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Brief Answers to the Big Questions by…
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Brief Answers to the Big Questions (original 2018; edition 2018)

by Stephen Hawking (Author)

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3781243,746 (4.12)5
Member:gregvogl
Title:Brief Answers to the Big Questions
Authors:Stephen Hawking (Author)
Info:Bantam (2018), 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:science

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Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking (2018)

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
This is a book that should be read in every science class, every philosophy class and by the public at large. The book is a little over 200 pages but there is a law of knowledge and insight packed into it. Hawking discusses the existence of God, the origin of life, the possibility of intelligent life in the universe and the potential dangers of artificial intelligence among other subjects.

Listed below are my notes from this book…

One could define God as the embodiment of the laws of nature. However, this is not what most people would think of as God. They mean a human like being, with whom you can have a personal relationship. When you look at the vast size of the universe, and how insignificant and accidental human life is in it, that seems most implausible.

I think the universe was spontaneously created out of nothing, according to the laws of science.

Time didn't exist before the Big Bang so there is no time for God to make the universe in.

No one created the universe and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realization: there is probably no heaven and afterlife either.

I think that when we die we return to dust.

Is there intelligent life on earth? But seriously, if there is intelligent life elsewhere, it must be a very long way away otherwise it would have visited Earth by now. And I think we would've known if we had been visited; it would be like the film Independence Day.

But we need to be wary of answering back until we have developed a bit further. Meeting a more advanced civilization, at our present stage, might be a bit like the original inhabitants of America meeting Columbus – – and I don't think they were better off for it.

The earth is under threat from so many areas that it is difficult for me to be positive. The threats are too big and too numerous. First, the earth is becoming too small for us. Our physical resources are being drained at an alarming rate.

It is time to explore other solar systems. Spreading out maybe the only thing that saves us from ourselves. I am convinced that humans need to leave Earth. If we say, we risk being annihilated.

Why are we so worried about artificial intelligence? Surely humans are always able to pull the plug? People asked a computer, "is there a God?" And the computer said, "there is now," and fused the plug.

What world changing idea, small or big, would you like to see implemented by humanity? This is easy. I would like to see the development of fusion power to give an unlimited supply of clean energy, and switch to electric cars. Nuclear fusion would become a practical power source and would provide us with an inexhaustible supply of energy, without pollution or global warming.
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  writemoves | Jun 17, 2019 |
In Brief Answers to The Big Questions, Professor Steven Hawking discusses deep, philosophical questions in a manner befitting his position as the former Lucasian Chair of Mathematics in Cambridge. With his condition of ALS or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis being given at an early age, Hawking was in a good position to ruminate on big questions and how they figured into our current understanding of the Cosmos.

With ten questions being asked, Hawking wrote relatively short essays on each one. For example, with the question of “Is There a God?” Hawking put down his personal views and the science behind that view. You might say that science should have no say in such a matter, but the idea of science is to further Man’s (and Woman’s) understanding of the laws of nature, and what could be more fundamental than a god that supposedly created everything with his voice in six days? I digress though.

Hawking answers these ten questions with his patent wit and scientific flair, writing in a manner that is easy to understand. I hold tight to many of his views so it is easy for me to promote this book as something special. The questions discussed also have a short blurb that gives a terse answer if you don’t feel like reading an entire essay. Of the questions asked, there are some that science has no answer for but Hawking does a valiant job of arguing his case.

Some of the humor is slightly lost on me since I don’t have a hand in politics and don’t really know what is happening with the UK. So all the talk about Brexit confused me more than the actual science in the book. I realize that Brexit was about Great Britain exiting the European Union, though I could be quite wrong. I don’t even know if that is still a newsworthy thing. My political views attest that all politicians are crooked and shouldn’t be trusted, but that is merely my opinion. At the same time, I realize that I have to live in a society built by these grossly unqualified individuals.

I would recommend this book to anyone with a glancing interest in science. While science hasn’t brought us flying cars or cures for all diseases or the end of poverty and hunger, that is no reason to ignore it altogether and leave it to a small fraction of interested people. While I don’t say that all people should be a scientist, you would do well to at least be scientifically literate, especially in a society that is increasingly connected as ours is. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
This is the most intellectually accessible Stephen Hawking book you will read.
A few 'WOW' moments, but nothing compared to his "A Brief History of Time" or "The Universe in a Nutshell". ( )
  Jaron_TheBookBaron | Apr 26, 2019 |
Encouraging readers to “be brave, be curious, be determined,” Stephen Hawking tackles some of humanity’s biggest questions. From the existence of God to the beginning of everything, from other intelligent life in the universe to predicting the future, here readers can investigate some of the final thoughts of the world-famous cosmologist. Eminently readable, the passionately argued, thought-provoking comments in Hawking’s final book will leave readers with much to consider.

Highly recommended.

Appended in this Barnes and Noble Special Edition is an Appreciation section including tributes delivered by Lord Rees, Dame Stephanie Shirley, Tom Nabarro, Yuri Milner, and Professor Fay Dowker at London’s Westminster Cathedral during the 15 June 2018 memorial service for Stephen Hawking. ( )
  jfe16 | Apr 10, 2019 |
Yes, but he doesn't include a discussion regarding free will ... ( )
  howzzit | Feb 8, 2019 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephen Hawkingprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hawking, LucyAfterwordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Redmayne, EddieForewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Thorne, Kip S.Introductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ridder, Rob deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Offers the renowned scientist's final thoughts on using science to address the most important challenges facing humanity.

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