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A Brief History of Time Summary

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A Brief History of Time Summary

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  • June 2012
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Theoretical Physics, a modern topic of science with an extremely deterring sound and famous for being beyond complex, is a subject which cannot be explained with ease. Stephen Hawking, the most famous living scientist today, wrote A Brief History of Time in 1988, updated in 1996, in order to take upon this daunting task of explaining basic theoretical physics to a population who had previously barely studied any science. Within A Brief History of Time, Hawking touches upon seven topics in-depth while easily explaining them in a simple manner: our picture of the universe, space and time, the expanding universe, the uncertainty principle, elementary particles and the forces of nature, black holes, and the origin and fate of the universe.

The first chapter, our picture of the universe, Hawking gives a small amount of background information pertaining to how the current picture was developed. Aristotle, one of the first scientists to live on in infamy, believed the Earth was round; however, he also believed in a geocentric solar system. Ptolemy, agreeing with Aristotle’s ideas, created a planetary model describing the position of the bodies in our solar system. In 1609 though, Nicholas Copernicus dared to challenge the long believed Aristotelian model and formulated the idea of a heliocentric solar system. Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler not long afterwards discovered evidence using the moons of other planets in the solar system that would help prove Copernicus’s ideas to be true and also expanding upon them. Isaac Newton, maybe the most important name in all of physics, published a book in 1687, Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, in which he first presents the ideas of universal gravitation and his famous three laws of motion.

Within the second chapter Hawking delves into the topic of space and time focusing upon the main points of absolute rest and position, the theory of relativity, as well as light. With Newton’s laws of gravity, it was...

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