The Universe in a Nutshell

universe in a nutshellThe Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking, 4/5

This book’s strengths and weaknesses balance very well with those of Hawking’s older work, A Brief History of Time, making this an excellent companion to the latter.  Where A Brief History is old and short on illustrations, The Universe in a Nutshell is updated (2001) and illustrated in a style that can only be described as luxurious.  Additional topics covered include a chapter on the future of biological and technological innovation, as well as a chapter on p-branes.

Despite these improvements, the layout of the new book feels uncomfortably disjointed for the subject matter – the meaty parts of the text are interrupted by large pictures, captions and info boxes.  I actually prefer the drier, straightforward presentation of A Brief History.  Additionally, I feel that many parts of this book are not as clearly communicated and I missed the tone of charming humility and open-mindedness that was evident in such abundance in the older version.

The illustrator’s website is definitely worth a look.

[Why I read it: I was looking for a more modern Hawking book with which to follow the aged A Brief History of Time.]

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