My Brief History (Deckle Edge) Hardcover
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Stephen Hawking has dazzled readers worldwide with a string of bestsellers exploring the mysteries of the universe. Now, for the first time, perhaps the most brilliant cosmologist of our age turns his gaze inward for a revealing look at his own life and intellectual evolution.
My Brief History recounts Stephen Hawking’s improbable journey, from his postwar London boyhood to his years of international acclaim and celebrity. Lavishly illustrated with rarely seen photographs, this concise, witty, and candid account introduces readers to a Hawking rarely glimpsed in previous books: the inquisitive schoolboy whose classmates nicknamed him Einstein; the jokester who once placed a bet with a colleague over the existence of a particular black hole; and the young husband and father struggling to gain a foothold in the world of physics and cosmology.
Writing with characteristic humility and humor, Hawking opens up about the challenges that confronted him following his diagnosis of ALS at age twenty-one. Tracing his development as a thinker, he explains how the prospect of an early death urged him onward through numerous intellectual breakthroughs, and talks about the genesis of his masterpiece A Brief History of Time—one of the iconic books of the twentieth century.
Clear-eyed, intimate, and wise, My Brief History opens a window for the rest of us into Hawking’s personal cosmos.
I was expecting that part of an incident wave would be absorbed and the remainder scattered. But to my great surprise, I found that there seemed to be emission from the black hole. At first I thought this must be a mistake in my calculation. What finally persuaded me that it was real was that the emission was exactly what was required to identify the area of the horizon with the entropy of a black hole. It is summed up in this simple formula: where S is the entropy and A is the area of horizon.
increase with time. The evaporation of black holes shows that the quantum energy momentum tensor of matter can sometimes warp space-time in the direction that would be needed to build a time machine. One might imagine, therefore, that some very advanced civilization could arrange that the expectation value of the energy density would be sufficiently negative to form a time machine that could be used by macroscopic objects. But there’s an important difference between a black hole horizon and the
think we were definitely regarded as eccentric. This perception was increased by the behavior of my father, who cared nothing for appearances if this allowed him to save money. His family had been very poor when he was young, and it had left a lasting impression on him. He couldn’t bear to spend money on his own comfort, even when, in later years, he could afford to. He refused to put in central heating, even though he felt the cold badly. Instead he would wear several sweaters and a dressing
London. This was because during World War II, the Germans had an agreement that they would not bomb Oxford and Cambridge, in return for the British not bombing Heidelberg and Göttingen. It is a pity that this civilized sort of arrangement couldn’t have been extended to more cities. We lived in Highgate, in north London. My sister Mary was born eighteen months after me, and I’m told I did not welcome her arrival. All through our childhood there was a certain tension between us, fed by the narrow
produced there, which were such a contrast to the previous messy work on general relativity. The other center was at King’s College, London, under Hermann Bondi. Because I hadn’t done much mathematics at St. Albans or in the very easy physics course at Oxford, Sciama suggested I work on astrophysics. But having been cheated out of working with Hoyle, I wasn’t going to study something boring and earthbound such as Faraday rotation. I had come to Cambridge to do cosmology, and cosmology I was