The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow

Three central questions of philosophy and science: Why is there something rather than nothing? Why do we exist? Why this particular set of laws and not some other? Probably the best persons to make a discussion on such matters as the celebrated University of Cambridge cosmologist Hawking (A Brief History of Time). Along with Caltech physicist Mlodinow (The Drunkard’s Walk),

Hawking uses cutting-edge physics to answer those key questions. For instance, why do we exist? Earth occupies a “Goldilocks Zone” in space: which is the perfect distance from a not-too-hot star, with the right elements to allow life to evolve.

On a grander scale, the authors write, “we need to know not only how the universe behaves, but why.” in order to explain the universe. Currently no single theory exists yet to explain this, though scientists are approaching that goal with “M-theory,” a collection of overlapping theories (string theory included) that fill in many (but not all) the blank spots in quantum physics; this collection is known as the “Grand Unified Field Theories.” We could then possibly have an explanation to the mystery of the universe’s creation without recourse to a divine creator. This is an amazingly concise, easily readable yet intriguing overview of where we stand when it comes to divining the secrets of the universe.

This book is both shorter and clearly written by Stephen Hawkings and might want to pick this up if you are interested in physics but don’t have the patience to read something long and detailed such as Roger Penrose’s “The Road to Reality”. A collection of analogies to make intuitive sense of mathematical concepts works quite well here and the authors don’t push them too far.

If you lack patience for mathematical formulas and want a short and sweet, clearly written physics book that minimizes the mathematics while still surveying the basic concepts of physics and introducing the more speculative current topics, one should check out “The Grand Design”.

The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow

The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow

The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow


4 thoughts on “The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow

  1. divine…….
    Either people believe there is current or people do not believe there is current…. Knowing the current is religion ,……. knowing the use of current is science,……. Believing and not believing ……….both are philosophies.

    the cosmic intelligence is beyond every known and unknown dimension but with in love of no dimension….

    the dimension of oneness is science of macro vision…..and modern science is micro vision…..

    it is the micro vision great scientist Stephen Hawking is talking….in
    The grand design…….

    vision of two eyes merging only brings the dimension of depth….similarly God or cosmic intelligence will appear only with oneness of emotional intelligence….right brain…our soul…the eternal part…and logical intelligence….the left brain….our body…the non eternal part….

    talking with partial vision of logical intelligence….Mr. hawking
    comments is more of his own belief not the knowing….

    Science is a micro vision to know nature, religion is a macro vision to know God

    Science and religion are two ends of one chain only.

    Nature is reflection of God.

    Science is a search of reflection. Religion is a search of God.

    Religion is to know your inner cosmos. science is to know your outer cosmos.

    love all….

  2. In “The Grand Design” Stephen Hawking postulates that the M-theory may be the Holy Grail of physics…the Grand Unified Theory which Einstein had tried to formulate and later abandoned. It expands on quantum mechanics and string theories.

    In my e-book on comparative mysticism is a quote by Albert Einstein: “…most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and most radiant beauty – which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive form – this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of all religion.”

    Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity is probably the best known scientific equation. I revised it to help better understand the relationship between divine Essence (Spirit), matter (mass/energy: visible/dark) and consciousness (f(x) raised to its greatest power). Unlike the speed of light, which is a constant, there are no exact measurements for consciousness. In this hypothetical formula, basic consciousness may be of insects, to the second power of animals and to the third power the rational mind of humans. The fourth power is suprarational consciousness of mystics, when they intuit the divine essence in perceived matter. This was a convenient analogy, but there cannot be a divine formula.

  3. Philosophy is dead. Is Logic dead also?

    “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.”
    – Stephen Hawking in “The Grand Design”
    “As recent advances in cosmology suggest, the laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universes to appear spontaneously from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”
    – Stephen Hawking, Ibid

    Here three questions can be asked:
    1) Which one came first, universe, or laws of gravity and quantum theory?
    2) If the universe came first, then how was there spontaneous creation without the laws of gravity and quantum theory?
    3) If the laws of gravity and quantum theory came first, then Hawking has merely substituted God with quantum theory and laws of gravity. These two together can be called Hawking’s “Unconscious God”. Therefore we can legitimately ask the question: Who, or what, created Hawking’s unconscious God?
    Not only this, but there are other problems also. If the laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universes spontaneously appearing from nothing, then initially there was nothing. Then wherefrom appear those laws of gravity and quantum theory to allow universes appearing spontaneously from nothing? In which container were those two laws of nature?
    Now regarding the M-theory: I have already written something on multiverse theory (not yet published anywhere). There I have come to the conclusion that if there are an infinite number of universes, then only within that infinite number of universes there will certainly be at least one universe in which life will emerge. If the number of universes is only 10 to the power 500, then it is very much unlikely that any one of them will support life, because no universe will know which set of values the other universes have already taken, and if everything is left on chance, then there is every probability that all the universes will take only those set of values that will not support life. There will be no mechanism that will prevent any universe from taking the same set of values that have already been taken by other universes. There will be no mechanism that will take an overview of all the universes already generated, and seeing that in none of them life has actually emerged will move the things in such a way that at least one universe going to be generated afterwards will definitely get the value of the parameters just right for the emergence of life. Only in case of an infinite number of universes this problem will not be there. This is because if we subtract 10 to the power 500 from infinity, then also we will get infinity. If we subtract infinity from infinity, still then we will be left with infinity. So we are always left with an infinite number of universes out of which in at least one universe life will definitely emerge. Therefore if M-theory shows that it can possibly have 10 to the power 500 number of solutions, and that thus there might be 10 to the power 500 number of universes in each of which physical laws would be different, then it is really a poor theory, because it cannot give us any assurance that life will certainly emerge in at least one universe. So instead of M-theory we need another theory that will actually have an infinite number of solutions.
    Now the next question to be pondered is this: How did the scientists come to know that an entire universe could come out of nothing? Or, how did they come to know that anything at all could come out of nothing? Were they present at that moment when the universe was being born? As that was not the case at all, therefore they did not get that idea being present at the creation event. Rather they got this idea being present here on this very earth. They have created a vacuum artificially, and then they have observed that virtual particles (electron-positron pairs) are still appearing spontaneously out of that vacuum and then disappearing again. From that observation they have first speculated, and then ultimately theorized, that an entire universe could also come out of nothing. But here their entire logic is flawed. These scientists are all born and brought up within the Christian tradition. Maybe they have downright rejected the Christian world-view, but they cannot say that they are all ignorant of that world-view. According to that world-view God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. So as per Christian belief-system, and not only as per Christian belief-system, but as per other belief-systems also, God is everywhere. So when these scientists are saying that the void is a real void, God is already dead and non-existent for them. But these scientists know very well that non-existence of God will not be finally established until and unless it is shown that the origin of the universe can also be explained without invoking God. Creation event is the ultimate event where God will have to be made redundant, and if that can be done successfully then that will prove beyond any reasonable doubt that God does not exist. So how have they accomplished that job, the job of making God redundant in case of creation event? These were the steps:
    1) God is non-existent, and so, the void is a real void. Without the pre-supposition that God does not exist, it cannot be concluded that the void is a real void.
    2) As virtual particles can come out of the void, so also the entire universe. Our universe has actually originated from the void due to a quantum fluctuation in it.
    3) This shows that God was not necessary to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going, as because there was no creation event.
    4) This further shows that God does not exist.
    So here what is to be proved has been proved based on the assumption that it has already been proved. Philosophy is already dead for these scientists. Is it that logic is also dead for them?

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