A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes  |  Stephen Hawking  |  Nonfiction, Physics  |  1988 (reissued 2011)

I first encountered A Brief History in Time at a local Barnes & Noble a little over a year ago.  Like many of the books I pick up, I read a bit of the beginning and tacked the title onto my never-ending ‘to-read’ list (too many books, too little time!).  Then one day, a few months ago, I was in the mood for a little physics and decided it was time to revisit Hawking’s work.

A Brief History in Time was a challenging, informative, and wonder-full read.  The writing style was reader-friendly and the content, interesting and engaging.

Quick summary

In short, Hawking discusses the universe–its past, present, and (possible) future states, what we know about space and time, the matter that makes up the universe, and the invisible forces that act upon said matter.  Hawking delves into the possibility of time travel, the enigma of black holes, and the elusive theory that pulls together how the universe works.

Thoughts

The concepts in this book can be quite challenging to the non-physicist, and at times I found it hard to visualise what was written.  Hawking assumes the reader has prior knowledge of the fundamentals of physics, so I suggest brushing up on the subject if it’s been a while.  That said, there is a lot of information presented in this book, all of it interconnected.  To fully understand the content the reader should keenly focus on each topic before progressing onward, exercise patience, and avoid skimming.

What I really loved about A Brief History in Time is how Hawking explores cliché science fiction themes such as black holes, worm holes, and time travel, and approaches them from a practical and logical standpoint based on fact and what we know.  It’s a little disappointing that the possibility of time travel seems unlikely to Hawking, but nothing is certain.

Is it for you?

This book left me feeling excited and inspired.  Being able to understand the universe just a tiny bit more is thrilling, especially as it evokes existential thinking that challenges your thoughts and beliefs.  I would recommend this book to any and all, especially to fellow science lovers.

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