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Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes is a popular book on cosmology by one of the leading physicists of the twenty-first century that due to its accessible and engaging prose managed to stay on the bestseller lists for four years, despite focusing on leading-edge theories of physics and astrophysics rather than weight loss or celebrities. It has been republished in several editions, reflecting changes in scientific theories, and even was made into a successful documentary produced by Steven Spielberg.
A Brief History of Time emphasizes how two major conceptual domains of physics contribute to our understanding of the universe, quantum mechanics, which explains the behavior of subatomic particles, and general relativity, which explains large scale phenomena of gravitation and time. In his account of how the universe originates in a singularity, Hawkings explains how the subatomic uncertainties of quantum mechanics underlie cosmological phenomena. he also shows how small scale effects in the first few seconds of the existence of the universe explain the origins and structure of galaxies.
A major strength of the book is the way Hawkings explains how scientists have come to the current understanding of the universe by a combination of observation and mathematical analysis, discussing such important and strange features such as dark matter, black holes, and dark energy. As well as discussing how the universe begins, he also talks about how it may end.
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