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A brief history of time


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Hi there- I'm looking at getting Stephen Hawkins famous book but I'm just wondering how advanced it is to read?  I'm afraid that I am a bit of a dummies!  I got through watching 'wonders of the universe' but to be honest that is probably my limit!  Anyone have any idea how the book reafs difficulty wise compared to that?  Oh and must importantly-would they recommend it?  

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I read this book last year and managed to get through it, just! I have not studied maths or physics since doing my Highers (Scottish A-Levels) in 1982 so am certainly no expert when it comes to this stuff. I do get the concepts from a background of science-based subjects at school and a life of watching science and a astronomy programmes on TV so would consider myself mildly competent when it comes to reading this stuff but I confess much of it probably flew over my head at the speed of light :rolleyes:

I found it a fascinating read and simply glossed over the bits that truly confused me. I have also read a couple of books by Brian Cox which I found easier to understand so it might be worth starting with those. The books I've read from Brian Cox are Human Universe and Why Does E=mc²?

At the end of the day you have nothing to lose in trying :wink:

 

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8 minutes ago, DRT said:

and simply glossed over the bits

At the end of the day you have nothing to lose in trying :wink:

Yes, seconded !

Gets a bit hairy at one point if you are not into Cartesian coordinates and imaginary/complex numbers, but that is a very brief (pun intended) bit, uncharacteristic of the rest of the book, and can be ignored without loss (his imaginary/orthogonal time ), the rest is ok :)

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Maybe Stephen Hawking needed an editor / co-author. Sadly, "A Brief History of Time"
left me a tad COLD? "Light cone" diagrams might be a bit challenging to non-initiates!
I read his (more expensive, slimmer) "The Grand Design" (with Leonard Mlodnikow?)
in a single session! But was then left wanting more... Uhm Technical stuff? :p 

I guess some of us are never happy?!? (Amazon) Book reviews are either "Five star"
or "One star" with little in between? Popular Science books tend to be a bit QUIRKY?
Popular Scientists are often "outspoken" - Their ideas "unconventional" too? :o

A sometime Physicist, I recognise standard text books are "too hard" for many. But
I was still left wondering that so many claimed to *completely* understand ABHOT!
IMO, there is still a gap for the more *conventional*, presented simply and well? :)

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well I have just fund someone who has a copy o so will give it a go!! while we are at it I rekon I ight give Mr Segan's book 'Cosmos' a flick through aswell1 anyone got any opionons on that? or even better whats it like compared to ABHOT?

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I would like to recommend THE UNIVERSE IN YOUR HAND, by C. Galfard.  I've just finished it - a very easy read, covering space, time, gravity, quantum mechanics, black holes, dark matter, dark energy, the Big Bang.  And it's up to date - first printed 2015.

It gives a good overview, and is written in simple, acceptable terms, so you don't need to be good with maths and physics.  Yet it still gets the ideas across!

Doug.

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  • 3 weeks later...

By the time I read ABHOT I had done a one year cosmology course with the University of Central Lancs. I read it as a fairly standard beginner's guide to cosmology. I didn't think it would be the one I'd recommend first, though, to a beginner. To be honest, my own experience in meeting cosmology involved reading several introductory books, understanding them more or less and here and there, and gradually working towards a grasp of the modern ideas. I suspect that this may just be in the nature of the beast. This stuff is counter intuitive. (FOr instance, radiation pressure within the universe makes it expand   makes it contract...)  You just have to get your head round it.

Olly

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  • 1 month later...

A Brief History Of Time was written almost 30 years ago and science has moved on a bit since then, so I'd say it's still worth a look but there are plenty of more recent books about cosmology and theoretical physics that are more up-to-date and possibly more reader-friendly. Some authors to look out for (all distinguished academics like Hawking) are Brian Greene, Michiu Kaku, Martin Rees, Sean Carroll... and lots more.

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I found it to be one of those books that benefits from multiple readings ... read (don't really understand) ... cogitate for a while ... re-read (with a vague idea what he is talking about from first time, understand a bit more) ... cogitate for a while ... repeat as necessary ...

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