A Brief History of Time Book Cover

A Brief History of Time

From the Big Bang to Black Holes
Publishing Year: 1998
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Stephen Hawking’s 1988 book A Brief History of Time is a popular science book that explains the cosmos in a simple but very interesting way. He explains the basic concepts of space and time in simple, non-technical terms for not only those who are fascinated with how the universe works, but also for people generally interested in learning something new.

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Lesson 1. Theories are Important but not Sacrosanct.

There is always a chance that a particular theory may get disproved. They are not sacrosanct and if new data contradicting a theory is found, they can be invalidated, disproved or reformed. This makes the process of making theories based on observations, a constantly evolving process. For example, Aristotle believed that the Earth was round, despite the common belief among most people, that it was flat. However, he also believed that the Sun went round the Earth and not the other way round. Later, in 1609, Nicolas Copernicus, suggested that the Earth went around the Sun, for the first time. His idea was validated by Galileo about a hundred years later. 

Stephen Hawking also talks about the origin of the Universe. Aristotle had earlier suggested that time could go back forever. German philosopher Immanuel Kant had also espoused the same theory, ten centuries later. In 1929, Edwin Hubble discovered that just like the plates of Earth, galaxies are moving away from each other. This led him to believe that there was a time when everything was at one place. Modern scientists believe that this was the beginning of the Universe.

We are familiar with the phrases, ‘Theory of gravity’ or ‘Theory of Relativity’, but what do we actually mean by the term ‘Theory’? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a theory is ‘a formal set of ideas that is intended to explain why something happens or exists’. By closely observing a set of phenomena or through experiments, Scientists develop explanations that explain how and why such phenomena occur. For example, by observing the phenomena of apples falling and planets moving, Isaac Newton developed his theory of gravity. Using the data that was available to him, he was able to form a theory applicable to a much larger set of objects. Scientists can then predict future phenomena based on already formulated theories. For example, by making use of Newton’s theory of gravity, scientists are now able to predict the movements of planets.

Lesson 2. Disproving Aristotle’s Theory of Absolute Space.

In Chapter Two of the book, Hawkins goes back to Aristotle yet again. This time, he does so with respect to this theory of Absolute Space. According to Aristotle’s theory of Absolute Space, heavy bodies naturally move towards the centre, while light bodies naturally move away. Newton disproved this with his realisations about rest and motion, in the 1600s. 

Newton devised the three laws of motion to describe how all objects in the universe are constantly moving:

Newton’s first law states that all objects will continue

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About the author

Stephen Hawking Image

Stephen William Hawking, born in 1942, left an indelible mark on theoretical physics. A luminary at Cambridge, his pioneering work linked Einstein’s relativity and quantum theory, reshaping our understanding of the cosmos.
Beyond academia, Hawki...

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Chapter List
  • Lesson 1. Theories are Important but not Sacrosanct.
  • Lesson 2. Disproving Aristotle’s Theory of Absolute Space.
  • Lesson 3. James Clerk Maxwell’s Research on the Speed of Light.
  • Lesson 4. Time is not Fixed.
  • Lesson 5. Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle.
  • Lesson 6. Massive Objects Curving the Universe Results into Gravity.
  • Lesson 7. What is a Black Hole?
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In the summary of A Brief History of Time book, there are 7 key lessons. These lessons include:

  1. Lesson 1. Theories are Important but not Sacrosanct.
  2. Lesson 2. Disproving Aristotle’s Theory of Absolute Space.
  3. Lesson 3. James Clerk Maxwell’s Research on the Speed of Light.
  4. Lesson 4. Time is not Fixed.
  5. Lesson 5. Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle.
  6. Lesson 6. Massive Objects Curving the Universe Results into Gravity.
  7. Lesson 7. What is a Black Hole?

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking was published in 1998.

Once you've completed A Brief History of Time book, We suggest reading out The Hidden Life of Trees as a great follow-up read.

Yes, the book A Brief History of Time is really good to read. 51 people have searched for the book summary on the Wizdom platform. The book summary has a rating of 0.0, 0 on our platform.

In the printed version of A Brief History of Time book have over 300 pages and usually takes 8-10 days to finish. However, with the Wizdom app, including its summary and audiobook, it can be completed in just 15 minutes.

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