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The Grand Design by Stephen William Hawking

The Grand Design (original 2010; edition 2010)

by Stephen William Hawking (Author), Leonard Mlodinow

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2,203904,348 (3.69)41
Title:The Grand Design
Authors:Stephen William Hawking (Author)
Other authors:Leonard Mlodinow
Info:New York : Bantam Books, c2010.
Collections:To read, Borrow(ed)
Tags:science, *someday

Work details

The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking (2010)

  1. 10
    Aristotle Leads the Way by Joy Hakim (themulhern)
    themulhern: "Aristotle Leads the Way" has a more objective discussion of Greek scientific thought along with lots of great pictures.
  2. 10
    The Inflationary Universe by Alan Guth (Limelite)
    Limelite: A lot more of the physics, but also exceptionally clear and graspable.
  3. 11
    The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory by Brian Greene (j_aroche)
  4. 12
    The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality by Brian Greene (XOX)
  5. 03
    How Real Is Real? by Paul Watzlawick (paradoxosalpha)

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» See also 41 mentions

English (87)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  All languages (91)
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
As a layperson, this book was incredibly interesting and relatively easy to comprehend and follow. However, the lay reader will benefit from multiple readings of the book; or, in the very least, select portions of the text. The hardcover edition is incredibly nice, with dozens of glossy images. The images help to communicate the ideas pitched in the book. I will revisit this book in the future. ( )
  Scorched_Earth | Dec 26, 2018 |
(Original Review, 2010)

At university, after spending thousands on tuition, I then had to spend a lot, over 3 years, on books for my courses. More than half were written by the very professors that were teaching me. Quite frankly, it's a giant scam. Those professors have already been paid for the first material through their salaries. Why should we have to pay them again for copies of their pretty badly written books? Yes, these books are very expensive, and many don't deserve to be read. A few years ago, I was asked to review a chapter in a research text. The friend who sent me the invite told me over a drink that I was the third person asked, and would I please go easy on the papers. I said yes. I'd do it (slow week and was curious). I wasn't prepared for just how poor the section was. Even simple things, such as the chapter discussing at great length a diagram that wasn't included in the manuscript. So, after going easy, I sent two pages of corrections stating they must be made or the chapter was not suitable for publication. After a couple of months I received an email asking for my address so they could send me a thank you copy. No mention of any edits being made. Still not received a copy of the book...It doesn't matter if it gets bought, as long as you have your name as an author next to a proper ISBN number then you are a published author and with your PhD can get in for the university interviews...along with your list of peer reviewed journal articles too of course...

Surely the point of being an academic is to be published well, stocked in university libraries, cited by students and fellow academics, and of course be paid for it. Not everyone can be Leonard Mlodinow (whose screen work is quite different to his academic work).

Bottom-line: Is hysterical publication caused by an epidemic of vanity? Don't be ridiculous. It is how the institutions that employ us measure our performance and the penalties for non-performance are severe. This is the only reason these publishers can do what they do. All over the world thousands of talented academics are wasting their time writing for non-existent readers: it is completely insane. ( )
  antao | Oct 19, 2018 |
I keep reading books like this in the hopes that one day I will grasp the subject, but so far, no such luck. (I get bits and pieces, but I can't picture folded-up space, or separated particles with apparent ESP, etc.)

I liked the explanation of how models are essentially reality (unless I misunderstood that), but I wished that they had discussed less (I started to tune out / get dizzy by 2/3 through) but had gone into greater detail about what they were discussing.

For instance, I'm quite keen on the idea of multiple universes, but can there really be an infinity of them, can every possible universe possibly exist? It doesn't seem logical. I mean, imagine a world that's identical to ours, except in our world Hamilton wasn't a big success. But how could that be? If everything were identical, then all the people who see Hamilton would be the same ones in both worlds, with the same likes and dislikes, so they'd, on the whole, really like it. If they didn't, then something must have differed prior to that. Or in a simpler case, there's no universe that's just like ours but where elephants if they choose to can float. Can there be? I really don't get it.

Oh well. Back to philosophy maybe, as physics and I, no matter how hard I try, are not a good fit!

(Note: 5 stars = rare and amazing, 4 = quite good book, 3 = a decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. There are a lot of 4s and 3s in the world!) ( )
  ashleytylerjohn | Sep 19, 2018 |
So I was in an airport with very little time to spare before my flight, but knowing I had hours of transit yet before I'd be home and I'd just run out of book. The only airport bookstore I found was tiny and the books on the shelvers were all titles I could only imagine reading under extreme duress (or, rather, wouldn't want to be seen reading unless under extreme duress -- I'm such a snob), and I was on my way out of the store, despairing of having anything to entertain myself but my own over-active and troublesome imagination, but especially no shield against strangers and the rest of the world, when I saw the name Stephen Hawking in big, stark letters and I knew I was saved.

Just for background, without the influence of Stephen Hawking, I might not have a master's degree in physics. Really. I count four main influences (other than my parents) in my choice of a physics degree. The other three were teachers/professors. A boy who was enamored of me once sent me a copy of A Brief History of Time. It was a really good gift. Probably the best gift I ever got from a boyfriend before I met my husband, who buys me bookshelves. (I just checked, because I couldn't remember, and the book wasn't inscribed. That boy was kind of an idiot.)

This is a book of grand ideas on the nature of the universe -- that tries to establish an understanding of the scientific theories on the most basic and fundamental questions underlying the universe. So, you know, big. From grand unified theories to the big bang to string theory, with multi-verses, alternate histories, and the probability of a Chinese pope along the way. It goes about explaining all this with humor, some fabulous illustrations, and Hawking's trademark straight-forwardness, which assures that "all of this is understandable."

That said, I had my usual complaint about this book that I have about all science books written for a lay audience. That is, my understanding is always deepened when I can see the math. It's just how my brain works. Most lay readers, however, are terrified of equations, so it will remain a problem for me. It only really bothered me in the section on Feynman's sum over histories -- something never really covered in any of my classes, but which I'd like to understand better. Time to get myself a textbook?

I would say there is no better place to look for a small, easy-to-understand (but intelligent!) book on the current scientific understanding of the history and structure of the universe, were it not for the recent (maybe) discovery of the Higgs boson -- there's not so much on elementary particles here. Still recommended, anyway. ( )
  greeniezona | Dec 6, 2017 |
  HollandseClub | Jul 1, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
It is all entertaining stuff, skilfully assembled and described in a fairly droll manner. The wave-particle duality of particles is described as being as foreign as drinking a chunk of sandstone, for example. The book is also commendably brief and by and large illuminating about the complexities of modern cosmology.
It is all entertaining stuff, skilfully assembled and described in a fairly droll manner. The wave-particle duality of particles is described as being as foreign as drinking a chunk of sandstone, for example. The book is also commendably brief and by and large illuminating about the complexities of modern cosmology.

So read it to understand the universe. But if it is God you are after, my advice is to steer clear.
The real news about “The Grand Design,” however, isn’t Mr. Hawking’s supposed jettisoning of God, information that will surprise no one who has followed his work closely. The real news about “The Grand Design” is how disappointingly tinny and inelegant it is. The spare and earnest voice that Mr. Hawking employed with such appeal in “A Brief History of Time” has been replaced here by one that is alternately condescending, as if he were Mr. Rogers explaining rain clouds to toddlers, and impenetrable.

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hawking, Stephenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mlodinow, Leonardsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bollinger, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harris, SidneyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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We each exist for but a short time, and in that time explore but a small part of the whole universe.
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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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Along with Caltech physicist Mlodinow (The Drunkard's Walk), University of Cambridge cosmologist Hawking (A Brief History of Time)deftly mixes cutting-edge physics to answer three key questions--Why is there something rather than nothing? Why do we exist? Why this particular set of laws and not some other?--and explains that scientists are approaching what is called "M-theory," a collection of overlapping theories (including string theory) that fill in many (but not all) the blank spots in quantum physics; this collection is known as the "Grand Unified Field Theories."… (more)

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