshell.

Editorial Reviews

"Clear, concise and accessible. And he leavens it further with occasional wry humor."-St Louis Post-Dispatch

"Provocative and informed ... plenty of comprehensible analogies and no small amount of humor, often self-deprecating.... Best of all, the book is liberally sprinkled with well-conceived, gorgeously rendered and frequently whimsical illustrations."-Time
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