The Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe

The Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe

by Stephen Hawking

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Stephen Hawking is widely believed to be one of the world’s greatest minds, a brilliant theoretical physicist whose work helped reconfigure models of the universe and define what’s in it. Imagine sitting in a room listening to Hawking discuss these achievements and place them in historical context; it would be like hearing Christopher Columbus on the New World.

Hawking presents a series of seven lectures—covering everything from big bang to black holes to string theory—that capture not only the brilliance of Hawking’s mind but his characteristic wit as well. Of his research on black holes, which absorbed him for more than a decade, he says, “It might seem a bit like looking for a black cat in a coal cellar.”

Hawking begins with a history of ideas about the universe, from Aristotle’s determination that the Earth is round to Hubble’s discovery, more than 2,000 years later, that the universe is expanding. Using that as a launching pad, he explores the reaches of modern physics, including theories on the origin of the universe (e.g., the Big Bang), the nature of black holes, and space-time. Finally, he poses the questions left unanswered by modern physics, especially how to combine all the partial theories into a “unified theory of everything.” “If we find the answer to that,” he claims, “it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason.”

A great popularizer of science as well as a brilliant scientist, Hawking believes that advances in theoretical science should be “understandable in broad principle by everyone, not just a few scientists.” In this book, he offers a fascinating voyage of discovery about the cosmos and our place in it. It is a book for anyone who has ever gazed at the night sky and wondered what was up there and how it came to be.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940012440327
Publication date: 05/04/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 325,176
File size: 11 MB
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About the Author

Stephen W. Hawking is widely considered to be the world’s greatest mind; a brilliant theoretical physicist whose work reconfigured models of the universe and redefined its basic governing laws. Both among the greatest scientific developments of the 20th century were his work with Roger Penrose which showed that Einstein's General Theory of Relativity implied that space and time would begin in the Big Bang and an end in black holes, and his conclusion that General Relativity must be unified with Quantum Theory which indicated that black holes should not be completely black, but rather should emit radiation and eventually evaporate and disappear. His hypothesis was that the universe has no edge or boundary in imaginary time, which implies that its beginning was completely determined by the laws of science.

Professor Hawking has twelve honorary degrees. He was awarded the CBE in 1982, and was made a Companion of Honour in 1989. He is the recipient of many awards, medals and prizes, is a Fellow of The Royal Society and a Member of the US National Academy of Sciences.

Stephen Hawking continues to combine family life (he has three children and three grandchildren), and his research into theoretical physics together with an extensive programme of travel and public lectures.


Cambridge, England

Date of Birth:

January 8, 1942

Date of Death:

March 14, 2018

Place of Birth:

Oxford, England

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Theory of Everything 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It has come to our attention that the book 'The Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe' has been published. Professor Hawking would like to make it clear that he HAS NOT endorsed this book. The text was written by him many years ago, however the material has already been published in books such as 'A Brief History of Time'. A complaint was made to the Federal Trade Commission in the US in the hope that they would prevent the publication. **We would urge you NOT to purchase this book in the belief that Professor Hawking was involved in its creation. From Professor Stephen Hawking's website.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In fact 'The Theory of Everything' is 'Brief Historty of Time' in disguise. Those who have studied abovementioned book and previous one, that is 'The Universe in a Nutshell' will certainly feel that Hawking hasn't gone further from 'Brief History of Time'(because the real science is same). I therefore suggest an ammendment in the title, it should be 'The Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe - Brief History of Time Rewritten.' That is all from my side
Stacey Zook More than 1 year ago
You can't zoom in on the pictures. I'm sure they are great photos, but I can't really see them or the captions.
qubit More than 1 year ago
With the way you write, I can understand your lack of comprehension. Fine, you don't understand it, just say so. But your juvenile rant is not at all helpful. Why do you consider it a bad book? "This book sucks" is not a review. What, you expect everyone just to take your incredibly ignorant word for it? And what is the deal with making fun of professor Hawking's handicap? He happens to have one of the most brilliant minds in the world, which is all that counts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The sample does not even get through the preface by someone else. I wanted to see a sample of Hawking's writings, and not one word was there. I am often aggravated by samples that fill up with the front of book stuff, but usually have 5 pages or so of the actual author's work. Not here!,
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Theory of Everything: The Origins and Fate of the Universe by Stephen Hawking is a compilation of lectures (seven to be precise) written by Stephen Hawking and covers topics such as black holes - a large focus in Hawking's work and study - as well as speculation on the origin of the universe. As the previous reviewer noted, the publication of this book was executed without prior approval of Hawking, however all of the material included in the book is in fact original text by Hawking that has appeared in other publications by Hawking. As such, one should not be discouraged by this as the work is credited to Hawking and all original material. The book begins with a lecture titled 'Ideas About the Universe' in which Hawking provides a synopsis on, as the title implies, ideas about the universe. He takes a historical approach by discussing the ideas and opinions regarding the cosmos held by people as far back as Aristotle right up to the present day realities provided by astronomers such as Edwin Hubble. The lectures are arranged in a logical order so that the book flows from past notions to present beliefs in order to show the evolution of ideas because of rapidly improving technologies and advances in sciences. Of course, no modern theoretical physics text would be complete without a background of Einstein's Special and General Theories of Relativity as well as Quantum Mechanics pioneered by men such as Heisenberg and Planck. Equipped with the basics of these star players in the grand game of cosmology, Hawking discusses in two of his lectures his difficulties in describing, both conceptually and mathematically, the nature of black holes. He also provides a few current speculations as to how the universe originated and what potential fates could result from the different beginnings. Whether or not the universe began from a singularity in the case of the Big Bang, or the universe simply always has been in existence (a rather Zen approach to the problem), Hawking is unsure. One suggestion he makes, which struck me as odd but still plausible, is his 'No-Boundary' idea. Much like the surface of a sphere, which has a finite surface area yet no abrupt 'end' or 'boundary,' so too could the universe behave in such a manner. This certainly relieves the daunting idea of an infinite universe which is hard for many, including myself, to accept. The book as a whole requires no prerequisite knowledge of physics by any means. Hawking writes in such a way that theoretical physics becomes accessible to the layperson. He begins the book with a ground-up approach to allow the reader to become familiar with basic concepts in theoretical physics and then continues to elaborate and build on each concept as they are presented in a neat, logical order. As is common in Hawking's writing, the text is strewn with humorous comments on politics and his disability where he can work them in. While they do not dominate the overall tone of his writing, it provides a good laugh or two so the text does not become entirely dry. One last warning to make in my review is that while Hawking tries to maintain a strictly scientific approach to the nature of the text, he is forced to consider the inevitable concept of a god in relation to the origins and fate of the universe. While he does not advocate any particular religion, it is near impossible to tackle a concept as large as the origin of the universe without at least considering some omnipresent force involved in creation. In short, this book goes highly recommended by me for those wanting an introductory text to theoretical physics and cosmology, or even those needing a refresher on the evolution and present beliefs within these fields of study.
Jennicysm More than 1 year ago
I see no problem with the photos, not all books have the zoom option & the book is as good as I'd imagined it would be.
ashishg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In Stephen Hawking style, books becomes incomprehensible to reasonable mind somewhere midway. It's collection of lectures dealing with origin of universe, time and black holes but he is not lucid to non-scientific mind.
beccabgood1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Okay, I'm willing to concede that this may be a great book. And I'm sure it's much easier to read than professional writing about space science, the origins of the universe, etc. However, I still found it tough going. It inspired lots of abstract questions and pondering, but now, a few years later, I don't remember any of it. If I can ever make myself re-read it, maybe I'll revise my opinion, but for now it's only a tentative thumbs-up for those who already have a background in this subject matter.
BrendanCarroll on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Scary, but fascinating science about the cosmos and many things beyond my comprehension.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found it to be in depth and understandable, but lecture #6's argument to be less than convincing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ghost_Author More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book as well as his previous book. I know Iwill never be at the same math understanding as Steven, but the theories are interesting to ponder.
OdysseusUlysses More than 1 year ago
The Theory of Everything; The Origin and Fate of the Universe. Claimed to be first published under title "The Cambridge Lectures: Life Works," excellently read by Michael York pretentious voice (at least what I have gotten to listen to so far), but not claimed by Stephen W. Hawking, who holds the Newton's chair of Lucasian Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Cambridge University. He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers "A Brief History of Time" and "The Universe in a Nutshell." Professor Hawking would like to make it clear that he HAS NOT endorsed this book. The text was written by him many years ago, however the material has already been published. I would urge you NOT to purchase this book in the belief that Professor Hawking was involved in its creation. From Professor Stephen Hawking's website you can read many of his lectures. Professor Hawking's Cambridge Lectures, as best as I could tell are: Lecture 1 "Ideas about the Universe" past ideas about a static universe; Lecture 2 "The Expanding Universe" how Newtonian and Einstein's theory leads to an expanding universe; Lecture 3 "Black holes" ; Lecture 4 how quantum mechanics allows energy to leak out of black holes; Lecture 5 quantum physics applied to the big bang, origin, and boundary of the universe Lecture 6 How the boundary proposal explains how the past is so different from the future Lecture 7 unified theory. He places the beginning of time about 10 or 20 thousand million years ago, The Big Bang, since earlier events could not affect the current timeline, also known to be expanding because of the red shifted light of all galaxies, due to Doppler Effect, expansion predicted by Freidman and red-shift observed by Hubble. Antigravity, proposed by Einstein to make a static universe fit into his general theory has been somewhat defeated by Freidman's expanding universe, using Einstein's general theory. Whimpering, I hope antigravity does not fall only into the realm of sci-fi.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book. Anyway the incompleteness of the drawn picture of the universe left me with some disappointment. There is one existing and unique way to make the picture of the universe complete and you may find it in Eugene Savov's theory of interaction.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought that Stephen Hawking is a very intelligent person. Reading his book let me understand the way the universe works. Just what I was looking for.
richierich1 More than 1 year ago
Not exactly sure why i'm forced to remark about this book.