This article is a book report for a college astronomy class. It is about the book: A Brief History on Time written by Stephen Hawking. The book was published in 1988 by Stephen Hawking, a mathematician and physicist, the book latter on became the best seller. This book was translated in more than 20 languages and parallel to this, there was a series of extended interviews asked and given for magazines and newspapers in many countries. Over the years several studies have looked at the physical and philosophical aspects dealt with in the book. This is not just a mere book; it is a journey of science to the epicenter of knowledge. By reviewing the theories put forward by great scientists from Newton to Einstein, Hawking manages to delve deep into the secrets that lie at the heart of space and time and presents them to the world in a simpler language and terms for all to understand (Stephen 2001).
It is a book of astrophysical science that gives the reader a scientific acumen to search for the answers that have not been answered for many years. Questions such as what is the beginning of time? Where did the universe start and where will it end? To many people, these questions have been left to the wonders of children and ton philosophers who seek for their solutions. In his introduction, Hawking tells us that he decided to leave out many equations because he had been told that many equations would reduce sales by half. He therefore ended up with only one equation in the whole book, the Einstein’s equation “E=mc2. This book is divided into eleven chapters that include an introduction and a conclusion. It also has at the end, a few pages having notes on renowned scientists, Newton, Einstein, and Galileo. The chapters of the book are about twenty pages each in length, and with most of them having diagrams, it can be expected that it does not go into much detail (Stephen 2001).
The first chapter is quite interesting, it is basically a helpful introduction to the author’s world and to what Hawking and his colleagues hope to find as they carry out their studies. Hawking has also included some scientific histories from the ancient Greeks to the contemporary findings in science. The remaining nine chapters are each dedicated to an area of science and the theories associated to it. The chapter on space and time starts of very casually describing the concept of space, the concept of time and eventually the concept of both space and time. Several questions are posed in this chapter, questions like can gravity affect light? What will happen if it does? This makes the reader to be absorbed as he or she seeks to find the answers to this questions which fortunately enough, are provided. The next chapter talks about the expanding universe. In it Hawking states that the universe is always expanding. It is part of the reasons why the big-bang theory was arrived at. This chapter gives explanations as to why the theory was arrived at; it explains the complex concepts of the Doppler Effect, blue shift and the red shift. This are explained in simpler and interesting way that even a layman will not find trouble understanding them (Stephen 2001).
In the chapter that follows, Hawking talks about the Uncertainty Principle which was arrived at by Heisenberg. The principle sates that an individual can not observe something without affecting it in some way, it therefore concludes that the observed results of either an experiment or event, will be altered in some way. Explanations as to how the principle was formed by Heisenberg are clearly explained in this chapter by Hawking, meaning that those who had not understood the principle as it had been given by Heisenberg can now understand it without much trouble. Following this chapter is the chapter on elementary particles and elementary forces of nature. This explains in simpler terms what make up matter; it explores deeply the nature of atoms and small particles. The chapter does not stop there but goes ahead to explain Pauli’s exclusion principle. The concept of the Black Holes or the famous scientific term, Black holes ain’t so black, is tackled in the following chapter. It deals with the phenomenon of black holes and what has been theorized about them. This covers two chapters, a section that appear hard to understand at least to me. The science involved in this chapter is a bit tricky and therefore will require a sharper mind to grasp the concepts behind it (Stephen 2001).