Black Holes and Baby Universes

ISBN: 0553374117
ISBN 13: 9780553374117
By: Stephen Hawking

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About this book

NY Times bestseller. 13 extraordinary eesays shed new light on the mysteries of the universe & on one of the most brilliant thinkers of our time.In his phenomenal bestseller A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking literally transformed the way we think about physics, the universe, reality itself. In these thirteen essays and one remarkable extended interview, the man widely regarded as the most brilliant theoretical physicist since Einstein returns to reveal an amazing array of possibilities for understanding our universe. Building on his earlier work, Hawking discusses imaginary time, how black holes can give birth to baby universes, and scientists’ efforts to find a complete unified theory that would predict everything in the universe. With his characteristic mastery of language, his sense of humor and commitment to plain speaking, Stephen Hawking invites us to know him better—and to share his passion for the voyage of intellect and imagination that has opened new ways to understanding the very nature of the cosmos.

Reader's Thoughts

Nick Vandermolen

I feel like I liked this book. I stole it from my dad's shelf. As kid I remember wanting to read the book. Then I did, but I don't really remember what it was about. I only have memories about reading the book, not the actual content of the book. I read it a while ago. 2 years later, I'm trying to write a review about it and I remember nothing. Potentially it's because of the way I remember things, by attaching it to one of my own characteristics, or seeing myself as the character. In this case, a book about science...wait, guys I can't even remember what part of science. I have this memory of teaching a kid how a black hole is formed. I'm pretty sure I learned it in this book. I also have third person memories of myself reading this book, could I have left my body while reading it? I did read it almost exclusively at this school for special needs kids where I work. Those kids swear and fight and abuse me emotionally, verbally, and physically on a daily basis. I've heard that abuse victims often report leaving there bodies and forgetting what damage was being done to them. They explain stepping outside of there bodies. Could I have been so abused at my job that I left my body...wait, in this metaphor the book was abusing me so I left my body...or, well, maybe it was just boring. 2 stars.


სტივენ ჰოკინგის ესეების და ლექციების (და ინტერვიუ) ნაკრები, სადაც ის მისთვის ჩვეული ადვილად გასაგები ენით მოგიყვებათ კოსმოლოგიის იმ მთავარ საკითხებზე რომლებზეც კარიერის განმავლობაში მუშაობდა და ფიქრობდა. მეცნიერული თემების გარდა, შეხვდებით ავტობიოგრაფიულ ესეებს, სტივენის ოჯახურ ცხოვრებას, ადრეულ სიყმაწვილის პერიოდს, დაავადების განვითარების და ოჯახის შექმნას. ოქსფორდის და კემბრიჯის პერიოდს, გაიგებთ როგორ დაიწერა სტივენის ბესტსელერი "დროის მოკლე ისტორია" და ა.შ.ლექციების უმეტესობა 80-იანების მეორე ნახევრით და 90-იანების დასაწყისით თარიღდება, ასე რომ რამდენიმე ლექციის შემთხვევაში სამყაროს მომავლის წინასწარმეტყველებას რამდენიმე მნიშვნელოვანი პრობლემა და მთელი რიგი ინტერპრეტაციები და სცენარები აკლია. რაც სრულიად გასაგებია სამყაროს აჩქარებით გაფართოება და ბნელი ენერგია უფრო ახალი აღმოჩენებია, ეს ყოველივე გათვითცნობიერებულ მკითხველს აგრძნობიენებს რა სწრაფად იცვლება სურათი და რა მასშტაბებს აღწევს პროგრესი.გარდა ზემოთ ნახსენები ფაქტისა ჰოკინგის ადვილად გასაგები ახსნის უნარი, მისწრებაა კოსმოლოგიაში გაუთვითცნობიერებელი მკითხველისთვის, რომელსაც ამავდროულად აინტერესებს კოსმოსური თემები და ეძებს მარტივ ენაზე დაწერილ წიგნს. თუმცა თავად კოსმოლოგიის და ფიზიკის სირთულე გარანტიას ვერ მისცემს ვერავის რომ ყველაფერი გასაგები იქნება.

Bart Breen

Fascinating and StimulatingLike others who have reviewed this work, I can endorse it as a stimulating and thoughtful book. It is in essence however not a coherent book with a single theme. It is a compilation of articles and as such there is much in the book that is repetitive. Hawking acknowledges this and disclaims it at the outset. Even with the forewarning I found that element to be a tad annoying.I listened to the audio version of the book while commuting and I found it overall to be a fascinating read. The biographical material about Hawking helped to put a "person" to the personality. Hawking is, without doubt, brilliant. His ability to reduce difficult concepts to listener sound bites speaks to that brilliance. I came away with an appreciation for his brilliance and abilities as well as the field of cosmological science that I did not have before.Of particular note, I found Hawking's treatment of metaphysics to be interesting but ultimately no more valuable than anyone else's opinions in that area. Physics will never answer the question of why the universe exists or whether God in fact exists and created this universe. Science can only answer how the universe works and what laws govern its behavior. Hawkings admits this himself so I took no offense to his words, I just found it interesting that his position did not make his insights in that regard any more valuable.The final segment of transcript from a radio show read by the narrator struck me a an opportunity missed to allow Hawking to finish with his own voice and presence. I was disappointed they did not use the original sound feed and chose to read the transcript.Well worth the read or the listen. Entertaining. Already dated though and perhaps his more recent works would be of more value to most listeners.


My tryst with physics was earnest, tedious and sometimes unpleasant and continues to remain so. I make no claims to have a scientific bent of mind, though I am not a complete trogladyte. Hence when I was gifted this book...a book by one of the great minds of our time...I was rather skeptical. I have not read A Brief History of Time, primarily because I was afraid I would not understand. Reading this one however, gives me a little courage to perhaps pick up the bestseller.Black Holes and Baby Universes is a lovely read, especially for the novice and unsure. Hawking's language is simple and he attempts to speak to the lay man. From snippets of his life, which you grow to be awe-struck about, to the theoretical jargon for the common man, Hawking lets you know that the universe will continue to be there, with its galaxies and black holes, just as it appeared after the Big Bang. Science is as fluid as literature perhaps with ever-changing theories. Just goes to show what is truth today, may not be so tomorrow. It is in that acceptance that we survive,till the day the universe collapses on itself.


I don't really know How The Mind Works, I haven't read Pinker's masterpiece yet. I can imagine it, however, as a complex combination of neurons and cells firing in various areas of the brain to help you visualize an image of the thing you're thinking about .To speak for myself, I think in pictures. when I think about something or remember a person, I visualize a picture of him or her or something strongly associated with them. For example, when I see the word " Plato", I visualize Plato as represented in Raphael's School of Athens, pointing up to his world of ideas. The same thing holds for "Einstein": I see Einstein riding his bicycle trying to catch a beam of light. A moustache for Nietzsche; a teapot for Russell; a monkey for Darwin; a crazy particle for Heisenberg, and so forth .How about professor Hawking?? No, its neither a black hole, as you might have expected, nor a chair. I see a word--an English word written in capital bold letters. I see HOPE.Alongside all science that you get when you finish a book written by this great man, you learn something more important. Surely, I will not live long enough to see if the universe will end in a Big Crunch as it started in a Big Bang, or to verify if there is really a Theory of Everything, nor do I care if there were parallel universes. These things mean to me no more than what Greece mythology mean to any person in our days. What you really learn from Hawking's books is that one must not lose HOPE.

Allison Przylepa

Hawking's charmingly down-to-earth perspective is evident throughout his personal essays in the form of witty, irreverent anecdotes that add a twist of humor into what would have otherwise read as a bland, colorless monotone.Readers come to recognize Hawking not as the caricature of the brilliant, eccentric scientist he's been painted as in popular media, but as a man of modest and ordinary upbringing with a pragmatic world view and incredible resilience in the face of his incurable disease. Somewhere between the meat of the book and its discussions of the universe, our sympathies are gently and discreetly tugged upon; we learn that Hawking's wife was his raison d'être when he knew he may not survive to earn his PhD, and that the selfless charity of a man Hawking barely knew gave him his voice back.It's worth mentioning that I read Hawking's A Brief History of Time before reading this one. Even without having done so, I feel that the later chapters of Black Holes and Baby Universes comes off as, at times, redundant, and many of the theories expressed therein are far too complex and otherworldly for the average reader to comprehend. (Bosonic string theory, for example, only works if there are twenty six dimensions, some of them "curved up into a space of very small size, something like a million million million million millionth of an inch.")In the end, readers should find themselves riveted and touched by this book, from its opening chapter detailing Hawking's autobiography to the later discussions of theoretical physics.


After reading through his first book, I've had Hawking's book of essays on my coffee table for a few years now. Only recently, I found time to work my way through it. I found his essays pretty enlightening and the Hawking subtle humor is in full effect in some of his work. Surely, he seems a little sure of himself in his ideas, but I can't begrudge someone who is the de facto expert in his field. Although the majority of the essays deal with finding a grand unified theory of physics, the final essay which is a transcript of a radio interview that covers some of his private life as well as his career is worth the read.


one of my favourite books.Tentang blackholes, apakah lubang hitam itu. Lubang hitam adalah planet mati yang mampat dengan kerapatan serta gravitasi tinggi. Semua yang masuk ke dalam medan gravitasinya bisa tersedot kedasarnya, bahkan dia tidak memancarkan cahaya yang terserap, sehingga yang tampak adalah warna hitam. Sebab itu disebut blackhole. Gemintang di langit malam yang indah terlihat, bisa jadi pada saat kita pandang saat ini, adalah cahaya yang dipancarkan sekian juta tahun lalu, mengingat jaraknya adalah sekian juta tahun cahaya, dan pada saat kita pandang indah, bisa jadi bintang tersebut sudah mati. Semakin menambah kekaguman pada Sang Kuasa..... karena semua yang terdapat dalam Al Qur'an, mulai bisa terkuak oleh science. Subhanallah.....

Vrinda Pendred

Interesting, certainly, but strangely, I found that while Hawking is a deeply emotional person with a wicked sense of humour...his science left me cold. I got the impression he separates his emotions from his work, which I find puzzling. I think, though, that the worst thing about this book is the interview transcript from his appearance on Desert Island Discs - not because of him, but because of the interviewer. She really knew how to rub salt into his wounds! I was honestly expecting her to ask him if he'd ever considered hanging himself. I don't know how she got away with it. It impressed me how graciously he responded to it. I found him hugely inspirational - but as I say, more on a personal level, than on a scientific one.


I've liked another Hawking book better (I think I've read The Theory of Everything), but everyone who reads my reviews knows that I'm not a big fan of collections of essays from one author because I get sick of the repetition. I did like the inclusion of the Desert Island Discs interview. And I need to brush up on my physics. Can you believe I used to be able to participate in conversations about it? Now I just wonder about white holes . . .


Here's my one-word review of Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays by Stephen Hawking:What?That shouldn't be too surprising if you consider that a) I'm not a stupidly smart theoretical physisist, and b) Hawking doesn't really try to make the material in this collection of essays accessible to anyone else. Actually, there's some stuff near the beginning that's autobiographical, which I found interesting (fun fact: despite being stricken with the crippling Lou Gehrig's Disease, Hawking got married and had children, not to mention that incredible career). And there was some general stuff about public attitudes about science that I followed fine, even if it did veer off into babbling on about nuclear proliferation.But then things got wonky and Hawking was talking about subatomic thingamabobs and celestial-sized thingamajiggers. I'd try to pay attention and follow along, but usually my mind wandered off and I got good and lost. And going back to try to find out where I got lost felt too little like reading and too much like studying. The problem is that this seems to be a quick cash grab of a book comprised of various essays and speeches that Hawking gave to various professional societies and conventions. He's not really trying too hard to speak to me, even in that suave robotic voice of his. So I'm out of my element and he's just standing there (well, sitting) and not really trying to show me around. So a good read it was not.My guess is that something like his A Brief History of Time or The Universe in a Nutshell may be less problematic in this way, since they were written from the ground up to be mainstream. But given what I see here I kind of wonder.


Empieza sencillo como cualquier libro, unas cuentas páginas más sube el nivel y se vuelve interesante para después intrigarte con lo poco que conoces del universo, debo admitir que el libro manejaba conceptos difíciles que me hicieron difícil la lectura.

Ron Krumpos

"Black Holes and Baby Universes" is one of the books in the secondary bibliography of my free ebook on comparative mysticism. "The greatest achievement in life" at has been reviewed on Goodreads.

mark monday

this surprisingly relaxed and enjoyable collection of essays by Hawking didn't make me feel one bit stupid. not one bit! and i am a real dolt when it comes to much of science in general and physics in particular. thank you Hawking for not talking down to me and presenting your rich, dense pie of ideas in a way that was perfectly palatable.there are a couple of pleasant, unpretentious essays on Hawking's personal life and history (noticeably absent in his prior bestseller) and his general thoughts on life - including some amusing comments on his computer voice's distinctly american accent. and there are some fun, bitchy barbs aimed at his own personal nemeses - "philosophers of science" (...failed physicists who found it too hard to invent new theories and so took to writing about the philosophy of physics instead. They are still arguing about the scientific theories of the early years of this century, like relativity and quantum mechanics. They are not in touch with the present frontier of physics.) perhaps that sounds harsh, particularly coming from a theoretical physicist. but apparently these dastardly Philosophers of Science have been hounding him for years, simply due to his own resistance to fitting his approach and ideas into a single, known school of thought (i.e. as nominalist or instumentalist or positivist or realist, etc... most of which have absolutely no meaning to me). go get 'em, Hawking!the above paragraph describes only a handful of the essays. the rest are almost entirely concerned with explaining black holes, baby universe, the 4 basic interactions (strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force, electromagnetism, and - the weakest of all - our old friend gravity); concepts such as "imaginary time"; the continued relevance of quantum mechanics; and especially Hawkings' pursuit of a "Grand Unified Theory". Hawkings' work (and this collection) is overtly driven by his desire to finally create this "theory of everything" - one that will at long last lay bare the inner workings of the universe, where we have been, where we are going, how it all connects and what it is all about. is there a greater goal for a theoretical physicist? i really don't know. but this drive really gave me the impression of Hawking being one of the world's Great Men, a man who contemplates the finite and the infinite on a casual basis and whose quest in life is not so much based in ego (although that is there) but in helping to raise humanity to the next level. whatever that level may might think that God has no place in all of this. well, one would be wrong. God seems to be very much on Hawking's mind. his quest is, in a way, a striving to understand 'the mind of God'. fascinating! here are some of his thoughts on this topic:"It is now generally accepted that the universe evolves according to well-defined laws. These laws may have been ordained by God, but it seems that He does not intervene in the universe to break the laws. Until recently, however, it was thought that these laws did not apply to the beginning of the universe. It would be up to God to wind up the clockwork and set the universe going in any way He wanted. Thus, the present state of the universe would be the result of God's choice of the initial conditions.The situation would be very different, however, if something like the no-boundary proposal were correct. In that case the laws of physics would hold even at the beginning of the universe, so God would not have had the freedom to choose the initial conditions. Of course, He would still have been free to choose the laws that the universe obeyed. However, this may not have been much of a choice. There may only be a small number of laws, which are self-consistent and which lead to complicated beings like ourselves who can ask the question: What is the nature of God?And if there is only one unique set of possible laws, it is only a set of equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to govern? is the ultimate unified theory so compelling that it brings about its own existence? Although science may solve the problem of how the universe began, it cannot answer the question: Why does the universe bother to exist?"rather strange to find this kind of discussion within a book concerned with theoretical physics. but Hawking makes it not so strange; if anything, his mind illustrates its own kind of Grand Unified Theory. he connects so many things, without ever rambling - on a personal level, on a theoretical level, on a purely scientific level. he writes eloquently and passionately about his thoughts on God, on determinism vs. free will, on various moments in history, on so much... and on his favorite records! what an awesome mind. what a man!he also answers this timeless question, posed by Sue from Desert Island Discs:Sue: What would happen if you fell into a black hole?Stephen: You get made into spaghetti.

Mehar Banu

Amazing...... Stephen Hawking, the great mind brings extremely unimaginable concept on universe, not one universe but numerous universes... He lets our mind to conceive what an universe actually be... We can't imagine 4th dimension, however we try .... but when we go along with brain stunning Stephen.. we can grasp whole universe in our mind. What a fantastic play of Allah in giving grace of knowledge to this great man, Stephen Hawking...even he is severely paralyzed and spending whole of his life on a wheel chair.

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