October 10, 2011

Review - The Grand Design (Stephen Hawking)

Being one of the most influential physicists of our time Stephen Hawking has contributed a lot to the field of cosmology over the years. In The Grand Design he once again brings the interested reader closer to understanding the universe and how it works.
Why is the universe the way it is? This is just one of the questions which Hawking tackles by shedding light on recent discoveries and theoretical advances in his field. Presenting itself as a concise survey that covers the history behind the modern view of the universe this book is written for those of non-scientific background which, admittedly, some might view as a bit too simplistic. However, it is exactly the kind of book on science, or rather physics, that a girl like me needs. Why? Because apart from being a really fascinating topic, it is highly comprehensibly written, making the quest for a unified theory of the universe accessible to the reader without causing major headaches. And both the subtle humor and the interspersed cartoons are just an added bonus.
Granted, I still can't wrap my mind around those eleven dimensions, but no one's perfect. Let me introduce you to the M-theory which is (at the moment anyway) the only candidate for a complete theory of the universe, or rather for a universe that creates itself. No creator necessary.
In short: To some the answer is 42, to Hawking it's the M-theory!

4/5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley.com book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

1 comment:

  1. In "The Grand Design" Stephen Hawking postulates that the M-theory may be the Holy Grail of physics...the Grand Unified Theory which Einstein had tried to formulate but never completed. It expands on quantum mechanics and string theories.

    In my free ebook on comparative mysticism, "the greatest achievement in life," is a quote by Albert Einstein: “…most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and most radiant beauty – which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive form – this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of all religion.”

    E=mc², Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, is probably the best known scientific equation. I revised it to help better understand the relationship between divine Essence (Love, Grace, Spirit), matter (mass/energy: visible/dark) and consciousness (f(x) raised to its greatest power). Unlike the speed of light, which is a constant, there are no exact measurements for consciousness. In this hypothetical formula, basic consciousness may be of insects, to the second power of animals and to the third power the rational mind of humans. The fourth power is suprarational consciousness of mystics, when they intuit the divine essence in perceived matter. This was a convenient analogy, but there cannot be a divine formula.