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The Universe In A Nutshell


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Stephen Hawking's first full length book since the worldwide bestseller A Brief History of Time, lavishly illustrated in full colour throughout.

About the Author

In 1963, Stephen Hawking contracted motor neurone disease and was given two years to live. Yet he went on to Cambridge to become a brilliant researcher and Professorial Fellow at Gonville and Caius College. For thirty years he held the post of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge, the chair held by Isaac Newton in 1663. Professor Hawking has over a dozen honorary degrees, was awarded the CBE in 1982. He is a fellow of the Royal Society and a Member of the US National Academy of Science.


Explaining cosmology to a popular audience is a difficult task, but Hawking has the gift of making extraordinarily complex concepts understandable. An eminent theoretical physicist at Cambridge University and author of the best-selling A Brief History of Time, Hawking here describes scientists' latest theories about the origin, structure, and evolution of the universe. The book's title refers both to its purpose as a summary of current cosmological thinking and to the particular theory of imaginary time as a "tiny, slightly flattened sphere." The helpful color illustrations, which comprise about half of the book, clarify the surreal aspects of the universe, such as the shape of time and the ten or 11 dimensions in which we exist. Hawking's occasional wit and his ability not to take himself too seriously help place our strange universe in a more human context. Highly recommended for all libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/01.] Jeffrey Beall, Univ. of Colorado Lib., Denver Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

A Brief History of Time has now sold an estimated nine million copies worldwide - something of a hard act for its author to follow. In what is being promoted as the 'sequel' to that book, Professor Hawking gives an account of his attempt to combine Einstein's Theory of Relativity with Richard Feynman's idea of multiple histories, in order to reach the grail of a Theory of Everything - or big TOE, as it's charmingly named. This is a book about superstrings and p-branes, holography and supergravity, about how the 'cosmic seed' from which our universe derived was as small as a nut. The publishers are not yet releasing much text, but enough to see that it will be a fascinating (if challenging) read. And one enhanced throughout with 200 striking full colour illustrations and jazzed-up diagrams.

Adult/High School-Writing in a lighthearted, personal, often humorous style and with colorful and entertaining graphics on every page, Hawking succeeds in communicating his love and enthusiasm for science. Without seeming to condescend, he makes a valiant attempt to clarify many fascinating and elusive topics such as relativity and time; multiple universes and dimensions; black holes and dark matter; prediction of the future; and the possibility of time travel. Those usually daunted by scientific texts might enjoy puzzling over the graphics; many of them, together with excellent captions, fully restate the content of the text in an alternative (and, for some, more understandable) manner. Also, Hawking enriches readers' vocabularies with many of the sometimes-playful words, phrases, and acronyms essential to an acquaintance with modern physics-supergravity and supersymmetry, "p-branes" and proto-galaxies, MACHOS and WIMPS. Among teens, Universe might well prove to have appeal beyond its obvious audience of science students and readers of popular science and science fiction.-Christine C. Menefee, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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