A Brief History of Time

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A Brief History of Time
BriefHistoryTime.jpg
AuthorStephen Hawking
LanguageEnglish
GenrePopular science
Published1988 (Bantam Dell Publishing Group)
Media typeBook and pdf
Pages256
ISBN978-0-553-10953-5
OCLC39256652
523.1 21
LC ClassQB981 .H377 1998
Followed byBlack Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays
 
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For the biographical film on Stephen Hawking, see A Brief History of Time (film).
A Brief History of Time
BriefHistoryTime.jpg
AuthorStephen Hawking
LanguageEnglish
GenrePopular science
Published1988 (Bantam Dell Publishing Group)
Media typeBook and pdf
Pages256
ISBN978-0-553-10953-5
OCLC39256652
523.1 21
LC ClassQB981 .H377 1998
Followed byBlack Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays

A Brief History of Time (subtitled "From the Big Bang to Black Holes") is a popular-science book written by British physicist Stephen Hawking and first published by the Bantam Dell Publishing Group in 1988.[1] It became a bestseller and sold more than 10 million copies in 20 years.[2] It was also on the London Sunday Times bestseller list for more than four years and was translated into 35 languages by 2001.[3]

Overview[edit]

A Brief History of Time attempts to explain a range of subjects in cosmology, including the big bang, black holes and light cones, to the nonspecialist reader. Its main goal is to give an overview of the subject, but unusual for a popular science book, it also attempts to explain some complex mathematics. The 1996 edition of the book and subsequent editions discuss the possibility of time travel and wormholes and explore the possibility of having a universe without a quantum singularity at the beginning of time.

Early in 1983, Hawking first approached Simon Mitton, the editor in charge of astronomy books at Cambridge University Press, with his ideas for a popular book on cosmology. Mitton was doubtful about all the equations in the draft manuscript, which he felt would put off the buyers in airport bookshops that Hawking wished to reach. With some difficulty, he persuaded Hawking to drop all but one equation.[4] The author himself notes in the book's acknowledgements that he was warned that for every equation in the book, the readership would be halved, hence it includes only a single equation: E = mc2. The book does employ a number of complex models, diagrams, and other illustrations to detail some of the concepts it explores.

Editions[edit]

The introduction was removed after the first edition, as it was copyrighted by Sagan, rather than by Hawking or the publisher, and the publisher did not have the right to reprint it in perpetuity. Hawking wrote his own introduction for later editions.

Film[edit]

In 1991, Errol Morris directed a documentary film about Hawking, but although they share a title, the film is a biographical study of Hawking, and not a filmed version of the book.

Opera[edit]

The New York's Metropolitan Opera has commissioned an opera to premiere in 2015–16 based on Hawking's book. It will be composed by Osvaldo Golijov with a libretto by Alberto Manguel in a production by Robert Lepage.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ A Brief History of Time is based on the scientific paper J. B. Hartle, S. W. Hawking (1983). "Wave function of the Universe". Physical Review D 28 (12): 2960. Bibcode:1983PhRvD..28.2960H. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.28.2960. 
  2. ^ Paris, Natalie (26 April 2007). "Hawking to experience zero gravity". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  3. ^ "Hawking's briefer history of time". news.bbc.co.uk. 15 October 2001. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  4. ^ White, Michael and John Gribbin (1992). Stephen Hawking: a life in science. Viking Press. ISBN 978-0670840137.
  5. ^ Hawking, Stephen (1988). A Brief History of Time. Bantam Books. ISBN 0-553-38016-8. 
  6. ^ A new Robert Lepage at the Met (French)

External links[edit]