Book info

A Brief History Of Time (1998)

A Brief History of Time (1998)
Rating
4.09 of 5 Votes: 3
ISBN
0553380168 (ISBN13: 9780553380163)
languge
English
publisher
bantam books
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A Brief History Of Time (1998)
A Brief History Of Time (1998)

About book: Things I learnt from Stephen Hawking11 October 2014tEver since I took up physics in year 11 I have had a love affair with the subject, which is odd since I went on to study an arts/law degree (but that probably had something to do with the fact that I would not have had the staying power to pour all of my energy into helping human knowledge advance towards establishing a unified theory). I still wonder where I ended up getting this book, and it had been sitting on my shelf for quite a while (probably because I was too busy listening to people tell me why I shouldn't read this book), but it wasn't until John Lennox said that it was the most unfinished book (that is people start reading it but do not have the staying power to get to the end) ever written (I'm sure there are other books that beat this book though). There are quite a few things that I have discovered while reading this book, and it is these discoveries that I wish to share with you:1) This is not an anti-God booktOne of the impressions that I got from certain people was that this was a book that an atheist wrote to try to argue that God does not exist, in much the same way that Richard Dawkins does in his books. However, that statement could not be further from the truth. In fact, throughout the book the question of the existence of God perpetually hangs in the background. Granted, Hawkings does suggest that if the concept of a infinite bounded universe (don't ask) turns out to be true then it would undermine God's existence, however he does not actually say that this may be the case. In fact his final sentence in this book is that the reason we study physics and try to find a unified theory is because we, as a race, seek to understand the mind of God.2) Stephen Hawkings is actually a really good writertThis probably goes without saying, especially since the cover of my book says that it is a 'record breaking best seller'. While he is involved in some very serious and complicated research he is able to write in a way that many of us who have probably studied physics up to a year twelve level (that is the end of High school) can understand. Okay, I probably have an advantage over most other people since my Dad is a theoretical physicist that we have regular conversations about some of these high level concepts (such as by having any more than three dimensions would cause the orbits of the planets to collapse), but I still found that he was very easy to follow and he explained many of these high level concepts in a way that many of us could understand.3) Scientists have a strange way of viewing the universetMany of us would be familiar with this guy:but as it turns out, after reading this book, I have come to the conclusion that a lot of theoretical physicists seem to live in the same world that he does. Okay, they probably don't spend their time at the comic book store, or arguing whether Babylon Five is better than Star Trek (actually, one of my primary school friends is a theoretical physicist, and we did have such an argument), but they do seem to see the world in a way that we ordinary people would consider strange.tFor instance, we see space as flat, meaning that if we look at a star, as far as we are concerned the star is in that direction. However physicists see space as being curved and that a straight line is not necessarily straight. We would see a brick wall as being a solid object and that the idea of walking through one would result in a sore nose. However physicists see it as being made up of mostly space, and the only reason we can't walk through it is because the nuclear forces (forces that exist inside an atom, not the force that can level an entire city) prevent us for doing so. Then there is the concept of dimensions: to us there are only three dimensions, however some scientists (and Hawking is not one of them) see that there are in fact ten, or even more, dimensions.4) Why are so many scientists atheistst While reading this book I could not get past about how complex this universe is and it made me wonder why it is, with the mathematical precision of the universe, and the complexity that lies therein, that so many scientists seem to argue that it all came about by chance. Even Hawking argues, using the second law of thermodynamics, that the universe cannot move from a state of disorder to a state of order – a broken plate simply cannot mend itself. However, the argument also goes that with the Big Bang Theory (not the television show) that the universe began in a state of disorder and moved to a state of order, however the laws of physics seem to suggest otherwise because what the big bang did was sent in motion a series of laws that caused the universe to come about to what we have at the moment. However, to go into details would require some intense theoretical physics, something which I have do desire to delve into at the moment.5) Scientists assume the speed of light is a constanttThe truth is that it is not. Okay, if light were travelling through a vacuum where there are no external forces acting upon it, then it is a constant, but that is very rarely the case. Take for instance this phenomena:tThe reason light behaves thus is because when it hits the prism it SLOWS DOWN, and when it slows down it refracts. Thus my point is proven, the speed of light is only a constant when there are no external forces acting upon it.tSo, what external forces may act upon light in space. Well, first of all there are black holes. When light hits a black hole the force of gravity is so strong that it will actually prevent light from escaping. Thus, gravity is a force that effects light and slows it down. Then there is the concept of dark matter, which are clouds of matter that do not emit light and float between the star systems. Okay, we know very little about the stuff (and it is also a theory, so it has not been proven) but my hypothesis is that if this stuff exists then would it not have an effect upon light, namely by slowing it down, which means that there is a possibility that our calculations as to the distance of stars from our own Sun could actually be wrong?6) Scientists do not know as much as we think they knowtOne of the things that Hawking stresses in this book is that theories are not actually proven. A theory is an idea that has some foundation based on mathematical calculations and empirical evidence. Therein lies the problem. Much of our understanding of the universe is based upon mathematical calculations, and it appears that if an event comes about which causes this mathematical calculation to break down, they immediately set out to try to find another mathematical equation to plug the hole.tTake light for instance. For years we believed that light acted as a wave and suddenly it was discovered that it also behaves like a particle (a particle of light is called a photon). The same goes with matter – for years we believed that they were particles when all of the sudden we discovered that they can also behave like waves. As such, our understanding of the universe suddenly breaks down (meaning that we are not necessarily made up of atoms, but have wavelike properties as well).tMathematical equations have been very destructive in out modern world. Take the Global Financial Crisis for instance. A bunch of apparently really smart people create complex mathematical equations to determine when to buy and sell shares and how to make billions of dollars. However what these equations did not take into account was the fact that people could not simply continue to accumulate debt without having to pay it back and when people began to default on their loans enmass, the whole concept broke down and we were taken to the brink of financial armageddon.tAnother point goes back to Ancient Greece. Here we have the theory of Democritus, namely that matter was not infinitely indivisible (the smallest piece of matter is an atom), and then the theory of Aristotle, that is that matter is infinitely divisible. Scientists preferred Democritus' theory, however they soon discovered that you could break down the atom into protons and neutrons, and you could even break them down to quarks. So, maybe Aristotle was right after all.7) We accept their theories because our gadgets worktIt goes without saying that their research and discoveries have lead to the computer that I am writing this on, the energy that powers our devices, and the bombs that can level entire cities. We know how to make a nuclear bomb, as well as a smart phone, so we don't question what they say, because it obviously works. However, as a friend of mine once said, it is still all based on theory, and just because something works does not necessarily mean that the theory is correct. Remember that penicillin was discovered by blind chance.8) Nobel Prizes are simply shiny baubles that have no merittOkay, maybe the people that win these prizes are actually really smart, but then again, the guys who set up Long-Term Capital Management also won a Nobel prize, which proves my point.9) Nobody really knows how gravity workstGravity is one of those odd forces that doesn't seem to connect with any of the other forces in our universe. As Hawking points out, there are four forces that have been identified: electro-magnetic, strong nuclear, weak nuclear, and gravity. Out of those four forces (five if you divide electric and magnetic, but since electricity will create a magnetic force, they are effectively combined) only gravity stands out. This is probably why Hawking spends so much time talking about black holes because black holes are where the gravitational pull is so strong that not even light can escape from its grasp. The other thing is that gravity does not, at least in our knowledge, have an opposing force. Gravity basically sucks, and that is all it does – it doesn't repulse as the other forces can.tIt is interesting that in some texts that I have read (maybe it is speculative science-fiction but I simply cannot remember off the top of my head) some people have suggested that gravity is actually a force from another universe that affects our universe and what it is effectively doing is sucking our universe into their universe. However, as I have said, that is incredibly speculative, and since I am not a theoretical physicist I can't really say any more on the subject.10) The God of the Gaps is a cop-outtThe idea of the God of the Gaps is that where there are gaps in our knowledge we simply say 'oh, God did that' and think nothing more of it. This goes back to the days of paganism (and Medieval Europe) where all of the unknown forces, such as the weather, was attributed God (or the gods) and we could not know anything beyond that fact. However I am arguing that it is a cop out. Creation scientists who resort to this argument are at best lazy and at worst dangerous. The reason I say that is that it discourages research into areas that we do not understand. Okay, we may never be able to control the weather, or predict earthquakes, but that does not mean that we should throw our hands up in the air and say 'this is too hard'.tWhile I may be taking a swipe at creation scientists here, I would also take a swipe at the atheists who claim that there is no God. The reason I say that is because there seems to be a fear within the scientific community that suggests that we may not be able to know everything, or that our understanding of the universe may be wrong. The problem that arises is that if we throw the idea of God out of the window and claim that the universe came about by chance, then we deny the fact that we live in an incredibly ordered universe that we can learn and understand through the development of mathematical formulae. If a formulae turns out to be wrong, that does not mean that the universe will collapse in on itself – it won't – it just means that we have to go back to the drawing board and start over from scratch.11) Why are Creation Scientists so dogmatictWhy is it that some members of the scientific community insist that we must take the Bible literally? The Bible is not a scientific text, and it was never meant to be a scientific text. It is a theological text that tells us how we should live with one another and how we should view God. Science exists beyond the Bible, and neither contradicts the other. Okay, granted, God has intervened in this world and done things that break the laws of science, but doesn't he have a right to do that – he created the universe? However, what the Bible tells us is that God is a god of order, and if he is a god of order then does it not make sense that the universe that he created is an ordered universe?tSo, maybe you are looking for a whiz bang conclusion to my exposition on this book, but all I can say is that what I have written above pretty much sums up what I have learnt from this book. In a nutshell (hey, this is me in a nutshell), all I can say is that what I have learnt from this book is that the world is an amazingly ordered place in which we live, and having now completed this book I am just as committed to my Christian faith as I ever was. However, if theoretical physics fascinates you, then this is certainly a book that you should give a read (though you have probably done that already).This review also appears on my blog. I have also commented on this book in my review on Interstellar.

كتب ستيفن هوكنج هذا الكتاب، من اجل الاستهلاك المحلي او لطبقة العامة من الناس فقد ذكر فى كتابه ان أحد اصدقائه قال له : أن كل معادلة ستكتبها فى كتاب , ستخسر بها نصف قرائك . ولذلك قد حاول الالتزام بعدم التعقيد العلمى , ومحاولة الوصول الى البساطة والعمق .لايوجد اكبر واعقد من كوننا ..!يبدآ الكاتب بمجموعة من الاسئلة ، من اين اتينا ،،؟كيف نشآ الكون ..؟وهل نحن وحيدون في الكون ..؟هل توجد مخلوقات غريبة تعيش في عالمنا ..؟مامستقبل الجنس البشري ..؟حتي عشرينات القرن الماضي ، كان يعتقد ان الكون ساكن لايتحرك حتي بمرور الزمن ، ولكن بعد ذلك اكتشف ان الكون يتمدد ..والمجرات والنجوم الاخوري تبتعد عنا . بما يعني انه المجرات في سبق كانت قريبة من بعضها البعض .عمر الارض او الكون بصفة عامة اكثر من ١٥ مليون السنة . كانت بداية الكون من الانفجار العظيم هيا نقطة البداية .واذا عرفنا البداية مالذي يوجد قبل الكون . كيف تكون الانفجار في الاصل ..!يحكي في الكتاب عن نظريات ماكسويل والنسبية وكيف بفضل تلك نظريات تم تحديد الكون .مع سنين من العلم ونظريات وصل ان الزمن والمكان ليس بشي مطلق ، وبهذا من الممكن ان ينشي الكون من لاشي تكون الكون نشا علي عدة مراحل ، اما المرحلة الاولي فتم اكتشافها عن طريقة جزئيات موجودة في الكون التي كانت موجودة في الانفجار العظيم هل نحن الوحيدون في هذا الكون ..؟يقول ستيفن .ان الحياة في الارض نشآة بطريقة تلقائية فلذلك نجزم ان هناك حياة تكونت في كواكب اخري تكون مناسبة للحياة وحسب عمر الحياة في الارض ، ونسبة وجود حفريات الجي الموجودة اكثر من ١٠ مليون سنة . فانه لاوجود لي اي دليل علي زيارة المخلوقات فضائية الا كوكبنا حتي الان المهم كتاب علمي ممتاز ، معقد احيانا لصعوبة فهم نظرية النسبية ومكانيكا الكم ، ، يحكي الكتاب تطور الفكر عند الانسان ..كان ارسطو البداية حيث انه كان يقول ان الارض هيا مركز الكون والشمس تدور حول الارض ، وذلك اتي بطليموس ، وبعده كوبرنيكس وكليبر وجاليليو جاليلي وقصته مع الكنيسة ونيوتن واينشتين وماكسويل احد اهم اشخاص سبب في اكتشاف الكون ...!
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Reviews
Joseph
To start...Why only 4 stars? I think the main reason is due to my own ignorance. Most people don't care about Theoretical Physics. As soon as they see the math involved they run. I am one of those people who ran, except I am still interested in the field. I ran instead to people like Neil Degrasse Tyson, Brian Greene and Michio Kaku. What this tells you is that I only know as much as I have learned from a few books, the internet and the Science Channel. Compared to Hawking, I am an absolute moron... So consider the 5th Star withheld in honor of Hawking's intellect. Kind of like pouring out a drink for a fallen Homie. 4 for your book and 1 for your genius...This book breaks down into laymen's terms everything from Aristotle to the beginnings of string theory. The implications of half of the things he says are staggering and some are enough to break your very core beliefs about life. This is an ingenious work that will be followed by me reading the other two books I own by Hawking. (Although the next Hawking book I read may be accompanied by a note pad to jot down things I need to Google later...) Hawking in and of himself is a testament to anyone who was ever told no or that they can't. Hawking was told in 1965 that he had two years before the ALS killed him. That would have been in 1967---48 Years Ago!!! And so, instead, Hawking has challenged science on multiple occasions and pioneered everything we know about Black Holes. As his body deteriorated, his brain ramped up and produced even more amazing works. The man has been before the Pope to discuss science!!! Hawking is an unbelievable human being with a horrible disease that has never once stopped him. We could learn something from that....If you have not read this yet, do so. It doesn't matter if you like science. It is something we should all read at some point in our lives...
Huda Yahya
‎‏‏هناك لذّةٌ ما ،، في أن تفتحَ كتاباً تشعُّ من سطوره ألوان الفضاء شيءٌ ما في فعلِ المعرفةِ ،، والتأمل فيها شيءٌ يأخذ عقلك إلى أمكنةٍ أخرى ...لا بين المجراتولا في خضّم الكونِ الواسعبل هنا بداخلكعند هذا النبض الأخّاذ في قلبكحيث تبدأ المتعة في التحرر لتغمر مسامّك برائحة الدهشةفالكون في داخلك أنت يا صاحبيتاريخٌ موجز للزمن ،، يُعتبر من أهم الكتب العلمية الحديثةيأخذك ستيفن هوكنج في رحلةٍ عبر تاريخ العلم ويشرح لك كيف تغيّرت نظرتنا للكون ،، ولمجرتنا ،، ‏ولكرتنا الأرضية ،، ولأنفسنا كذلك عبر العصورهذه هي قراءتي الثانية لستيفن هوكنج ،وقد أعجبتُ أيّما إعجاب بقراءتي الأولي "التصميم العظيم" ‏،وإن قارنت هذا بذاك ،فأرجّحُ كفّة الأخيرلا أعلم إن كانت للترجمة دورٌ في ذلك ،فلقد قرأت التصميم العظيم بلغته الأصليةلقد توقّعت أكثر مما وجدتُّ في هذا الكتاب ،فقد حسبته أكثر متعة وجمالاً في سرده أو في ترابط فصولهولكن لن تجد هُنا سوى متعةَ المادة العلمية ذاتها ، فـ اسلوب هوكنج جافٌ قليلاً‏كما وضع كارل ساجان مقدمة جميلة للكتاب ليثير شهيتي أكثر ============================================فلنتعرف على مؤلف سطور المعرفة الشهية إذا============================================يقول ستيفن _______________________________________________‏لقد كنتُ مصدر يأس لوالدي في صباي، إذ كنتُ ‏دائماً أقوم بفك الأجهزة لأرى ما الذي ‏يجعلها ‏تصدر أصواتاً، وبالطّبع لم يكن بإمكاني - عادة - ‏جمع أجزائها مرة أخرى، إلاّ أنّني ‏شعرت بإمكان السيطرة على أيّ شيء - بطريقة أو بأخرى - إذا ‏فهمت كيفيّة عمله، وأنا موقن ‏من وجود الشعور ‏نفسه لدى الآخرين فنحن نجد أنفسنا في عالم لا ‏يلحظ وجودنا في الغالب ولا ‏يهتم به، بل - أحياناً - ‏يعادي هذا الوجود صراحةًلذا، لو أمكننا فك ‏‏"اللوحة الأماميّة" للكون والنّظر خلفها فربّما نصبح ‏قادرين على فهم كيف تعمل ‏تلك العجلات ‏الصغيرة، أعني المجرات، ولشعرنا ببعض التحكّم ‏فيما يجري من أحداث، ولحسن ‏الحظ فنحن غير ‏مدعوين لإعادة تجميع الكون مرة أخرى بعد فك ‏لوحته الأماميّة‎ _______________________________________________هل تعلم أن هذا العالم العبقري قدأُصيب بمرض التصلب الجانبي الضموري؟ALS هذا المرض يصيب الجهاز العصبي الحركي ،ويُفقد المصاب به قدرته على التحكم في عضلاتهوهل تعلم أن الأطباء قد أخبروه بأنه لن يعيش لأكثر من عامين ؟ولكن يبدو أن إصرار الرجل ،وعزيمته جعلتاه بيننا مايزال ،يملأ الأرض بإبداعاتهكان ستيفن وقتها يحضّر رسالته في الفيزياء النظرية بجامعة كامبريدج ولم يمنعه مرضه من إكمالها ليشغل منصب أستاذ الرياضيات الذي كان يشغله نيوتن في نفس الجامعةحتى عام1974 كان هوكنج يستطيع العناية بنفسه بعض الشيءإلا أن تفاقم المرض جعله حبيساً لكرسي متحرك ،بالإضافة إلى ذلك فقد عانى من عملية استئصال للحنجرة ليفقد صوته تماماًولحسن حظه ،فقد أهداه والت وولتوز ،خبير الكمبيوتر، برنامجاً عبقرياً يتيح له أن يختار كلمات من سلسلة قوائم على الحاسوب، بمجرد كبسة على مفتاح في يده، بل ويستطيع أن يتحكّم به بعينيه ،وحركة رأسه كذلك وعندما ينتهي من بناء جملته يرسلها إلى ناطق الكلمات وقد ثبتّ الجهاز على كرسيه المتحرك ليستطيع ستيفن التحدث مع الحركة بحرية أكبر[image error]
Gypsy
البتّه من ویرایش جدیدشو دارم با کلّی ملحقّات و اینا. به‌شدّت دوستش داشتم. خیلی قابل فهم بود؛ گرچه آخراش یکم دیریاب میشد. اون فرهنگ واژگان تهشم خیلی کمک کرد. کلاً خیلی به‌خوندنش احتیاج داشتم و پاسخ خیلی از پرسش‌هامو داد.. آقا خسته نباشی! :D
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