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The Nature of Space and Time By Stephen Hawking

The Nature of Space and Time by Stephen Hawking

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Summary

Einstein said that the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible. On this issue, two of the world's famous physicists - Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose - disagree. Here, they explain their positions in a work based on six lectures with a final debate.

The Nature of Space and Time Summary

The Nature of Space and Time by Stephen Hawking

Einstein said that the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible. But was he right? Can the quantum theory of fields and Einstein's general theory of relativity, the two most accurate and successful theories in all of physics, be united in a single quantum theory of gravity? Can quantum and cosmos ever be combined? On this issue, two of the world's most famous physicists - Stephen Hawking ("A Brief History of Time") and Roger Penrose ("The Emperor's New Mind and Shadows of the Mind") - disagree. Here, they explain their positions in a work based on six lectures with a final debate, all originally presented at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge. How could quantum gravity, a theory that could explain the earlier moments of the big bang and the physics of the enigmatic objects known as black holes, be constructed? Why does our patch of the universe look just as Einstein predicted, with no hint of quantum effects in sight? What strange quantum processes can cause black holes to evaporate, and what happens to all the information that they swallow? Why does time go forward, not backward? In this book, the two opponents touch on all these questions. Penrose, like Einstein, refuses to believe that quantum mechanics is a final theory. Hawking thinks otherwise, and argues that general relativity simply cannot account for how the universe began. Only a quantum theory of gravity, coupled with the no-boundary hypothesis, can ever hope to explain adequately what little we can observe about our universe. Penrose, playing the realist to Hawking's positivist, thinks that the universe is unbounded and will expand forever. The universe can be understood, he argues, in terms of the geometry of light cones, the compression and distortion of spacetime, and by the use of twistor theory. With the final debate, the reader will come to realize how much Hawking and Penrose diverge in their opinions of the ultimate quest to combine quantum mechanics and relativity, and how differently they have tried to comprehend the incomprehensible.

The Nature of Space and Time Reviews

Over the past thirty years, Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose have done more than anyone to further our understanding of the nature of gravitation and cosmology... The Nature of Space and Time is the result of their attempt to stage a structured dialogue about these problems, to isolate points of disagreement, and stimulate further investigation of these problems... The debate between Hawking and Penrose is a live one between brilliant scientists... This elegant little volume provides a clear account of two approaches to some of the greatest unsolved problems of gravitation and cosmology. -- John Barrow New Scientist A debate between Hawking and Penrose ... raises the reader's expectations of a lively interaction, and this is fully borne out in the transcribed discussion... Hawking's effervescent sense of humour frequently enlivens the text. -- Joseph Silk The Times Higher Education Supplement If there were such a thing as the World Professional Heavyweight Theory Debating Society, this would be the title bout. -- Christopher Dornan Toronto Globe & Mail This is an interesting book to read now, but it promises to become an even more interesting book for future generations of physicists. -- Robert M. Wald Science I found great satisfaction and not inconsiderable benefit from my efforts... The clarity and brilliance of Hawking's logic would break through in simple straightforward terms... This provided a real thrill. -- Lucy Horwitz Boston Book Review As well as providing an accurate scientific record of the lectures, the text has lost none of the drama of the original occasion, which stemmed from the almost antithetical views of the two protagonists on almost everything except the classical theory of general relativity. -- Gary Gibbons Physics World This is a very courteous and intellectually stimulating exchange between two first-rate minds. Library Journal

About Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking (1942-2018) was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics Emeritus at the University of Cambridge. Roger Penrose is a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and the author of Cycles of Time and The Road to Reality (both Vintage). He is the Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics Emeritus at the University of Oxford. Michael Atiyah, Master of Trinity College Cambridge, and former President of the Royal Society, has written a foreword for this book.

Table of Contents

  • Classical Theory (Hawking)
  • Structure of Spacetime Singularities (Penrose)
  • Quantum Black Holes (Hawking)
  • Quantum Theory and Spacetime (Penrose)
  • Quantum Cosmology (Hawking)
  • The Twistor View of Spacetime (Penrose)
  • The Debate (Hawking and Penrose)
  • Additional information

    GOR011131905
    9780691050843
    0691050848
    The Nature of Space and Time by Stephen Hawking
    Used - Like New
    Paperback
    Princeton University Press
    2000-10-08
    152
    N/A
    Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
    The book has been read, but looks new. The book cover has no visible wear, and the dust jacket is included if applicable. No missing or damaged pages, no tears, possible very minimal creasing, no underlining or highlighting of text, and no writing in the margins

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