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On the Shoulders of Giants: The Great Works of Physics And Astronomy
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On the Shoulders of Giants: The Great Works of Physics And Astronomy

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  2,849 ratings  ·  50 reviews
In On the Shoulders of Giants, Stephen Hawking brings together the greatest works by Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton and Einstein, showing how their pioneering discoveries changed the way we see the world.

From Copernicus’ revolutionary claim that the earth orbits the sun and Kepler’s development of the laws of planetary motion to Einstein’s interweaving of time and spa
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by Penguin Books (first published 2002)
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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
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
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.
Pete daPixie
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.
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
a very hard read
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
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
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
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
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
arisvia sukma
it took so long time to read this book. why? because i had to open the dictionaries and google for many-much times. but i believe i'm on my way to be a scientist:D
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
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
Pequeñas biografías de Copérnico, Galileo, Kepler, Newton y Einstein, con una explicación de su obra mas significativa.
Hes so smart i dont understand anything, im not as intelectual as him
Carlos Arturo
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.
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.

Tato Serega
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.
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.
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.
Bill Carney
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.
Pat Lee
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.
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.
Eric Solski
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.
Jan 24, 2009 alissa marked it as to-read
I may be wrong, but wasn't this said to make fun of Pope? Anyway--I've started it. Who knows how far I'll get. This book belongs in the same category as "Godel, Escher, and Bach" for me.
Joel Brumfield
A wonderful collection of the greatest physics papers ever writte, from Aristotle to Newton and Einstein plus others. A must have for anyone interested in science or physics.

Gary Brooks
I really enjoyed this book. its an excellent learning experience. even across the great diaspora of science, Prof Hawking magically weaves it all together to complete picture.Wonderful.
Brief biographies of all the researchers/astronomers who came before Mr Hawkings, upon whom his own knowledge and research is built. An easy read for those who are interested.
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.
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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
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