A Brief History of Time Book Summary - A Brief History of Time Book explained in key points
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A Brief History of Time summary

Stephen Hawking

From the Big Bang to Black Holes

4.5 (581 ratings)
27 mins

Brief summary

"A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking is a renowned scientific book explaining the nature of time, the origin of our universe, and the fundamental laws that govern physics. It is a guide to the complexities of the cosmos in a simple and concise language.

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    A Brief History of Time
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    Theories based on what you’ve seen in the past can help predict the future.

    You’ve probably heard of the theory of gravity or the theory of relativity? But have you ever paused to think what we really mean when we talk about theories?

    A theory, in its most basic terms, is a model that accurately explains large groups of observations. Scientists collect data from observations they see in, for example, experiments, and use it to develop explanations of how and why phenomena happen.

    For example, Isaac Newton developed the theory of gravity after observing many phenomena, from apples falling from trees to the movements of planets. Using the data he collected he was able to describe gravity in a theory.

    Theories have two great benefits:

    First, they allow scientists to make definite predictions about future events.

    For example, Newton’s theory of gravity allowed scientists to predict the future movements of objects like planets. If you want to know, say, where Mars will be six months from now, it’s possible to predict this precisely using the theory of gravity.  

    Second, theories are always disprovable, meaning they’re open to reform if new evidence that doesn’t fit the theory is found.

    For example, people once believed in the theory that everything in the universe revolved around the Earth. Galileo disproved this theory when he noticed moons orbit Jupiter; he could therefore show that actually not everything orbit the Earth.

    So in effect, a single future observation can always invalidate a theory, no matter how reliable it seems at the moment. This means theories can never be proven correct, and this makes science a constantly evolving process.

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    What is A Brief History of Time about?

    A Brief History of Time (1988) takes a look at both the history of scientific theory and the ideas that form our understanding of the universe today. From big bangs and black holes to the smallest particles in the universe, Hawking offers a clear overview of both the history of the universe and the complex science behind it, all presented in a way that even readers who are being introduced to these ideas for the first time will understand.

    A Brief History of Time Review

    A Brief History of Time (1988) by Stephen Hawking is a fascinating exploration of the mysteries of the universe and our place in it. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • The book presents complex scientific concepts in a remarkably accessible and engaging way, making it suitable for both experts and non-experts in the field.
    • With its thought-provoking theories and mind-bending explanations, it encourages readers to question their understanding of time, space, and the nature of reality.
    • Through captivating storytelling and the inclusion of personal anecdotes, Hawking brings the subject matter to life, ensuring that it is anything but boring.

    Who should read A Brief History of Time?

    • Anyone who wonders how the universe began
    • Anyone who wonders what quantum mechanics is
    • Anyone interested how black holes work

    About the Author

    Stephen Hawking, PhD, (1942-2018) was a theoretical physicist, cosmologist and author best known for his work exploring Hawking radiation and Penrose-Hawking theorems. Serving as the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge between 1979 and 2009, Hawking was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, an Honorary Fellow at the Royal Society of Arts, and a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

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    A Brief History of Time FAQs 

    What is the main message of A Brief History of Time?

    The main message of A Brief History of Time is to explore the mysteries of the universe and understand the nature of time and space.

    How long does it take to read A Brief History of Time?

    The estimated reading time for A Brief History of Time is several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is A Brief History of Time a good book? Is it worth reading?

    A Brief History of Time is worth reading as it provides deep insights into the universe and challenges our understanding of time and space.

    Who is the author of A Brief History of Time?

    The author of A Brief History of Time is Stephen Hawking.

    What to read after A Brief History of Time?

    If you're wondering what to read next after A Brief History of Time, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking
    • Cosmos by Carl Sagan
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    • Bedtime Biography: Isaac Newton by James Gleick
    • The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow
    • 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari
    • How to Know a Person by David Brooks
    • Who We Are and How We Got Here by David Reich