A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
First published in 1987
Non-fiction – physics
A long, long time ago, before I became a humanities student at university, I loved science. I adored physics in high school. Gravity, electromagnetic fields, laws of warmth – I devoured all subjects and was well-versed in the language of equations. I joined an extra-curricular science class, and visited the hadron collider in CERN. But physics disappeared from my life when I choose to pursue my dream of entering the literary field.
A Brief History of Time reminds me of why I frigging love physics. Hawking has an incredible love for his field, which penetrates every word he writes. Our understanding of the universe has boomed in the last fifty years, and A Brief History of Time gives a short overview of all modes of thought up until the time it was written.
What is fascinating to me is how reality is stranger than science-fiction writers think up. Especially the concepts of relativity and quantum mechanics are incredibly hard to wrap your mind around, and modern science is almost complete hocus-pocus for a lay person.
I don’t think it’s possible for someone without a background in science to understand A Brief History of Time. It probably all makes sense for Hawking himself, but for an ordinary person he might as well be speaking a foreign language. I understood about one third of everything he explains here, and that’s only because I have followed classes on relativity and quantum mechanics for a year. Even in its incomprehensibleness, A Brief History of Time is utterly fascinating.