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A Brief History of Time -- Recommended?

  1. Apr 14, 2017 #1
    I'm thinking about buying the following books: "the elegant universe", "welcome to the universe" and "a brief history of time". Do you aprove or should I buy some other books, and if so which books?
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  3. Apr 14, 2017 #2


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    Is your goal to actually learn physics or is it for entertainment?
  4. Apr 14, 2017 #3
    I like" Cosmology: The Science of the Universe" by Edward R. Harrison. A historical approach which is easy to understand.
  5. Apr 14, 2017 #4


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    Regarding those books, I have only read "A Brief History of Time". Twice. I enjoyed it.
  6. Apr 15, 2017 #5
    Both probably
  7. Apr 15, 2017 #6


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    Then you may want to drop at least one entertainment book (drop Greene) for a good textbook. Right now your list is slanted towards pure entertainment. Taylor and Wheeler's special relativity book is highly recommended, as is Schutz's general relativity book
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2017
  8. Apr 15, 2017 #7


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  9. Apr 15, 2017 #8


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    If you want just to scratch an itch, then these are ok. I'd also recommend Guth's Inflationary Universe. If you want (and more importantly have the time) to start learning some actual physics, then I think Andrew Liddle's 'Introduction to moddern cosmology' is going to be a good next step, as it's not very demanding.
  10. Apr 15, 2017 #9
  11. Apr 15, 2017 #10


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    I didn't care for A Brief History of Time. I ended up buying another book written to explain what Hawking was talking about in his book.
  12. Apr 16, 2017 #11
    It is quite clear to me.

    I didn't see how Hawking clarified anything in his book. Very disappointing say compared to the way Philip and Phylis Morrison's "The Ring of Truth" is written.

    This well written book discusses how we know, how we go about in search answers . It is an old book (1984) and does touch on some cosmology but well suited for a young budding scientist.
  13. Apr 17, 2017 #12
    I found Feynman's Cornell lectures both entertaining and informative:
  14. Apr 24, 2017 #13
    Yes, those are very good.
  15. May 4, 2017 #14
    I have read it twice, also. The first time in my late 20's, and the second in my late 40's.

    The first time, it was almost more than I could absorb, as I got to the last 1/4 of the short book. A lifetime later, after many magazine, documentary, and Science-Fiction shows under my belt, it made sense.

    As a layman, I can not assess if it should be listed as educational, or entertainment reading. It certainly is NOT a technical manual or text book, in any strict sense of the meanings, but I can tell you that it helped me get over the conceptual hurdles of how black holes work.

    For me, it was both entertaining, and educational, and laid the groundwork that has allowed me to keep up (or at least quietly follow along) with topics that my formal education never even broached.

    Since then, I have come to enjoy spotting Stephen Hawking, in celebrity situations, such as an episode of Star Trek TNG. To me it is amazing the brain that resides in that head.
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