Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking (GRADE: C)

I just finished The Grand Design by Hawking and Mlodinow.  I grade this book a C.

The purpose of the book is to describe what some current physicists believe about the answers to the following questions:

1.  Why is there something rather than nothing?

2.  Why do we exist?

3.  Why this particular set of laws and not some other?

This book is broken up essentially in three parts: (1) what people in the past thought about these questions and their answers--this part essential gave a little history lesson about science from the ancient Greeks to Einstein (2) the current theory of physics such as supersymmetry and M-theory and (3) how the current theories of physics answers the questions postulated above.

This book was short.  I wish it were longer because I don't feel that it did a very good job in convincing me about the validity of the conclusions of modern physics.  There was a grand total of about one page of the proof that the universe can be created from nothing, that the universe essentially created itself.  I read that part several times.  I was un-convinced.

I didn't like the comedic tone that some of the sentences in the book had.  I think that those 'jokes' were meant to make the material more accessible to the reader but I just found them irritating.

I really liked A Brief History of Time.  I really like the Universe in a Nutshell.  But this book, not so much.

Overall, I would not recommend this book.  I liked Hawking's other books (the ones I mentioned about) and I really liked the Elegant Universe by Brian Greene.  I did not find the arguments in this book very convincing or convincing at all when it came to the questions that I really wanted an answer to and therefore I grade this book a C.  It wasn't horrible but it didn't fulfill the purpose of giving me a satisfying answer (with respect to giving a persuasive argument).  Until next time...

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