The nature of space and time

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Princeton University Press,
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Einstein said that the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible. But was he right? Can the quantum theory of fields and Einstein's general theory of relativity, the two most accurate and successful theories in all of physics, be united in a single quantum theory of gravity? Can quantum and cosmos ever be combined? On this issue, two of the world's most famous physicists--Stephen Hawking ( A Brief History of Time ) and Roger Penrose ( The Emperor's New Mind and Shadows of the Mind )--disagree. Here they explain their positions in a work based on six lectures with a final debate, all originally presented at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge.

How could quantum gravity, a theory that could explain the earlier moments of the big bang and the physics of the enigmatic objects known as black holes, be constructed? Why does our patch of the universe look just as Einstein predicted, with no hint of quantum effects in sight? What strange quantum processes can cause black holes to evaporate, and what happens to all the information that they swallow? Why does time go forward, not backward?

In this book, the two opponents touch on all these questions. Penrose, like Einstein, refuses to believe that quantum mechanics is a final theory. Hawking thinks otherwise, and argues that general relativity simply cannot account for how the universe began. Only a quantum theory of gravity, coupled with the no-boundary hypothesis, can ever hope to explain adequately what little we can observe about our universe. Penrose, playing the realist to Hawking's positivist, thinks that the universe is unbounded and will expand forever. The universe can be understood, he argues, in terms of the geometry of light cones, the compression and distortion of spacetime, and by the use of twistor theory. With the final debate, the reader will come to realize how much Hawking and Penrose diverge in their opinions of the ultimate quest to combine quantum mechanics and relativity, and how differently they have tried to comprehend the incomprehensible.

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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID 6e64b89e-88fe-8ceb-a371-f91011c7480e
Grouping Title nature of space and time
Grouping Author hawking stephen
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2019-02-09 04:24:16AM
Last Indexed 2019-03-26 04:43:03AM

Solr Details

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auth_author2 Penrose, Roger.
author Hawking, Stephen, 1942-2018.
author2-role Penrose, Roger.
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owning_location_santafe Main Library, Oliver La Farge Branch
primary_isbn 9780691145709
publishDate 1996, 2010
record_details ils:.b11484305|Book|Books||English|Princeton University Press,|c1996.|viii, 141 p. : ill. ; 24 cm., ils:.b14342832|Book|Books|[New ed.] /|English|Princeton University Press,|2010, c1996.|viii, 145 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
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series Isaac Newton Institute series of lectures, Princeton science library
series_with_volume Isaac Newton Institute series of lectures|, Princeton science library|
subject_facet Astrophysics, Cosmology, Quantum theory, Space and time
title_display The nature of space and time
title_full The nature of space and time / Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose
title_short The nature of space and time
topic_facet Astrophysics, Cosmology, Quantum theory, Space and time