Digital List Price:    314.21
Kindle Price:    208.00

Save    191.00 (48%)

inclusive of all taxes

includes free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
View eBooks cart Available in eBooks cart

These promotions will be applied to this item:

Some promotions may be combined; others are not eligible to be combined with other offers. For details, please see the Terms & Conditions associated with these promotions.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Buy for others

Give as a gift or purchase for a team or group.
Learn more

Buying and sending Kindle eBooks to others

Select quantity
Buy and send Kindle eBooks
Recipients can read on any device

These ebooks can only be redeemed by recipients in the India. Redemption links and eBooks cannot be resold.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Share <Embed>
Kindle app logo image

Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet or computer – no Kindle device required. Learn more

Read instantly on your browser with Kindle Cloud Reader.

Using your mobile phone camera, scan the code below and download the Kindle app.

QR code to download the Kindle App

A Brief History Of Time: From Big Bang To Black Holes by [Stephen Hawking]

Follow the Author

Something went wrong. Please try your request again later.

A Brief History Of Time: From Big Bang To Black Holes Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 15,988 ratings

Price
New from
Kindle Edition
₹208.00

Product description

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

Our picture of the universe


A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: “What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.” The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, “What is the tortoise standing on?” “You’re very clever, young man, very clever,” said the old lady. “But it’s turtles all the way down!”

Most people would find the picture of our universe as an infinite tower of tortoises rather ridiculous, but why do we think we know better? What do we know about the universe, and how do we know it? Where did the universe come from, and where is it going? Did the universe have a beginning, and if so, what happened
before then? What is the nature of time? Will it ever come to an end? Can we go back in time? Recent breakthroughs in physics, made possible in part by fantastic new technologies, suggest answers to some of these longstanding questions. Someday these answers may seem as obvious to us as the earth orbiting the sun–or perhaps as ridiculous as a tower of tortoises. Only time (whatever that may be) will tell.

As long ago as 340 B.C. the Greek philosopher Aristotle, in his book
On the Heavens, was able to put forward two good arguments for believing that the earth was a round sphere rather than a flat plate. First, he realized that eclipses of the moon were caused by the earth coming between the sun and the moon. The earth’s shadow on the moon was always round, which would be true only if the earth was spherical. If the earth had been a flat disk, the shadow would have elongated and elliptical, unless the eclipse always occurred at a time when the sun was directly under the center of the disk. Second, the Greeks knew from their travels that the North Star appeared lower in the sky when viewed in the south than it did in more northerly regions. (Since the North Star lies over the North Pole, it appears to be directly above an observer at the North Pole, but to someone looking from the equator, it appears to lie just at the horizon. From the difference in the apparent position of the North Star in Egypt and Greece, Aristotle even quoted an estimate that the distance around the earth was 400,000 stadia. It is not known exactly what length a stadium was, but it may have been about 200 yards, which would make Aristotle’s estimate about twice the currently accepted figure. The Greeks even had a third argument that the earth must be round, for why else does one first see the sails of a ship coming over the horizon, and only later see the hull?

Aristotle thought the earth was stationary and that the sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars moved in circular orbits about the earth. He believed this because he felt, for mystical reasons, that the earth was the center of the universe, and that circular motion was the most perfect. This idea was elaborated by Ptolemy in the second century A.D. into a complete cosmological model. The earth stood at the center, surrounded by eight spheres that carried the moon, the sun, the stars, and the five planets known at the time, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn (Fig 1.1). The planets themselves moved on smaller circles attached to their respective spheres in order to account for their rather complicated observed paths in the sky. The outermost sphere carried the so-called fixed stars, which always stay in the same positions relative to each other but which rotate together across the sky. What lay beyond the last sphere was never made very clear, but it certainly was not part of mankind’s observable universe.

Ptolemy’s model provided a reasonably accurate system for predicting the positions of heavenly bodies in the sky. But in order to predict these positions correctly, Ptolemy had to make an assumption that the moon followed a path that sometimes brought it twice as close to the earth as at other times. And that meant that the moon ought sometimes to appear twice as big as at other times! Ptolemy recognized this flaw, but nevertheless his model was generally, although not universally, accepted. It was adopted by the Christian church as the picture of the universe that was in accordance with Scripture, for it had the great advantage that it left lots of room outside the sphere of fixed stars for heaven and hell.

A simpler model, however, was proposed in 1514 by a Polish priest, Nicholas Copernicus. (At first, perhaps for fear of being branded a heretic by his church, Copernicus circulated his model anonymously.) His idea was that the sun was stationary at the center and that the earth and the planets moved in circular orbits around the sun. Nearly a century passed before this idea was taken seriously. Then two astronomers–the German, Johannes Kepler, and the Italian, Galileo Galilei–started publicly to support the Copernican theory, despite the fact that the orbits it predicted did not quite match the ones observed. The death blow to the Aristotelian/Ptolemaic theory came in 1609. In that year, Galileo started observing the night sky with a telescope, which had just been invented. When he looked at the planet Jupiter, Galileo found that it was accompanied by several small satellites or moons that orbited around it. This implied that everything did not have to orbit directly around the earth, as Aristotle and Ptolemy had thought. (It was, of course, still possible to believe that the earth was stationary at the center of the universe and that the moons of Jupiter moved on extremely complicated paths around the earth, giving the appearance that they orbited Jupiter. However, Copernicus’s theory was much simpler.) At the same time, Johannes Kepler had modified Copernicus’s theory, suggesting that the planets moved not in circles but in ellipses (an ellipse is an elongated circle). The predictions now finally matched the observations.

As far as Kepler was concerned, elliptical orbits were merely an ad hoc hypothesis, and a rather repugnant one at that, because ellipses were clearly less perfect than circles. Having discovered almost by accident that elliptical orbits fit the observations well, he could not reconcile them with his idea that the planets were made to orbit the sun by magnetic forces. An explanation was provided only much later, in 1687, when Sir Isaac Newton published his
Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, probably the most important single work ever published in the physical sciences. In it Newton not only put forward a theory of how bodies move in space and time, but he also developed the complicated mathematics needed to analyze those motions. In addition, Newton postulated a law of universal gravitation according to which each body in the universe was attracted toward every other body by a force that was stronger the more massive the bodies and the closer they were to each other. It was this same force that caused objects to fall to the ground. (The story that Newton was inspired by an apple hitting his head is almost certainly apocryphal. All Newton himself ever said was that the idea of gravity came to him as he sat “in a contemplative mood” and “was occasioned by the fall of an apple.”) Newton went on to show that, according to his law, gravity causes the moon to move in an elliptical orbit around the earth and causes the earth and the planets to follow elliptical paths around the sun.

The Copernican model got rid of Ptolemy’s celestial spheres, and with them, the idea that the universe had a natural boundary. Since “fixed stars” did not appear to change their positions apart from a rotation across the sky caused by the earth spinning on its axis, it became natural to suppose that the fixed stars were objects like our sun but very much farther away.

Newton realized that, according to his theory of gravity, the stars should attract each other, so it seemed they could not remain essentially motionless. Would they not all fall together at some point? In a letter in 1691 to Richard Bentley, another leading thinker of his day, Newton argued that his would indeed happen if there were only a finite number of stars distributed over a finite region of space. But he reasoned that if, on the other hand, there were an infinite number of stars, distributed more or less uniformly over infinite space, this would not happen, because there would not be any central point for them to fall to.

This argument is an instance of the pitfalls that you can encounter in talking about infinity. In an infinite universe, every point can be regarded as the center, because every point has an infinite number of stars on each side of it. The correct approach, it was realized only much later, is to consider the finite situation, in which the stars all fall in on each other, and then to ask how things change if one adds more stars roughly uniformly distributed outside this region. According to Newton’s law, the extra stars would make no difference at all to the original ones on average, so the stars would fall in just as fast. We can add as many stars as we like, but they will still always collapse in on themselves. We now know it is impossible to have an infinite static model of the universe in which gravity is always attractive.

It is an interesting reflection on the general climate of thought before the twentieth century that no one had suggested that the universe was expanding or contracting. It was generally accepted that either the universe had existed forever in an unchanging state, or that it had been created at a finite time in the past more or less as we observe it today. In part this may have been due to people’s tendency to believe in eternal truths, as well as the comfort they found in the thought that even though they may grow old and die, the universe is eternal and unchanging.

Even those who realized that Newton’s theory of gravity showed that the universe could not be static did not think to suggest that it might be expanding. Instead, they attempted to modify the theory by making the gravitational force repulsive at very large distances. This did not significantly affect their predictions of the motions of the planets, but it allowed an infinite distribution of stars to remain in equilibrium–with the attractive forces between nearby stars balanced by the repulsive forces from those that were farther away. However, we now believe such an equilibrium would be unstable: if the stars in some region got only slightly nearer each other, the attractive forces between them would become stronger and dominate over the repulsive forces so that the stars would continue to fall toward each other. On the other hand, if the stars got a bit farther away from each other, the repulsive forces would dominate and drive them farther apart.

Another objection to an infinite static universe is normally ascribed to the German philosopher Heinrich Olbers, who wrote about this theory in 1823. In fact, various contemporaries of Newton had raised the problem, and the Olbers article was not even the first to contain plausible arguments against it. It was, however, the first to be widely noted. The difficulty is that in an infinite static universe nearly every line of sight would end on the surface of a star. Thus one would expect that the whole sky would be as bright as the sun, even at night. Olbers’s counterargument was that the light from distant stars would be dimmed by absorption by intervening matter. However, if that happened the intervening matter would eventually heat up until it glowed as brightly as the stars. The only way of avoiding the conclusion that the whole of the night sky should be as bright as the surface of the sun would be to assume that the stars had not been shining forever but had turned on at some finite time in the past. In that case the absorbing matter might not have heated up yet or the light from distant stars might not yet have reached us. And that brings us to the question of what could have caused the stars to have turned on in the first place.

The beginning of the universe had, of course, been discussed long before this. According to a number of early cosmologies and the Jewish/Christian/Muslim tradition, the universe started at a finite, and not very distant, time in the past. One argument for such a beginning was the feeling that it was necessary to have “First Cause” to explain the existence of the universe. (Within the universe, you always explained one event as being caused by some earlier event, but the existence of the universe itself could be explained in this way only if it had some beginning.) Another argument was put forward by St. Augustine in his book
The City of God. He pointed out that civilization is progressing and we remember who performed this deed or developed that technique. Thus man, and so also perhaps the universe, could not have been around all that long. St. Augustine accepted a date of about 5000 B.C. for the Creation of the universe according to the book of Genesis. (It is interesting that this is not so far from the end of the last Ice Age, about 10,000 B.C., which is when archaeologists tell us that civilization really began.)

Aristotle, and most of the other Greek philosophers, on the other hand, did not like the idea of a creation because it smacked too much of divine intervention. They believed, therefore, that the human race and the world around it had existed, and would exist, forever. The ancients had already considered the argument about progress described above, and answered it by saying that there had been periodic floods or other disasters that repeatedly set the human race right back to the beginning of civilization.
--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

From AudioFile

In his narration Michael Jackson changes his rhythm and volume, sometimes laughing with asides, while talking of the Big Bang, negative energy, and the elusive unified field theory. He also demonstrates a facility with a plethora of scientific and mathematical terms. If we can forgive him for pronouncing the "p" in Ptolomy so many times, we find he adds a pleasant vitality to a scientific audiobook. Hawking, an expert on space-time, quantum mechanics, and black holes, is far too smart for most of us to understand, but this abridgment, with the help of the narrator's positive spin, gives an idea of how such a great scientist, long afflicted with Lou Gehrig's disease, thinks and writes. J.A.H. © AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0031RDVMI
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Transworld Digital; 0 edition (10 November 2009)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 3001 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 242 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 15,988 ratings

About the author

Follow authors to get new release updates, plus improved recommendations.
Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Stephen Hawking's ability to make science understandable and compelling to a lay audience was established with the publication of his first book, A Brief History of Time, which has sold nearly 10 million copies in 40 languages. Hawking has authored or participated in the creation of numerous other popular science books, including The Universe in a Nutshell, A Briefer History of Time, On the Shoulders of Giants, The Illustrated On the Shoulders of Giants, and George's Secret Key to the Universe.

(Stephen William Hawking; Oxford, Reino Unido, 8 de Enero de 1942 - Cambridge, 14 de marzo de 2018) Físico teórico británico. A pesar de sus discapacidades físicas y de las progresivas limitaciones impuestas por la enfermedad degenerativa que padecía, Stephen William Hawking es probablemente el físico más conocido entre el gran público desde los tiempos de Einstein. Luchador y triunfador, a lo largo de toda su vida logró sortear la inmensidad de impedimentos que le planteó el mal de Lou Gehrig, una esclerosis lateral amiotrófica que le aquejaba desde que tenía 20 años. Hawking es, sin duda, un ejemplo particular de vitalidad y resistencia frente al infortunio del destino.

Fue miembro de la Real Sociedad de Londres, de la Academia Pontificia de las Ciencias y de la Academia Nacional de Ciencias de Estados Unidos. Fue titular de la Cátedra Lucasiana de Matemáticas (Lucasian Chair of Mathematics) de la Universidad de Cambridge desde 1979 hasta su jubilación en 2009. Entre las numerosas distinciones que le han sido concedidas, Hawking ha sido honrado con doce doctorados honoris causa y ha sido galardonado con la Orden del Imperio Británico (grado CBE) en 1982, el Premio Príncipe de Asturias de la Concordia en 1989, la Medalla Copley en 2006, la Medalla de la Libertad en 2009 y el Premio Fundación BBVA Fronteras del Conocimiento en 2015.

Alcanzó éxitos de ventas con sus trabajos divulgativos sobre Ciencia, en los que discute sobre sus propias teorías y la cosmología en general; estos incluyen A Brief History of Time, que estuvo en la lista de best-sellers del The Sunday Times británico durante 237 semanas.

La Editorial Alvi Books le dedicó, como tributo y reconocimiento, este espacio en Amazon en 2016.

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
15,988 global ratings

Top reviews from India

Reviewed in India on 25 October 2018
Verified Purchase
Customer image
5.0 out of 5 stars Without a doubt a masterpiece! 👍
By Dimpy on 25 October 2018
"What did God do before he created the universe? Augustine didn’t reply: He was preparing Hell for people who asked such questions. Instead, he said that time was a property of the universe that God created, and that time did not exist before the beginning of the universe."

Stephen Hawking takes us on a journey from the time when the world believed that Earth was the center of the universe and supported on the back of a giant tortoise to our age when we know better. Without the use of any mathematical equation, except the one famous mass energy equivalence relation by Einstein, he has explained the nature of our universe, from the smallest particles which cannot be seen to the biggest entities, the black holes in a simple language.

The manner in which Hawking broke down complex concepts in theoretical physics, along with his adept use of humor, he clearly won over the readers who otherwise might have found themselves intimidated by physics and maths.
I recommend it to all people who are interested in physics and cosmology but hate equations. 😄
Images in this review
Customer image Customer image Customer image
Customer imageCustomer imageCustomer image
232 people found this helpful
Report abuse
Reviewed in India on 12 January 2019
Verified Purchase
Customer image
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing read for those who wonder about our universe!
By Sawita on 12 January 2019
A brief history of time... What a fascinating book! This is probably the first time I read through an entire book where I only understood a fraction of what was explained, due to my limited understanding on the topic. In other circumstances I would have left it incomplete. However with this gem, it made me wonder about various principles I had heard about in high school, and search for some cool videos online explaining them in an easy to understand language.

If you have wondered about the big bang, black holes, elementary particles, general relativity, quantum mechanics, space and time, or the laws of the universe, this book is for you!

This book reminds one of how beautiful, fascinating and intriguing our universe is! I don't think the author could have simplified things any further. I rate the book a 5-star for keeping me engaged, for making me explore concepts I wouldn't have otherwise, and for reminding me of the wonders of the universe.
Images in this review
Customer image
Customer image
56 people found this helpful
Report abuse
Reviewed in India on 24 April 2017
Verified Purchase
191 people found this helpful
Report abuse
Reviewed in India on 19 August 2017
Verified Purchase
30 people found this helpful
Report abuse
Reviewed in India on 4 December 2019
Verified Purchase
Customer image
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book About Time
By Yasir ty on 4 December 2019
A brief history of time... What a fascinating book! This is probably the first time I read through an entire book where I only understood a fraction of what was explained, due to my limited understanding on the topic. In other circumstances I would have left it incomplete. However with this gem, it made me wonder about various principles I had heard about in high school, and search for some cool videos online explaining them in an easy to understand language.

If you have wondered about the big bang, black holes, elementary particles, general relativity, quantum mechanics, space and time, or the laws of the universe, this book is for you!

This book reminds one of how beautiful, fascinating and intriguing our universe is! I don't think the author could have simplified things any further. I rate the book a 5-star for keeping me engaged, for making me explore concepts I wouldn't have otherwise, and for reminding me of the wonders of the universe.
Images in this review
Customer image
Customer image
9 people found this helpful
Report abuse
Reviewed in India on 19 September 2018
Verified Purchase
Customer image
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book for a Physics Lover
By Ravi Garlay on 19 September 2018
This book is really a proof that why was Stephen Hawking One of the best Physicist after Albert Einstien ...
I mean it explains the high level concepts in a way that anyone can easily understand ..

You can easily understand the complexity of high level concepts in Easiest way..
If you're a at least +1 student and a physics lover ...This one is for you..
And it adds more interest If you are interested in astrophysics ...This book is a MUST...
And the hardest thing about the book is that you can't put it down...once you start reading it...it makes you understand and inspires you to think,which I find very amazing
Images in this review
Customer image
Customer image
13 people found this helpful
Report abuse
Reviewed in India on 22 July 2020
Verified Purchase
Customer image
5.0 out of 5 stars A gift to all the curious minds.
By Piyush Bilgaiyan on 22 July 2020
A must read to all the curious minds.
SOMETHING NO ONE ELSE WILL TELL YOU IS-
It just not only deals with open enden questions that haunt our minds😁. But also explores scientific temprament.
This is one of few books that accept in writing that "all i belive might be just a fantasy and string theory will be overthrown by future generations".
It shows us a mirror how little we know.
The problem faced by modern day philosophers is also been touched.
My personal favourite chapter is the "arrow of time". Because it teaches us how to make judgements and later how to discard them.
P.S. none of deep knowledge is required in order to appreciate this book.
Images in this review
Customer image
Customer image
5 people found this helpful
Report abuse
Reviewed in India on 12 July 2022
Verified Purchase
Customer image
1.0 out of 5 stars Highly Disappointed With the Quality
By RAJIV on 12 July 2022
Highly Disappointed With the Quality of the book from print as well as from page quality side.
There is no genuineness.
It is a cheap street side print.
There is no publication sticker as well.

Anybody living in metropolitan, can buy it in 100/- from any street side vendor.

Seller must respect the reputation of this book.
Surprised to see that how Amazon is allowing such quality to sell on its platform.
Images in this review
Customer image Customer image Customer image
Customer imageCustomer imageCustomer image
One person found this helpful
Report abuse

Top reviews from other countries

Martin Jones
3.0 out of 5 stars A Brief History Of My Efforts To Understand Physics
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 13 July 2018
Verified Purchase
74 people found this helpful
Report abuse
E Griffith
2.0 out of 5 stars A bit too much for me!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 27 March 2021
Verified Purchase
25 people found this helpful
Report abuse
Betseylee
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 April 2018
Verified Purchase
28 people found this helpful
Report abuse
H MCGAHAN
2.0 out of 5 stars Shallow and superficial toe-dip into fortune-telling, football punditry and cupcakes.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 4 December 2020
Verified Purchase
5 people found this helpful
Report abuse
Oliver
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book
Reviewed in Canada on 9 May 2020
Verified Purchase
31 people found this helpful
Report abuse
Report an issue

Does this item contain inappropriate content?
Do you believe that this item violates a copyright?
Does this item contain quality or formatting issues?