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The Grand Design [精装]

2012-09-18 来源:读书人网 
This may all finally explain the mystery of the universes creation without recourse to a divine creator. This is an amazingly concise, clear, and intriguing overview of where we stand when it comes to divining the secrets of the universe.
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《The Grand Design(大设计)》是亚马逊网站上最为畅销的书籍之一,2010年8月出版以来,已经连续8周以上名列排行总榜第一名,目前仍然在榜上前10名内。
《大设计》是世界伟大的思想家之一近10年间的首部巨著,一部对生命的终极诘问最新答案的卓越简明篇章。
《大设计》作者斯蒂芬?霍金曾任剑桥大学卢卡斯数学教授长达三十年,获奖无数,享誉全球。他的著作包括被视作科普经典的《时间简史》。本书被媒体誉为霍金近十年来出版的最佳作品,比其他普通作品更能激起读者对科学的热爱、对科学的探究。本书中的许多观点,已经在媒体上广为传播。
《大设计》是一本行文简洁、观点惊人、图文并茂的宇宙探索指南,将改变我们对于宇宙的理解,并威胁到我们视若珍宝的信仰体系。这将是史无前例的的惊世巨作。
Stephen Hawking on The Grand Design

How can we understand the world in which we find ourselves? Over twenty years ago I wrote A Brief History of Time, to try to explain where the universe came from, and where it is going. But that book left some important questions unanswered. Why is there a universe--why is there something rather than nothing? Why do we exist? Why are the laws of nature what they are? Did the universe need a designer and creator?

It was Einstein’s dream to discover the grand design of the universe, a single theory that explains everything. However, physicists in Einstein’s day hadn’t made enough progress in understanding the forces of nature for that to be a realistic goal. And by the time I had begun writing A Brief History of Time, there were still several key advances that had not yet been made that would prevent us from fulfilling Einstein’s dream. But in recent years the development of M-theory, the top-down approach to cosmology, and new observations such as those made by satellites like NASA’s COBE and WMAP, have brought us closer than ever to that single theory, and to being able to answer those deepest of questions. And so Leonard Mlodinow and I set out to write a sequel to A Brief History of Time to attempt to answer the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. The result is The Grand Design, the product of our four-year effort.

In The Grand Design we explain why, according to quantum theory, the cosmos does not have just a single existence, or history, but rather that every possible history of the universe exists simultaneously. We question the conventional concept of reality, posing instead a "model-dependent" theory of reality. We discuss how the laws of our particular universe are extraordinarily finely tuned so as to allow for our existence, and show why quantum theory predicts the multiverse--the idea that ours is just one of many universes that appeared spontaneously out of nothing, each with different laws of nature. And we assess M-Theory, an explanation of the laws governing the multiverse, and the only viable candidate for a complete "theory of everything." As we promise in our opening chapter, unlike the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life given in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the answer we provide in The Grand Design is not, simply, "42."

(Photo ? Philip Waterson, LBIPP, LRPS)


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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The 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? No one can make a discussion of such matters as compulsively readable as the celebrated University of Cambridge cosmologist Hawking (A Brief History of Time). Along with Caltech physicist Mlodinow (The Drunkard's Walk), Hawking deftly mixes cutting-edge physics to answer those key questions. For instance, why do we exist? Earth occupies a "Goldilocks Zone" in space: just the perfect distance from a not-too-hot star, with just the right elements to allow life to evolve. On a larger scale, in order to explain the universe, the authors write, "we need to know not only how the universe behaves, but why." While no single theory exists yet, scientists are approaching that goal with what is called "M-theory," a collection of overlapping theories (including string theory) that fill in many (but not all) the blank spots in quantum physics; this collection is known as the "Grand Unified Field Theories." This may all finally explain the mystery of the universe's creation without recourse to a divine creator. This is an amazingly concise, clear, and intriguing overview of where we stand when it comes to divining the secrets of the universe. 41 color illus. throughout, 7 b&w cartoons.
Copyright ? Reed business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist
The idea of the multiverse—that the observable universe in which we live doesn’t exist independently, apart from anything else, but is one member of an enormous collection of physically real universes—has been propagated to nonscientists by such physicist-authors as Michio Kaku (Parallel Worlds, 2004) and Leonard Susskind (The Cosmic Landscape, 2006). However laudable their popular-science efforts, Stephen Hawking’s pitch of the multiverse concept likely will reach more readers—not solely due to his world-wide fame but also because of the efficiently precise, understandable, and lightly jesting prose of Hawking and coauthor Mlodinow (also a physicist and author). Posing simple, fundamental questions such as, Why do we exist? the authors employ word pictures, analogies to everyday experience, but (blessedly) no equations to convey the physics that are involved in the answer this book ultimately offers. Sympathetically noting that quantum mechanics and general relativity remain as counterintuitive to experts as to laypeople, Hawking and Mlodinow alight on the probabilistic nature of energy and matter, frames of reference, string theory, and the incredibly finely-tuned values of physical forces and masses that permit life to exist, combining their presentations into the propositions of “M-theory” about what initiated the big bang. Repetition of the multi-mega-copy sales of A Brief History of Time (1988) can be safely predicted; expect queues in stores and libraries for Hawking’s latest parting of the veil to far-out physics. --Gilbert Taylor

媒体推荐

“The authors bring together an anecdotal clarity that is something of a first for the genre. . . . Making science like this interesting is not all that hard; making it accessible is the real trick, one that The Grand Design pulls off.”—Time

“In this short and sprightly book, Messrs. Hawking and Mlodinow take the reader through a whirlwind tour of fundamental physics and cosmology.”—The Wall Street Journal
 
“Fascinating . . . a wealth of ideas [that] leave us with a clearer understanding of modern physics in all its invigorating complexity.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“Groundbreaking.”—The Washington Post


From the Trade Paperback edition.

作者简介

作者:史蒂芬?霍金 列纳德?蒙洛迪诺

史蒂芬?霍金,任剑桥大学卢卡斯数学教授达30年之久,接受过许多奖项和荣誉,包括最近的总统自由奖章。他为大众撰写了经典的《时间简史》、《霍金讲演录》、《果壳中的宇宙》以及《时间简史(普及版)》等。他住在英国剑桥。
列纳德?蒙洛迪诺,加州理工学院的物理学家和畅销书《醉汉的脚步》、《欧几里得的窗口》和《费恩曼的彩虹》的作者。他还为《星际迷航:下一代》撰写剧本。他住在加州帕萨迪纳。
~~~~~~~Stephen Hawking was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge for thirty years, and has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors including, most recently, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His books for the general reader include the classic A Brief History of Time, Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays, The Universe in a Nutshell, and A Briefer History of Time. He lives in Cambridge, England.
 
www.hawking.org.uk
 
Leonard Mlodinow is a physicist at Caltech and the bestselling author of The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules our Lives, Euclid’s Window: The Story of Geometry from Parallel Lines to Hyperspace, and Feynman’s Rainbow: A Search for Beauty in Physics and in Life. He also wrote for Star Trek: The Next Generation. He lives in South Pasadena, California.
 
www.its.caltech.edu/~~~~~~~~len~~~~~~~

文摘

Chapter 1

We each exist for but a short time, and in that time explore but a small part of the whole universe. But humans are a curious species. We wonder, we seek answers. Living in this vast world that is by turns kind and cruel, and gazing at the immense heavens above, people have always asked a multitude of questions: How can we understand the world in which we find ourselves? How does the universe behave? What is the nature of reality? Where did all this come from? Did the universe need a creator? Most of us do not spend most of our time worrying about these questions, but almost all of us worry about them some of the time.

Traditionally these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead. Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics. Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge. The purpose of this book is to give the answers that are suggested by recent discoveries and theoretical advances. They lead us to a new picture of the universe and our place in it that is very different from the traditional one, and different even from the picture we might have painted just a decade or two ago. Still, the first sketches of the new concept can be traced back almost a century.

According to the traditional conception of the universe, objects move on well-defined paths and have definite histories. We can specify their precise position at each moment in time. Although that account is successful enough for everyday purposes, it was found in the 1920s that this "classical" picture could not account for the seemingly bizarre behavior observed on the atomic and subatomic scales of existence. Instead it was necessary to adopt a different framework, called quantum physics. Quantum theories have turned out to be remarkably accurate at predicting events on those scales, while also reproducing the predictions of the old classical theories when applied to the macroscopic world of daily life. But quantum and classical physics are based on very different conceptions of physical reality.

Quantum theories can be formulated in many different ways, but what is probably the most intuitive description was given by Richard (Dick) Feynman, a colorful character who worked at the California Institute of Technology and played the bongo drums at a strip joint down the road. According to Feynman, a system has not just one history but every possible history. As we seek our answers, we will explain Feynman's approach in detail, and employ it to explore the idea that the universe itself has no single history, nor even an independent existence. That seems like a radical idea, even to many physicists. Indeed, like many notions in today's science, it appears to violate common sense. But common sense is based upon everyday experience, not upon the universe as it is revealed through the marvels of technologies such as those that allow us to gaze deep into the atom or back to the early universe.

Until the advent of modern physics it was generally thought that all knowledge of the world could be obtained through direct observation, that things are what they seem, as perceived through our senses. But the spectacular success of modern physics, which is based upon concepts such as Feynman's that clash with everyday experience, has shown that that is not the case. The naive view of reality therefore is not compatible with modern physics. To deal with such paradoxes we shall adopt an approach that we call model-dependent realism. It is based on the idea that our brains interpret the input from our sensory organs by making a model of the world. When such a model is successful at explaining events, we tend to attribute to it, and to the elements and concepts that constitute it, the quality of reality or absolute truth. But there may be different ways in which one could model the same physical situation, with each employing different fundamental elements and concepts. If two such physical theories or models accurately predict the same events, one cannot be said to be more real than the other; rather, we are free to use whichever model is most convenient.

In the history of science we have discovered a sequence of better and better theories or models, from Plato to the classical theory of Newton to modern quantum theories. It is natural to ask: Will this sequence eventually reach an end point, an ultimate theory of the universe, that will include all forces and predict every observation we can make, or will we continue forever finding better theories, but never one that cannot be improved upon? We do not yet have a definitive answer to this question, but we now have a candidate for the ultimate theory of everything, if indeed one exists, called M- theory. M-theory is the only model that has all the properties we think the final theory ought to have, and it is the theory upon which much of our later discussion is based.

M-theory is not a theory in the usual sense. It is a whole family of different theories, each of which is a good description of observations only in some range of physical situations. It is a bit like a map. As is well known, one cannot show the whole of the earth's surface on a single map. The usual Mercator projection used for maps of the world makes areas appear larger and larger in the far north and south and doesn't cover the North and South Poles. To faithfully map the entire earth, one has to use a collection of

maps, each of which covers a limited region. The maps overlap each other, and where they do, they show the same landscape.

M-theory is similar. The different theories in the M-theory family may look very different, but they can all be regarded as aspects of the same underlying theory. They are versions of the theory that are applicable only in limited ranges-for example, when certain quantities such as energy are small. Like the overlapping maps in a Mercator projection, where the ranges of different versions overlap, they predict the same phenomena. But just as there is no flat map that is a good representation of the earth's entire surface, there is no single theory that is a good representation of observations in all situations.

We will describe how M-theory may offer answers to the question of creation. According to M-theory, ours is not the only universe. Instead, M-theory predicts that a great many universes were created out of nothing. Their creation does not require the intervention of some supernatural being or god. Rather, these multiple universes arise naturally from physical law. They are a prediction of science. Each universe has many possible histories and many possible states at later times, that is, at times like the present, long after their creation. Most of these states will be quite unlike the universe we observe and quite unsuitable for the existence of any form of life. Only a very few would allow creatures like us to exist. Thus our presence selects out from this vast array only those universes that are compatible with our existence. Although we are puny and insignificant on the scale of the cosmos, this makes us in a sense the lords of creation.

To understand the universe at the deepest level, we need to know not only how the universe behaves, but why.

Why is there something rather than nothing?

Why do we exist?

Why this particular set of laws and not some other?

This is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. We shall attempt to answer it in this book. Unlike the answer given in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, ours won't be simply "42."

2

The Rule of Law

Skoll the wolf who shall scare the Moon

Till he flies to the Wood-of-Woe:

Hati the wolf, Hridvitnir's kin,

Who shall pursue the sun.

-"Grimnismal," The Elder Edda

n Viking mythology, Skoll and Hati chase the sun and the moon. When the wolves catch either one, there is an eclipse. When this happens, the people on earth rush to rescue the sun or moon by making as much noise as they can in hopes of scaring off the wolves. There are similar myths in other cultures. But after a time people must have noticed that the sun and moon soon emerged from the eclipse regardless of whether they ran around screaming and banging on things. After a time they must also have noticed that the eclipses didn't just happen at random: They occurred in regular patterns that repeated themselves. These patterns were most obvious for eclipses of the moon and enabled the ancient Babylonians to predict lunar eclipses fairly accurately even though they didn't realize that they were caused by the earth blocking the light of the sun. Eclipses of the sun were more difficult to predict because they are visible only in a corridor on the earth about 30 miles wide. Still, once grasped, the patterns made it clear the eclipses were not dependent on the arbitrary whims of supernatural beings, but rather governed by laws.

Despite some early success predicting the motion of celestial bodies, most events in nature appeared to our ancestors to be impossible to predict. Volcanoes, earthquakes, storms, pestilences, and ingrown toenails all seemed to occur without obvious cause or pattern. In ancient times it was natural to ascribe the violent acts of nature to a pantheon of mischievous or malevolent deities. Calamities were often taken as a sign that we had somehow offended the gods. For example, in about 4800 bc the Mount Mazama volcano in Oregon erupted, raining rock and burning ash for years, and leading to the many years of rainfall that eventually filled the volcanic crater today called Crater Lake. The Klamath Indians of Oregon have a legend that faithfully matches every geologic detail of the event but adds a bit of drama by portraying a human as the cause of the catastrophe. The human capacity for guilt is such that people can always find ways to blame themselves. As the legend goes, Llao, the chief of the Below World, falls in love with the beautiful human daughter of a Klamath chief. She spurns him, and in revenge Llao tries to destroy the Klamath w...

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(作者:史蒂芬?霍金 (Stephen Hawking) 编辑:kind887)
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