Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “On the Shoulders of Giants” as Want to Read:
On the Shoulders of Giants
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

On the Shoulders of Giants

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  3,400 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
XIII, 1264 p : ill ; 24 cm.
Hardcover, 1264 pages
Published October 30th 2003 by Philadelphia [etc.] : Running Press, cop. 2002 (first published 2002)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about On the Shoulders of Giants, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about On the Shoulders of Giants

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 23, 2015 Charbel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
It took me months to finish this colossus but I did it!

Right, about the book...
Reading On The Shoulders of Giants is like time traveling through the most significant moments of physics. At times it was challenging, I'm not going to lie, but in the end it was totally worth. Stephen Hawking's intros about each physicist were some of my most favourite parts of the book. Unfortunately, you cannot review this book in the traditional sense since it's a collection of works by different authors. So I'm
Seth Zenz
Aug 16, 2008 Seth Zenz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Totally unreadable -- even if you are an expert on the contents by profession, you will find the methods archaic and the notation obfuscatory -- but five stars for being full of genius. The brief section from Einstein is more accessible, as are Hawking's commentaries, but Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton are very difficult indeed. It is, however, pretty neat to see what these important original works looked like.
Jul 08, 2010 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really intimidating book, both in size and most definitely, in content! It's a highly recommended read for anyone who has an interest in physics as it contains much of the original material from which huge sections of classical physics are derived.

The problem with this however is that four of the five texts contained in this book are between 500 and 350 years old and so the writing style is incredibly far removed from modern scientific writing. Galileo's section for example is presente
Pete daPixie
Nov 22, 2010 Pete daPixie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stardust
On the shoulders of giants, the reader may well have their head in the clouds. The book contains five giants of astronomy and physics, namely Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. Their famous works are 'On the revolutions of heavenly spheres' by Copernicus. 'Dialogues concerning two new sciences' by Galileo Galilei, 'Harmonies of the world' by Johannes Kepler, 'Principia' by Isaac Newton and 'The principle of relativity' by Albert Einstein.
Bistra Ivanova
Като издателски проект това е една безобразна* книга и сега ще ви кажа защо. За автор е посочен Стивън Хоукинг, обаче аз някакси не вярвам той да е написал и ред, а дори да е - загубил си е времето, защото в написаното няма нищо оригинално.
Книгата съдържа 250 страници, хартията е тежка и луксозна, кориците са твърди, има много илюстрации, наборното поле е с 1/3 по-малко от обичайното, цената е 50 лева - в това отношение всичко е окей, защото попада в категорията "за подарък". (Или в моя случай
Feb 07, 2010 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is really interesting in parts. I'll be likely to be reading this for the rest of my life. The biggest challenge is that all of the math (except for Einstein's) is old school geometry. Reading this book is always a stretching experience.
Sep 06, 2007 Tim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
a very hard read
Com todo o mérito que o trabalho científico de Stephen Hawking possui, penso que deu um tiro pouco certeiro ao dar forma a uma iniciativa (sua ou de alguma editora a acenar com dólares) onde tem uma participação quase nula. Hawking somente seleccionou os 5 físicos/astrónomos que mais o marcaram, assim como as suas mais importantes obras. Aparte disso, deu o aval à escrita de prefácios com menos conteúdo que uma página da Wikipédia e com poucas opiniões pessoais que poderiam ter dado um toque pes ...more
Aug 15, 2015 Ricardo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essay, science
Stephen Hakwing is th author of this book, which is basically a compilation of some of the works/papers of 5 of the most important minds in Physics.
Each chapter is preluded by a very short and simple biography of each one (Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Einstein) and then we're presented by what Hakwing considered the most important work of each one.
When I bought this book I thought it was something more in the way of showing how their work had impacted our current society and/or visible c
William Schram
While this book is an excellent collection of science writings, it also shows how science writing has evolved since the time of Copernicus. Included in each section is a short biography of each writer. Some of the works are rather confusing to me. For instance, Kepler spends most of his time talking about ratios of planetary distances and relating them to music.

Copernicus speaks of his calculations and observations, finding a number of astronomical distances and things. Of course he uses Euclide
May 01, 2013 Chessmen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't read it all from cover to cover because it is not as acessible as Hawking's other popular writings for the most part. Reading the scientists from Copernicus to Einstein, you will discover your favorite. Mine was Galileo because he wrote dialogues that were easy to digest and made you think. His style and characters reminded me a bit of Plato.

I wonder how much work Stephen Hawking actually put into this book, all I konw for sure is that the foreword and brief biographies are probably hi
John Rauch
Jun 03, 2013 John Rauch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've really enjoyed the 'life and works' sections, written by Hawking. The actual published works of the scientists mentioned are somewhat more tedious, especially the older ones, because of the language used and my inability to grasp some of the math easily. I'm not finished with all of the originally published stuff, but I'm working through it in bits and pieces, not in chronological order. While all of these men are fascinating, Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein are clear sta ...more
Mar 26, 2016 Robert rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: natural-science
While the book does contain landmark works that inspired paradigm shifts, it is almost completely unreadable. This, if anything, is a testament to the good work that many scientists have done in recent days to popularise science and make it accessible to the general public.

Even for someone who is studying physics at university, I found the arguments presented by Galileo and Copernicus extremely hard to follow.

It is difficult to decide what rating to give this book. Clearly contains genius, yet
Христо Блажев
Стивън Хокинг разказва за гигантите, на чийто рамене е стъпила съвременната наука

Сигурно всяко момче като малкo е билo запленено от космоса и неговите загадки, дори и само след прочитането на Одисеята на Артър Кларк. Тази страст никога не ме е напускала, а изпитвам и нестихващ интерес към хората, развили науката до висините, които е достигнала в момента.

Затова и мигновенически се влюбих в двете изключителни книги на Стивън Хокинг. Едва дочаках да сложа ал
Apr 06, 2015 Greg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In these pages, Stephen Hawking has compiled a marvelous collection of excerpts from the science greats of the past. They are, like any serious scientific literature, extremely dense, specific, and often difficult to read. Hawkings himself gives us a Barney-style overview of the accomplishments of each scientist, followed by excerpts from their primary works. I found it absolutely fascinating to follow the logic and thoughts of these men. Not only that, but you can gain an enormous respect for t ...more
Darko Djokic
Oct 25, 2015 Darko Djokic rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Didn't read entire book, of course. But, only having scientific masterpieces from different eras is a big deal! Imagine having Copernicus' "On the revolutions of heavenly spheres", Galileo's "Dialogues...", Kepler's "Harmonies of the worlds". Newton's "Principia..." and Einstein's "The principles of relativity" in one place! Amazing!
Eric Solski
Jan 23, 2015 Eric Solski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read. While some of the math is difficult to understand its enough to just read through and get an idea of how these great minds percieved the world around them. Also Hawkings write ups are almost worth it in itself.
Danijel Brestovac

Str. 12~ mnogo sodobnih učenjakov verjame, da je bila potrditev teorije pri religioznih avtoritetah glavna ovira za napredek znanosti, kot tudi da je dvom v Aristotelotovo teorijo istočasno pomenil dvom v avtoriteto same Cerkve.

Pat Lee
Jun 11, 2013 Pat Lee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physics
Hawking enthusiasts should beware! This particular book is likely not for you. His intended audience are people with a background and sharp understanding physics, plus those fascinated by history of science, but not afraid of a bit of math.
Tato Serega
Feb 11, 2011 Tato Serega rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Muy interesantes las historias de cada uno de los "gigantes", repletas de detalles. Es genial la historia de Galileo contra la Inquisición. Puede que para gente no muy cercana a la física y/o a la matemática el desarrollo de las teorías sea difícil de seguir y entender.
This is a collection of essays/papers from the scientific greats: Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, and Einstein. Hawking provides introductions that explain each of the selections so that you have a rough idea of what each author is attempting to communicate.
Mar 06, 2008 Melody rated it it was amazing
book giving the history of both physics and astronomy through the works of the most influential of its practicioners. Includes a lot of sketches and some pretty technical terms but I think still a book many could pick up and read.
Carlos Arturo
Jan 04, 2014 Carlos Arturo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
La explicación de las grandes obras de la física y de la astronomía explicadas por el genio Stephen Hawking, hacen que este libro sea una aventura. Sin uso de lenguaje complicado, Hawking nos introduce a su mundo, a nuestro mundo.
Bill Carney
May 30, 2008 Bill Carney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You'll need about 20 grams of caffeine, 12 months and a public storage facility to house the book when you're not reading it. It's only a few hundred pages yet it takes up like half of my bookshelf. I could do about 30 pages at a time. Fascinating stuff though.
Sep 15, 2013 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
The old scientists used to give praises to God, quote from the Bible and that sort of stuff. Sadly, it doesn't happen anymore.

When Hawking quotes Copernicus, he includes Copernicus' comments about God. I'm glad he did that.

Good book! Wide and deep in science.
Aug 11, 2010 Niels rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting to see these original works, but I
just skimmed through the book a couple of times.
Very hard to actually read if your just used to reading popular science.
Adrienne Stapleton
Jan 11, 2008 Adrienne Stapleton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, own
Very satisfying to read the original works of these great astronomers and to follow their lines of arguments. A valuable reference work.
Nov 21, 2014 Kallu rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I enjoyed reading on the shoulders of giants, and i love to journey in to fear with five scientist, to all mankind story.
Oct 26, 2011 Paulo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hard to read, enormous in information, it spends most of the reader concentration, but yet one of the most exciting books i have.
May 20, 2016 Hojaplateada rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ciencia
Pequeñas biografías de Copérnico, Galileo, Kepler, Newton y Einstein, con una explicación de su obra mas significativa.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Feynman Lectures on Physics Vol 3
  • The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe
  • The Evolution of Physics: From Early Concepts to Relativity and Quanta
  • The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?
  • The Inflationary Universe: The Quest for a New Theory of Cosmic Origins
  • Endless Universe: Beyond the Big Bang
  • Black Holes & Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy
  • The First Three Minutes: A Modern View Of The Origin Of The Universe
  • Feynman's Lost Lecture: The Motion of Planets Around the Sun
  • Introduction to Quantum Mechanics
  • An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics
  • Stephen Hawking's Universe: The Cosmos Explained
  • Hiding in the Mirror: The Mysterious Allure of Extra Dimensions, from Plato to String Theory and Beyond
  • 50 Physics Ideas You Really Need to Know
  • The Quark and the Jaguar: Adventures in the Simple and the Complex
  • Gravitation
  • Asimov on Astronomy
  • A First Course in General Relativity
Stephen William Hawking was born on 8 January 1942 in Oxford, England. His parents' house was in north London, but during the second world war Oxford was considered a safer place to have babies. When he was eight, his family moved to St Albans, a town about 20 miles north of London. At eleven Stephen went to St Albans School, and then on to University College, Oxford, his father's old college. Ste ...more
More about Stephen Hawking...

Share This Book