A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking is one of the most sought-after books in the popular science genre. This book could be viewed as a crash course to familiarize yourself with the mainstream ideas of physics and chemistry.
Of all Stephen Hawking books, A Brief History of Time has got several editions published over the years. In this review, I’ll discuss the 10th-anniversary edition of this book published in 1998. Compared to the first edition, the content of this book has been updated with an additional chapter on wormholes and time travel. The central theme of this book is the search for a unified theory that could unite general relativity and quantum mechanics; this yet-to-be-discovered theory is referred to as the quantum theory of gravity.
Reading this book will do two things to the reader, firstly, evoke a sense of curiosity to know more about space, time, and matter. Secondly, make you aware of how deeply flawed your notions about the universe are. One of the biggest revelations that I had from this book is that space and time are relative to each other. Which means time is not universally the same!
Stephen Hawking did his best to avoid any kind of scientific jargon to convey his message clearly to the general audience. Even though it took me additional research; the chapters on black holes(chapter 6) and wormholes(chapter 10) were my personal favorites.
Now, let me share some facts about this book that most reviews don’t cover. Reading this book made me wonder who the target audience of this book is, because many times, the ideas discussed in the book get so complex that a reader belonging to a non-scientific background will have a tough time understanding them.
Similarly, the lack of illustrations is another drawback that I see in this Stephen Hawking book. There are a couple of images used in certain chapters, but the editors could have used a lot more images as people tend to grasp ideas better when visually explained. So if you have plans to read this book, go for the 1996 illustrated edition(link given below) as it contains full-color illustrations and photographs.
In summary, A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking is a book for those who are keen on astronomy and physics. To truly understand this book, the reader must have a basic understanding of some of the fundamental ideas of physics. Overall, I’d give this book 3 stars out of 5.
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