A Life in Science
After the runaway success of A Brief History of Time (1988), Stephen Hawking (1942–2018) became a household name; but long before taking cosmology to the general public, he was famous within scientific circles for his work at the cutting edge of theoretical physics. In this portrait, written during Hawking’s lifetime, two of our finest science writers present the story of his personal life as well as his scientific achievement.
1915 and the General Theory of Relativity
In 1915 Albert Einstein produced his masterwork, the ‘General Theory of Relativity’, which describes the evolution of the Universe, black holes, the behaviour of orbiting neutron stars, and why clocks run slower on the Earth than in space. Here, Gribbin explains the basics of the General Theory and places its genesis in the context of Einstein’s life and work.
Out of the Shadow of a Giant
How Newton Stood on the Shoulders of Hooke and Halley
Arguing that British science would not have developed very differently without Newton, the authors demonstrate his indebtedness to the achievements of his contemporaries, in particular Hooke, from whom he ‘borrowed’ many ideas, and Halley, who encouraged and paid for the publication of the Principia.
The Quest to Find the True Age of the Universe and the Theory of Everything
The two great theories of modern physics – the general theory of relativity and quantum theory – were developed independently, yet they agree precisely. But how might these theories of the very large and very small be unified in a 'Theory of Everything'? John Gribbin describes the quest for the Holy Grail of physics, from the 'prehistory' of cosmology and astrophysics in the 19th century to the latest estimate of the age of the universe (13.8 billion years), released in 2015.