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When this book was released, I was reading a story about it on line, and the headline said something like Stephen Hawking Says There Is No God Then I made the critical mistake of looking at the user comments under the story It was the usual collection of badly spelled notes from ignorant asshats who tried to say that stupid science didn t know nuthin or that it was all Obama s fault But one in particular caught my eye It was by someone who undoubtedly dabbles in both neurosurgery and rocket science in his or her spare time, and it said something along the lines of THAT S WHYY STEVN HAWKENS IS IN WHEEELCHAR BCAUSE HE DON T BELIVE IN GOD JEBUS IS PUNSINGHING HIM Which got me thinking about why anyone would expect a guy who has suffered from ALS and been confined to a wheelchair for most of his life to believe in God Among the many people who have just cause to question that a loving God is waiting in heaven to dish them out a heaping plate of Sky Cake, I d think that Stephen Hawking would be one of them.It s that kind of thinking that Hawking and Mlodinow take on here Some people will point out the odds against any kind of life existing on Earth and say that God must have set it all in motion and made this place just for us and that it s proof of an intelligent creator Or you listen to a scientist like Hawking who points out that there s whole multiverses where life doesn t exist and that the only reason we know how lucky we are is that we exist to appreciate how lucky we are Basing the idea that there must be some kind of intelligent creator simply because we re here is bad science.And that s Hawking s point This isn t an anti God book, it s a pro science and pro critical thinking book Hawking does a nice job in the early chapters of giving a brief overview of the development of the scientific method and how beliefs in mysterious beings have been incorporated into theories and then debunked over the centuries Then he lays out the flaws in the models that insist that there has to be some kind of creator being in the mix Even though Hawking does his best to dumb down the quantum physics that he claims proves his point and provides lots of handy pictures and graphics to help out the math and science challenged like me, it s not exactly light reading It s short at 181 pages, and that helps, but while I m fascinated by this kind of stuff, I m also stupid enough that I had to read over some sections a couple of times before I thought I had a handle on it.It s enlightening and a nice overview of both the scientific method and quantum physics, but unfortunately, I can t see any of the people who should read this actually picking it up. Stephen Hawking is smarter than I am That s no big feat because two of my cats are smarter than I am The other cat is a certifiable idiot But Hawking is way smarter than I am The Grand Design is Hawking s explanation, or less, about why the universe is the way it is The answer comes down to M theory which is of a combining of explanations than one single unifying theory Many reviewers seem to think Hawking is saying there is no God but he really seems to be stating that God is irrelevant The real question is did we come from something or nothing The beginning of an answer involves an understanding of quantum physics and multiverses that Hawking put as well into laymen s term as we can hope for I don t pretend to understand everything in this book I m still contemplating why the world needs hairballs But I did immensely enjoy reading this short book and can honestly say I understand a little bit. Look John look See the pop science bestseller.See the glossy paper.See the large font.See the wide margins.See the world famous physicist.See the ghostwriter.See the double slit experiment Maybe you have seen it before.But you can never see the double slit experiment too many times.See the theory of everything.It is free of infinities.Probably.Anyway, never mind that.See the quantum multiverse See the strong anthropic principle.See them explain the mystery of being.They are science.They make predictions.What are the predictions We don t have space for that.But here s another glossy picture.See God We don t need God.Science has made Him irrelevant.Why is God laughing I don t know.I guess He just found something funny. The Grand Design, Stephen HawkingThe Grand Design is a popular science book written by physicists Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow and published by Bantam Books in 2010 The book examines the history of scientific knowledge about the universe and explains 11 dimension M theory The authors of the book point out that a Unified Field Theory a theory, based on an early model of the universe, proposed by Albert Einstein and other physicists may not exist 2012 1999 The future of the universe is not completely determined by the laws of science, and its present state, as Laplace thought God still has a few tricks up his sleeve God not only plays dice He sometimes throws the dice where they cannot be seen This doesn t prove that there is no God, only that God is not necessary Stephen W Hawking, Der Spiegel, 1989 Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing It is not necessary to invoke God to set the Universe going 1927 1999 Quantum Theory 3600 3300. Note I m a physicist, so my experience reading this was colored by my training.Hawking and Mlodinow begin by declaring, on the very first page, that philosophy is dead, and that modern science alone must carry our search for knowledge into the future Several pages later, they launch into a purely philosophical discussion on the nature of reality and discovery Dead, indeed In my opinion, this accurately colors the entire book, and if you can t stomach this kind of hard and fast science for the layman, turn back now, here be dragons.The authors quickly but sufficiently review the history of scientific discovery from roughly the Ionians to Newton, to give the reader a context on the history of scientific philosophy and discovery After this, they slow down to cover the subject material contained in what a physicist calls modern physics, roughly the period 1800 present This is about the time I started really noticing the liberties taken in the simplification of explanations, and basic factual mistakes I jotted down a few notes on these, which I ve tacked on the end of my review, as the actual text has no references or a published list of errata none that I can find, anyhow for a diligent reader to check against As an aside, some of these errors sent me to the acknowledgments section, where I was somewhat perturbed to see that only ONE other physicist was thanked for reading and helping shape the book This does not necessary mean he was the only one to have done so, but I found it disconcerting all the same The last half dozen sci fi books I ve read have had scrutiny by scientific eyes than this book.After establishing the models developed by modern physics quantum mechanics and quantum field theories at large, QED and electroweak unification, QCD, special general relativity, and a few other notable points , the text turns to a discussion of cosmology There are some points of merit here, notably the explanation of the cosmic microwave background, and what it means to look at the CMBR and see anisotropy, but only a little bit The thought stimulating bits of the text largely lie in this section of the book One note I jotted down was a reminder to look into whether the anisotropy of the universe can be considered a form of symmetry breaking.After this whirlwind history of modern physics, the last few chapters dive into the nitty gritty details of trying to answer some of the big questions Things like why are we here Very light on science, very heavy on philosophy, again in contrast to the opening of the book A lot of textual real estate is donated to considering the question of whether the universe in which we live is fine tuned for us the strong anthropic principle The facts presented e.g the sensitivity of stellar fusion and heavy element generation to small changes fundamental constants are interesting, the discussion much less so An example The authors claim p 160 change the universe just a bit, and the conditions for our existence disappear On the surface, this appears to be a reasonable statement They even quantify it a change of 0.5% in the strength of the strong force, or a change of 4% in the strength electric Coulomb force, would destroy nearly all the carbon and oxygen generally, if not universally, accepted in astrobiology as prerequisites for what we would recognize as life in the universe s stars However, to call this an example of a little change in the universe based only on these values is, in my opinion, a completely unsupported assertion My technical understanding of cosmology is limited, but in the framework Hawking and Mlodinow present, the typical drift in these parameters could be several orders of magnitude less or than the values the authors have chosen If there is a quantitative basis for their argument, it should have been presented here I suspect that there is instead no basis.Another point of particular interest in this section was the claim that the sum of masses of the quarks that make up a proton 2 ups, 1 down is very nearly the value that maximizes the number of stable nuclei that can be constructed On this, I cannot give an entirely educated opinion my own study of QCD is extremely limited If true, this is in my opinion the single strongest argument for a fine tuned universe contained in this book Unless there is some reason to think that the maximum number of nuclei is a preferred configuration of the universe I can t think of one myself, as it is of chemical than cosmological significance , then the fact that our universe lives so close to this configuration is an unusual coincidence If you want to learn about string theory, find another book I recommend some of Brian Greene s work particularly The Elegant Universe , which is written in a similar style, but substantially longer and better, with unique thought experiments and examples unlike the familiar cliches and talking points Hawking and Mlodinow fall back on If you want to learn about quantum mechanics, find another book preferably one which does not confuse the phase of a wave and its phasor representation, a mistake any student who has taken an introductory mechanics or electronics course should be able to recognize I don t have a particular recommendation, but the book by Greene mentioned above covers a good deal of this in working towards discussing string theory If you want to learn about relativity, find another book All you ll find here are the same hum drum analogies, and a frightening number of factual mistakes e.g the authors suggest time dilation s effect is too small at normal speeds to extend your lifespan They have forgotten that the body is a self conscious reference frame, so that NO relativistic hijinks will ever let you extend your lifespan as you perceive it I very much recommend George Gamow s Mr Tompkins in Wunderland, which uses analogy and example to illustrate a point, not to avoid it If you are looking for a book that has just a pinch of scientific philosophy, this book MIGHT be it I do not consider this book to be effective at explaining any single aspect of scientific discovery, although it manages to name drop most of the important topics.In writing what has been a pretty harsh review, I mean no disrespect to Dr s Hawking and Mlodinow, who are both worthy of the high praise they have been given for their work But I have come to learn that being an excellent scientist does not by any means make one an effective teacher or public outreach figure In this case, I think the unfamiliar reader will come away from this text confused than enlightened I would not really recommend it to someone unfamiliar with the basic framework of a physics class or two What content of merit there is will be otherwise lost.Here are the notes I jotted down while reading The Grand Design, along with references to the pages that sparked themchokengtitiktitikchokeng 77 Adding PHASES is dramatically different from adding PHASORS Conflation of algebraic and geometric representations of vectorschokengtitiktitikchokeng 88 Absolutely false assertion that macroscopic objects are electrically neutral Counterexamples static electricity in clouds lightning , or even just shuffling one s feet on a carpet aurora borealis australis A comparison of force scales would be far effective An example I use with my students the electric force between two Earths at 10C apiece on the order of the net charge of Earth including the van Allen Belts versus the force between two alpha particles Gravity dominates by several orders of magnitude in the latter casechokengtitiktitikchokeng 91 Human eye response and solar power spectrum appear to peak at the same spot if plotted in wavelength, but this comparison is misleading The eye responds to frequencies Energy hf , NOT wavelengths which may vary in different media The excitation energy is what matters and this is invariant for a photon regardless of the specific speed of light in a material If you plot eye response and solar power density as a function of frequency, the apparently serendipitous overlap of peaks is nowhere to be seen A complete treatment of this common mistake by James Overduin was published in Am J Phys in 2002, and the technically inclined reader can review it here p 98 99 Although time dilation does affect biological processes, you would not get any extra years out of it You d just live longer in someone else s reference frame In your own reference frame which you can t escape because you ARE it , your lifespan would be unchanged Your perceived lifetime would be exactly the same It has nothing to do with the effect being small at everyday speeds Even at 99% the speed of light, you would still perceive yourself living 80 yearschokengtitiktitikchokeng 120 The photo is actually a combination of the Crab Nebula and the Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula, photographically edited to fit with the Golden Spiral motif shown at the beginning of each chapter Not a scientific detail, but a shame that someone felt it necessary to enhance the true beauty of nature to fit their aesthetics.There are other notes, but they are the reminders I have mentioned in the main body above.I haven t said very many nice things about this book, but I ll close this ramble of a review by saying that for all its faults, the print quality in this text sets it apart Every page is in color usually only the section title at the top, but occasionally illustrations , and the paper is thick and glossy In that tactile sense if no other, it was nice to read. 3000. If you re into stuff like this, you can read the full review.Epidemic of Vanity The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow Original Review, 2010 At university, after spending thousands on tuition, I then had to spend a lot, over 3 years, on books for my courses More than half were written by the very professors that were teaching me Quite frankly, it s a giant scam Those professors have already been paid for the first material through their salaries Why should we have to pay them again for copies of their pretty badly written books Yes, these books are very expensive, and many don t deserve to be read A few years ago, I was asked to review a chapter in a research text The friend who sent me the invite told me over a drink that I was the third person asked, and would I please go easy on the papers I said yes. {Free Epub} · The Grand Design ⚟ THE FIRST MAJOR WORK IN NEARLY A DECADE BY ONE OF THE WORLD S GREAT THINKERS A MARVELOUSLY CONCISE BOOK WITH NEW ANSWERS TO THE ULTIMATE QUESTIONS OF LIFEWhen And How Did The Universe Begin Why Are We Here Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing What Is The Nature Of Reality Why Are The Laws Of Nature So Finely Tuned As To Allow For The Existence Of Beings Like Ourselves And, Finally, Is The Apparent Grand Design Of Our Universe Evidence Of A Benevolent Creator Who Set Things In Motion Or Does Science Offer Another Explanation The Most Fundamental Questions About The Origins Of The Universe And Of Life Itself, Once The Province Of Philosophy, Now Occupy The Territory Where Scientists, Philosophers, And Theologians Meet If Only To Disagree In Their New Book, Stephen Hawking And Leonard Mlodinow Present The Most Recent Scientific Thinking About The Mysteries Of The Universe, In Nontechnical Language Marked By Both Brilliance And Simplicity In The Grand Design They Explain That According To Quantum Theory, The Cosmos Does Not Have Just A Single Existence Or History, But Rather That Every Possible History Of The Universe Exists Simultaneously When Applied To The Universe As A Whole, This Idea Calls Into Question The Very Notion Of Cause And Effect But The Top Down Approach To Cosmology That Hawking And Mlodinow Describe Would Say That The Fact That The Past Takes No Definite Form Means That We Create History By Observing It, Rather Than That History Creates Us The Authors Further Explain That We Ourselves Are The Product Of Quantum Fluctuations In The Very Early Universe, And Show How Quantum Theory Predicts The Multiverse The Idea That Ours Is Just One Of Many Universes That Appeared Spontaneously Out Of Nothing, Each With Different Laws Of NatureAlong The Way Hawking And Mlodinow Question The Conventional Concept Of Reality, Posing A Model Dependent Theory Of Reality As The Best We Can Hope To Find And They Conclude With A Riveting Assessment Of M Theory, An Explanation Of The Laws Governing Us And Our Universe That Is Currently The Only Viable Candidate For A Complete Theory Of Everything If Confirmed, They Write, It Will Be The Unified Theory That Einstein Was Looking For, And The Ultimate Triumph Of Human ReasonA Succinct, Startling, And Lavishly Illustrated Guide To Discoveries That Are Altering Our Understanding And Threatening Some Of Our Most Cherished Belief Systems, The Grand Design Is A Book That Will Inform And Provoke Like No Other .