Kat's Reviews > The Universe in a Nutshell

The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking
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's review
Apr 27, 2008

really liked it
Recommended for: Science/sci-fi people
Read in April, 2008

This book is actually quite a bit different from "A Brief History of Time", which had both pros and cons. The book is set up so the first two chapters are "essential" information to understanding the rest of the chapters, and then you can pick and choose which chapters to read when, as opposed to "Brief History" which was strictly chronological. I ended up reading it cover to cover anyway.

Pros: Newer theories in astrophysics and fun new ideas explored (Is time travel mathematically and theoretically possible? Are we living on a brane?, etc.). Cons: I really didn't like the first two chapters, which were "essential" to the rest of the book. The first chapter dealt mostly with quantum theory and general relativity - I honestly preferred the entire book of "Brief History" as opposed to this chapter - I thought it was more clearly written, but I guess one chapter is much shorter to read than a dense, 200 page book. The second chapter dealt with things like branes, string theory, holograms, etc. and I didn't feel like it was very clearly written (especially by the end) and the topics were recovered as necessary through the rest of the chapters in a much clearer fashion.

Overall, I thought it dealt with more fun topics than "Brief History", but not necessarily as fun of a tone as Hawking had in the previous book. It was more of getting to the nitty gritty of the topics rather than hearing his personal voice in the issues. Personal preference. I thought this, other than the 2nd chapter, was probably generally an easier read than "Brief History". Honestly, it's a toss up to me as to which is my favorite. I'm curious to read "The Elegant Universe" which seems to deal with some of the same ideas, but from a different author. And yes, I am a nerd. :)

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