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Book review: The Theory of Everything

The Theory of Everything – Stephen Hawking

 

The theory of everything is an interesting concept in itself. I always was intrigued by the idea of origin of universe and its growth. Apparently a lot of people have been interested in it other than me. And their interest has been a lot more active than mine. As it turns out everything that happens can be expressed as mathematical equations. Or at least people have been trying to. I knew “A brief history of time by Stephen Hawking” dwells on the subject too. I just chose to read this book because it had lesser number of pages. And I wanted a summary of the history of time and could do without the technicalities.

But then, even this smaller book is quite dense. You need to have a healthy amount of curiosity to be able to get through this book. In the end, it doesn’t answer any specific question you might have on the universe. In fact, Stephen Hawking is blissfully diplomatic about most things. And there are just so many things in the book that are confusing… obfuscating even.


The topics discussed in this book cover origin of universe and several arguments and theories about it, its growth till the present state, black holes, time and its direction and the concluding chapter on the quest for theory of everything. The good thing is that the book is in English. And even though a lot of concepts are brought in which I didn’t fully understand, the partial understanding of the theme was good enough for me to read this book.

Stephen Hawking mixes philosophy with science very well. And surprisingly, exhibits quite a sense of subtle humor in this science laden book. He puts forth a point that science was once a branch under philosophy. It was when science just got too complicated for the philosophers that it needed specialized studies. The idea is to read this book like a philosopher, and if you have some amount of interest in astronomy. If you don’t, don’t bother going through this one. You will probably get a headache in the first 2 pages.

 
To end it, the book does not actually give the theory which encompasses everything. It ends with a note that a grand unifying theory will probably emerge from a chain of theories which will sprout over time. And once the “how” of the world is answered… we can go about asking “why”. As I said, deeply philosophical.
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