BLACK HOLES AND BABY UNIVERSES AND OTHER ESSAYS EBOOK
Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. In 14 pieces, the author of A Brief History of Time Kindle Store · Kindle eBooks · Literature & Fiction. Hawking, Stephen, "In his phenomenal bestseller A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking literally transformed the way we think about physics, the universe, reality itself. Widely regarded as the most brilliant theoretical physicist since Einstein, he has opened our. BLACK HOI4ES ANT BABY YNP-lERSES a s: tn-er essavs. BLACK HOLES AND BABY UNIVERSES and Other Essays Stephen Hawking BANTAM BOOKS.
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Click here. cover image of Black Holes and Baby Universes. Read A Sample. Black Holes and Baby Universes. And Other Essays. by Stephen Hawking. ebook . Black holes and baby universes and other essays by Stephen W. Hawking, , Bantam Books edition, Hardcover in English. Readers worldwide have come to know the work of Stephen Hawking through his phenomenal million-copy hardcover best-seller A "Brief History Of Time".
After all, if I was going to die anyway, it might as well do some good. But I didn't die. In fact, although there was a cloud hanging over my future, I found to my surprise that I was enjoying life in the present more than I had before. I began to make progress with my research, I got engaged and married, and I got a research fellowship at Caius College, Cambridge. The fellowship at Caius took care of my immediate employment problem.
I was lucky to have chosen to work in theoretical physics because that was one of the few areas in which my condition would not be a serious handicap.
And I was fortunate that my scientific reputation increased at the same time that my disability got worse. This meant that people were prepared to offer me a sequence of positions in which I only had to do research without having to lecture. We were also fortunate in housing. When we were married, Jane was still an undergraduate at Westfield College in London, so she had to go up to London during the week.
This meant that we had to find somewhere I could mariage on my own and that was centrally located, because I could not walk far. I asked the College if they could help, but was told by the then-bursar: 'It is College policy not to help fellows with housing. Years later, I discovered that those flats were actually owned by the College, but they didn't tell me that. When we returned to Cambridge from the summer in America, however, we found that the flats were not ready.
As a great concession, the 21 bursar offered us a room in a hostel for graduate students. He said, 'We normally charge twelve shillings and sixpence a night for this room.
However, as there will be two of you in the room, we will charge twenty-five shillings. Then we found a small house about one hundred yards from my university department. It belonged to another College, which had let it to one of its fellows. He had recently moved out to a house in the suburbs, and he sublet the house to us for the remaining three months on his lease.
During those three months, we found another house in the s? A neighbour summoned the ownerfromDorset and ' told her it was a scandal that her house should be vacant when young people were looking for accommodation, so she let the house to us. After we had lived there for a few years, we wanted to buy it and do it up, so we asked my College for a mortgage.
The College did a survey and decided it was not a good risk. So in the end we got a mortgage from a building society, and my parents gave us the money to do it up. We lived there for another four years, until it became too difficult for me to manage the stairs.
By this time, the College appreciated me rather more and there was a different bursar.
They therefore offered us a ground-floor flat in a house that they owned. This suited me very well because it had large rooms and wide doors. It was sufficiently central that I could get to my university department or the College in my electric wheelchair.
It was also nice for our three children, because it was surrounded by a garden that was looked after by the College gardeners. Up to ,1 was able to feed myself and get in and out of bed. Jane managed to help me and bring up two children without outside help. Thereafter, however, things became more difficult, so we took to having one of my research students living with us. In return for free accommodation 22 and a lot of my attention, they helped me get up and go to bed.
In we changed to a system of community and private nurses who came in for an hour or two in the morning and evening. This lasted until I caught pneumonia in This was made possible by grants from several foundations. Before the operation my speech had been getting more slurred, so that only people who knew me well could understand me.
But at least I could communicate.
I wrote scientific papers by dictating to a secretary, and I gave seminars through an interpreter who repeated my words more clearly. However, the tracheotomy removed my ability to speak altogether. For a time, die only way I could communicate was to spell out words letter by letter by raising my eyebrows when someone pointed to the right letter on a spelling card. It is pretty difficult to carry on a conversation like that, let alone write a scientific paper.
However, a computer expert in California named Walt Woltosz heard of my plight. He sent me a computer program he had written called Equalizer.
This allowed me to select words from a series of menus on the screen by pressing a switch in my hand. The program could also be controlled by a head or eye movement. When I have built up what I want to say, I can send it to a speech synthesizer. At first, I just ran the Equalizer program on a desktop computer. Then David Mason, of Cambridge Adaptive Communications, fitted a small personal computer and a speech synthesizer to my wheelchair.
This system allows me to communicate much better than I could before. I can manage up to fifteen words a minute. I can either speak what I have written or save it on disk. I can then print it out or call it back and speak it sentence by sentence. Using this system I have written two books and a number of scientific papers.
I have also given a number of scientific 23 and popular talks. They have been well received. I think that is in a large part due to the quality of the speech synthesizer, which is made by Speech Plus. One's voice is very important. If you have a slurred voice, people are likely to treat you as mentally deficient.
This synthesizer is by far die best I have heard because it varies the intonation and doesn't speak like a Dalek. The only trouble is that it gives me an American accent. However, by now I identify with its voice. I would not want to change even if I were offered a British-sounding voice.
I would feel I had become a different person. I have had motor neurone disease for practically all my adult life. Yet it has not prevented me from having a very attractive family and being successful in my work. This is thanks to the help I have received from my wife, my children, and a large number of other people and organizations. I have been lucky that my condition has progressed more slowly than is often the case. It shows that one need not lose hope.
Some people would like to stop these changes and go back to what they see as a purer and simpler age.
But as history shows, die past was not that wonderful. It was not so bad for a privileged minority, though even they had to do without modern medicine, and childbirth was highly risky for women. But for the vast majority of the population, life was nasty, brutish, and short. Anyway, even if one wanted to, one couldn't put the clock back to an earlier age. Knowledge and techniques can't just be forgotten. Nor can one prevent further advances in the future.
Even if all government money for research were cut off and the present government is doing its best , the force of competition would still bring about advances in technology. Moreover, one cannot stop enquiring minds from thinking about basic science, whether or not they are paid for it.
It has been updated. All it would do is slow down the rate of change. If we accept that we cannot prevent science and technology from changing our world, we can at least try to ensure that the changes they make are in the right directions. In a democratic society, this means that the public needs to have a basic understanding of science, so that it can make informed decisions and not leave them in the hands of experts. At the moment, the public has a rather ambivalent attitude towards science.
It has come to expect the steady increase in the standard of living that new developments in science and technology have brought to continue, but it also distrusts science because it doesn't understand it. This distrust is evident in the cartoon figure of the mad scientist working in his laboratory to produce a Frankenstein. It is also an important element behind support for the Green parties.
But the public also has a great interest in science, particularly astronomy, as is shown by the large audiences for television series such as and for science fiction. Cosmos What can be done to harness this interest and give the public the scientific background it needs to make informed decisions on subjects like acid rain, the greenhouse effect, nuclear weapons and genetic engineering?
Clearly, the basis must lie in what is taught in schools. But in schools science is often presented in a dry and uninteresting manner. Children learn it by rote to pass examinations, and they don't see its relevance to the world around them.
Moreover, science is often taught in terms of equations. Although equations are a concise and accurate way of describing mathematical ideas, they frighten most people. When I wrote a popular book recently, I was advised that each equation I included would halve the sales. Maybe I would have sold twice as many copies without it. But for the rest of us, a qualitative grasp of scientific concepts is sufficient, and this can be conveyed by words and diagrams, without the use of equations.
The science people learn in school can provide the basic framework. But the rate of scientific progress is now so rapid that there are always new developments that have occurred since one was at school or university. I never learned about molecular biology or transistors at school, but genetic engineering and computers are two of the developments most likely to change the way we live in die future.
Popular books and magazine articles about science can help to put across new developments, but even the most successful popular book is read by only a small proportion of the population. Only television can reach a truly mass audience. There are some very good science programmes on TV, but others present scientific wonders simply as magic, without explaining them or showing how they fit into the framework of scientific ideas.
Producers of television science programmes should realize that they have a responsibility to educate the public, not just entertain it. What are the science-related issues that the public will have to make decisions on in the near future?
By far the most urgent is that of nuclear weapons. Other global problems, such as food supply or the greenhouse effect, are relatively slow acting, but a nuclear war could mean the end of all human life on earth within days.
Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays
The relaxation of east-west tensions brought about by the ending of the cold war has meant that the fear of nuclear war has receded from public consciousness. But the danger is still there as long as there are enough weapons to kill the entire population of the world many times over. In former Soviet states and in America, nuclear weapons are still poised to 27 strike all the major cities in the Northern Hemisphere. It would only take a computer error or a mutiny by some of those manning the weapons to trigger a global war.
It is even more worrying that relatively minor powers are now acquiring nuclear weapons. The major powers have behaved in a reasonably responsible way, but one cannot have such confidence in minor powers like Libya or Iraq, Pakistan, or even Azerbaijan.
The danger is not so much in the actual nuclear weapons that such powers may soon possess, which would be fairly rudimentary, though they could still kill millions of people. Rather, the danger is that a nuclear war between two minor powers could draw in the major powers with their enormous arsenals.
It is very important that the public realize the danger and put pressure on all governments to agree to large arms cuts. It probably is not practical to remove nuclear weapons entirely, but we can lessen the danger by reducing the number of weapons. If we manage to avoid a nuclear war, there are still other dangers that could destroy us all. There's a sick joke that the reason we have not been contacted by an alien civilization is that civilizations tend to destroy themselves when they reach our stage.
But I have sufficient faith in the good sense of the public to believe that we might prove this wrong.
It was published later in Britain than in die United States. It is being translated into twenty languages twenty-one if you count American as different from English. This was much more than I expected when I first had the idea in of writing a popular book about the universe. My intention was partly to earn money to pay my daughter's school fees.
In fact, by the time the book actually appeared, she was in her last year of school. But the main reason was that I wanted to explain how far I felt we had come in our understanding of die universe: how we might be near finding a complete theory that would describe the universe and everything in it. At week , it went into the Guinness Book of Records for achieving the most appearances on this list. The number of translated editions is now thirty-three.
My previous technical books hud been published by Cambridge University Press. That publisher had done a good job, but I didn't feel that it would really be geared to the sort of mass market that I wanted to reach.
I therefore contacted a literary agent, A1 Zuckerman, who had been introduced to me as the brother-in-law of a colleague. I gave him a draft of the first chapter and explained that I wanted it to be the sort of book that would sell in airport book stalls. He told me there was no chance of that.
It might sell well to academics and students, but a book like that couldn't break into Jeffrey Archer territory. I gave Zuckerman a first draft of the book-in He sent it to several publishers and recommended that I accept an offer from Norton, a fairly up-market American book firm. But I decided instead to take an offer from Bantam Books, a publisher more oriented towards the popular market. Though Bantam had not specialized in publishing science books, their books were widely available in airport book stalls.
That they accepted my book was probably because of the interest in it taken by one of their editors, Peter Guzzardi. He took his job very seriously and made me rewrite the book to make it understandable to nonscientists like himself. Each time I sent him a rewritten chapter, he sent back a long list of objections and questions he wanted me to clarify. At times I thought the process would never, end.
But he was right: it is a much better book as a result. Shortly after I accepted Bantam's offer, I got pneumonia. I had to have a tracheotomy operation that removed my voice. For a time I could communicate only by raising my eyebrows when someone pointed to letters on a card. It would have been quite impossible to finish the book but for the computer program I had been given. It was a bit slow, but then I think slowly, so it suited me quite well. I was helped in this revision by one of my students, Brian Whitt.
I had been very impressed by Jacob Bronowski's television series, Such a sexist title would not be allowed today. It gave a feeling for the achievement of the human race in developing from primitive savages only fifteen thousand years ago to our present state. I wanted to convey a similar feeling for our progress towards a complete understanding of the laws that govern the universe.
I was sure that nearly everyone was interested in how the universe operates, but most people cannot follow mathematical equations - I don't care much for equations myself. This is partly because it is difficult for me to write them down but mainly because I don't have an intuitive feeling for equations.
Instead, I think in pictorial terms, and my aim in the book was to describe these mental images in words, with the help of familiar analogies and a few diagrams. In this way, I hoped that most people would be able to share in the excitement and feeling of achievement in the remarkable progress that has been made in physics in the last twenty-five years. The Ascent of Man. Still, even if one avoids mathematics, some of the ideas are unfamiliar and difficult to explain.
This posed a problem: should I try to explain them and risk people being confused, or should I gloss over the difficulties? Some unfamiliar concepts, such as the fact that observers moving at different velocities measure different time intervals between the same pair of events, were not essential to the picture I wanted to draw. Therefore I felt I could just mention them but not go into depth.
But other difficult ideas were basic to what I wanted to get across. There were ypo such concepts in particular that I felt I had to include. One was the so-called sum over histories. This is the idea that there is not just a single history for the universe.
Black Holes And Baby Universes And Other Essays
The other idea, which is necessary to make mathematical sense of the sum over histories, is 'imaginary time'.
With hindsight, I now feel that I should have put more effort into explaining these two very difficult concepts, particularly imaginary time, which seems to be the thing in the book with which people have the most trouble. However, it is not really necessary to understand exactly what imaginary time is - just that it is different from what we call real time.
When die book was nearing publication, a scientist who was sent an advance copy to review for magazine was appalled to find it full of errors, with misplaced and erroneously labelled photographs and diagrams. He called Bantam, who were equally appalled and decided that same day to recall and scrap the entire printing.
They spent three intense weeks correcting and rechecking the entire book, and it was ready in time to be in the bookshops by the April publication date. By then, magazine had published a profile of me. Even so, the editors were taken by surprise by the demand. The book is in its seventeenth printing in America and its tenth in Britain. It is difficult for me to be sure that I'm objective, so I think I will go by w4 fct other people said.
I found most of the reviews, although favourable, rather uniliuminating. They tended to follow the formula: Stephen Hawking has Lou Gehrig's disease in American reviews , or motor neurone disease in British reviews. Yet he has written this book about the biggest question of all: where did we come from and where are we going? The answer that Hawking proposes is that the universe is neither created nor destroyed: it just is.
In order to formulate this idea, Hawking introduces the concept of imaginary time, which I the reviewer find a little hard to follow. Still, if Hawking is right and we do find a complete unified theory, we shall really know the mind of God. In the proof stage I nearly cut the last sentence in the book, which was that we would know the mind of God. Had I done so, the sales might have been halved.
Rather more perceptive I felt was an article in The which said that even a serious scientific book like could become a cult book. My wife was horrified, but I was rather flattered to have my book compared to Zen I hope, like Zen, that it gives people the feeling that they need not be cut off from the great intellectual and philosophical questions. Undoubtedly, the human interest story of how I have managed to be a theoretical physicist despite my disability has helped. But those who bought the book from the human interest angle may have been disappointed because it contains only a couple of references to my condition.
The hook was intended as a history of the universe, not of me. This has not prevented accusations that Bantam shamefully exploited my illness and that I co-operated with this by allowing my picture to appear on the cover. In fact, under niy contract I had no control over the cover. I did, however, manage to persuade Bantam to use a better photograph on the British edition than the miserable and out-ofdate photo used on the American edition.
It has also been suggested that people buy die book because they have read reviews of it or because it is on the bestseller list, but they don't read it; they just have it in the bookcase or on the coffee table, thereby getting credit for having it without taking die effort of having to understand it. I am sure this happens, but I don't know that it is any more so than for most other serious books, including the Bible and Shakespeare. On the other hand, I know that at least some people must have read it because each day I get a pile of letters about my book, many asking questions or making detailed comments that indicate that they have read it, even if they do not understand all of it.
I also get stopped by strangers on the street who tell me how much they enjoyed it. Of course, I am more easily identified and more distinctive, if not distinguished, than most authors. But the frequency with which I receive such public congratulations to the great embarrassment of my nine-year-old son seems to indicate that at least a proportion of those who buy the book actually do read it.
People now ask me what I am going to do next. I feel I can hardly write a sequel to What would I call it? A Time? My agent has suggested that I allow a film to be made about my life. But neither I nor my family would have any self-respect left if we let ourselves be portrayed by actors. Hie same would be true to a lesser extent if I allowed and helped someone to write my life. Of course, I cannot stop someone from writing my life independently, as long as it is not libellous, but I try to put them off by saying I'm considering writing my autobiography.
Maybe I will. But I'm in no hurry. I have a lot of science that I want to do first. A Brief History of Time. Instead, I will diacuss my approach to how one can understand the universe: what is the status and meaning of a grand unified theory, a 'theory of everything'. There is a real problem here. The people who ought to study and argue such questions, the philosophers, have mostly not had enough mathematical background to keep up with modem developments in theoretical physics.
There is a subspecies called philosophers of science who ought to be better equipped. But many of them are failed physicists who found it too hard to invent new theories and so took to writing about the philosophy of physics instead. They are still arguing about die scientific theories of the early years of this century, like relativity and quantum mechanics. They are not in touch with die present frontier of physics.
Maybe Tm being a bit harsh on philosophers, but they have not been very kind to me. My approach has been described as naive and simple-minded. I have been variously called a nominalist, an instrumentalist, a positivist, a realist, and several other ists. The technique seems 'Originally given as a talk to a Caius College audience in May Surely everyone knows the fatal errors of all those isms.
The people who actually make the advances in theoretical physics don't think in the categories that the philosophers and historians of science subsequendy invent for them. I am sure that Einstein, Heisenberg and Dirac didn't worry about whether they were realists or instrumentalists. They were simply-concerned that the existing theories didn't fit together. In theoretical physics, the search for logical self-consistency has always been more important in making advances than experimental results.
Otherwise elegant and beautiful theories have been rejected because they don't agree with observation, but I don't know of any major theory that has been advanced just on the basis of experiment.
The theory always came first, put forward from the desire to have an elegant and consistent mathematical model. The theory then makes predictions, which can then be tested by observation. If the observations agree with the predictions, that doesn't prove the theory; but the theory survives to make further predictions, which again are tested against observation If the observations don't agree with the predictions, one abandons die theory.
Or rather, that is what is supposed to happen. In practice, people are very reluctant to give up a theory in which they have invested a lot of time and effort. They usually start by questioning the accuracy of the observations. If that fails, they try to modify the theory in an ad hoc manner. Eventually the theory becomes a creaking and ugly edifice.
Then someone suggests a new theory, in which all the awkward observations are explained in an elegant and natural manner. An example of this was the Michelson-Morley experiment, performed in , which 36 showed that the speed of light was always the same, no matter how the source or the observer was moving.
This seemed ridiculous. Surely someone moving towards the light ought to measure it travelling at a higher speed than someone moving in the same direction as the light; yet the experiment showed that both observers would measure exacdy the same speed. For the next eighteen years people like Hendrik Lorentz and George Fitzgerald tried to accommodate this observation within accepted ideas of space and time.
They introduced ad hoc postulates, such as proposing that objects got shorter when they moved at high speeds. May 11, Pages Buy. Jul 05, Minutes Buy. Sep 01, Pages.
May 11, Pages. Jul 05, Minutes. In his phenomenal bestseller A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking literally transformed the way we think about physics, the universe, reality itself. In these thirteen essays and one remarkable extended interview, the man widely regarded as the most brilliant theoretical physicist since Einstein returns to reveal an amazing array of possibilities for understanding our universe.
With his characteristic mastery of language, his sense of humor and commitment to plain speaking, Stephen Hawking invites us to know him better—and to share his passion for the voyage of intellect and imagination that has opened new ways to understanding the very nature of the cosmos.
Stephen Hawking was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge for thirty years and the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Very readable. Join Reader Rewards and earn your way to a free book! Join Reader Rewards and earn points when you purchase this book from your favorite retailer.
Read An Excerpt. Science Category: Science Audiobooks. Paperback —. Buy the Audiobook Download:Moreover, one cannot stop enquiring minds from thinking about basic science, whether or not they are paid for it.
People now ask me what I am going to do next. I had never been very well coordinated physically as a child. If we manage to avoid a nuclear war, there are still other dangers that could destroy us all. But before the box is opened, the quantum state of the cat will be a mixture of the dead cat state with a state in which the cat is alive.
This placed an important limit on the amount of energy that could be emitted in the collision. I have tried to reduce it, but some remains.
I don't know if this bet was ever settled and, if so, which way it was decided. Building on his earlier work, Hawking discusses imaginary time, how black holes can give birth to baby universes, and scientists' efforts to find a complete unified theory that would predict everything in the universe.