The Grand Design

Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, Bantam, $28 (200p) ISBN 978-0-553-80537-6
The three central questions of philosophy and science: Why is there something rather than nothing? Why do we exist? Why this particular set of laws and not some other? No one can make a discussion of such matters as compulsively readable as the celebrated University of Cambridge cosmologist Hawking (A Brief History of Time). Along with Caltech physicist Mlodinow (The Drunkard's Walk), Hawking deftly mixes cutting-edge physics to answer those key questions. For instance, why do we exist? Earth occupies a "Goldilocks Zone" in space: just the perfect distance from a not-too-hot star, with just the right elements to allow life to evolve. On a larger scale, in order to explain the universe, the authors write, "we need to know not only how the universe behaves, but why." While no single theory exists yet, scientists are approaching that goal with what is called "M-theory," a collection of overlapping theories (including string theory) that fill in many (but not all) the blank spots in quantum physics; this collection is known as the "Grand Unified Field Theories." This may all finally explain the mystery of the universe's creation without recourse to a divine creator. This is an amazingly concise, clear, and intriguing overview of where we stand when it comes to divining the secrets of the universe. 41 color illus. throughout, 7 b&w cartoons. (Sept. 7)
Reviewed on: 07/26/2010
Release date: 09/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-0-7393-4426-2
Open Ebook - 121 pages - 978-0-553-90707-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-4159-6572-6
Paperback - 199 pages
Hardcover - 252 pages - 978-89-7291-492-1
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4090-8152-4
Paperback - 182 pages - 978-604-1-01332-2
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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