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The Grand Design (2010)

by Stephen Hawking

Other authors: Leonard Mlodinow

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,3161113,976 (3.7)43
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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» See also 43 mentions

English (107)  Spanish (3)  French (2)  Dutch (2)  All languages (114)
Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
I learned a lot of interesting things in this book and appreciated the book's inquiry into profound cosmological questions, but hats off to any non-specialist who understands the last three pages (you know, the one where the authors sum up the answer to life, the universe, and everything in an oddly cursory fashion).

In general I prefer my popular nonfiction to give me a snapshot of the state of an academic discipline rather than promoting specific theories, but physicists, what can you do.

I also thought Hawking and Mlodinow could have done a better job steering readers away from Wrong Ideas and general confusion that could arise from multiverse theory (like, do all those histories of a photon EXIST in the same way that multiple universes are proposed to exist? If observing the photon selects its history, what about humans observing the universe? I don't know whether these are sensible questions to ask but I'm sure I'm not the only reader who wondered about them.) ( )
  raschneid | Dec 19, 2023 |
This book is like having your favorite subject being thought by a teacher you can't stand. It feels dumbed down a lot (especially my edition that has a huge font and a lot of pictures so you'll feel smart by reading "fast", it also feels a lot heavier than other paperbacks to make it seem like better quality).
It's more like a history of physics than new answers, didn't read anything I didn't already know before well after the halfway mark.. It also feels like Leonard has had the task of introducing these theories for the public in a way they will understand them, by being, what he thinks, is funny and using pop culture references. This made me focus more on his writing than the theories I was interested in. Had to force myself trough it. I can't help but think how this could have been presented differently if for example Malcolm Gladwell was narrating, making sure he explained it to you without belittling you or giving you all of his own opinions. Disappointed. It's not a bad book per se but it feels like it belongs more in a school setting. ( )
  adze117 | Sep 24, 2023 |
Too light-weight; I was able to read this in a few hours total. I was hoping for something more... detailed, I guess. I realize the math is beyond any mere dilettante, but this book was *very* high level. ( )
  dcunning11235 | Aug 12, 2023 |
If you're reading a book about "The most fundamental questions about the origins of the universe and of life itself " you'd think the writers would take the subject seriously. But unfortunately, that's not the case with this book. For some bizarre reason, the authors repeatedly interject silly humor into their arguments against the universe being created by God as we know him. These are two men of proven brilliance, writing for a general audience. But if this is their idea of the best way to reach a mass audience well, all I have to say is ; I'm insulted. ( )
  kevinkevbo | Jul 14, 2023 |
Stručná historie času se sice stala zaslouženým fenoménem a udělala z Hawkinga světovou celebritu, nemůžu se však zbavit dojmu, že se ve své snaze popularizovat vědu Hawking od jejího vydání spíše trápí. Soubor esejů Černé díry a budoucnost vesmíru rozhodně stojí za přečtení, protože pootevírá dveře do soukromého života autora a dovysvětluje některé pojmy, které zůstaly i po Stručné historii nejasné. Další knihy jsou však většinou jen variacemi na Hawkingovu populární prvotinu a Velkolepý plán není jiný. Nejenže na Stručnou historii nijak nenavazuje, což bylo autorem slibováno, on pořádně ani neplní svůj hlavní úkol, totiž objasnit, jak mohl vesmír vzniknout bez zásahu stvořitele. Je tak především sbírkou různých anekdot popisujících, jak vesmír vnímaly předchozí generace a jejich náboženství, proloženou nepříliš stravitelným fyzikálních jevů, z nichž většina již byla lépe popsána ve Stručné historii, a část je navíc pro vysvětlení vzniku vesmíru možná i zbytečná. Prokládání textu alkoholickými vtipy či podobně nevtipnými kresbičkami pak nečiní knihu ani srozumitelnější, ani zábavnější. Velkolepému plánu se vyhněte. Místo něj otevřete radši starou dobrou Stručnou historii času, a až ji opravdu pochopíte, postupte třeba ke Kraussově knize Vesmír z ničeho, jelikož ta otázku vzniku vesmíru dokáže popsat čitelněji, jednodušeji a přitom odborněji. ( )
  zajus | Jul 13, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 107 (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 (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hawking, Stephenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mlodinow, Leonardsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bollinger, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harris, SidneyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
West, SteveNarratorsecondary 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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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."

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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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