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The Nature of Space and Time
Stephen Hawking & Roger Penrose
With a new afterword by the authors

One of Princeton University Press's Notable Centenary Titles.

Paperback | 2015 | $14.95 | £12.95 | ISBN: 9780691168449
160 pp. | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | 75 line illus.
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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 into a single quantum theory of gravity? Can quantum and cosmos ever be combined? In The Nature of Space and Time, two of the world’s most famous physicists—Stephen Hawking (A Brief History of Time) and Roger Penrose (The Road to Reality)—debate these questions.

The authors outline how their positions have further diverged on a number of key issues, including the spatial geometry of the universe, inflationary versus cyclic theories of the cosmos, and the black-hole information-loss paradox. Though much progress has been made, Hawking and Penrose stress that physicists still have further to go in their quest for a quantum theory of gravity.

Stephen Hawking is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics Emeritus at the University of Cambridge. Roger Penrose is the Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics Emeritus at the University of Oxford.


"This elegant little volume provides a clear account of two approaches to some of the greatest unsolved problems of gravitation and cosmology."--John Barrow, New Scientist

"A debate between Hawking and Penrose . . . raises the reader's expectations of a lively interaction, and this is fully bourne in the transcribed discussion. . . . Hawking's effervescent sense of humour frequently enlivens the text."--Joseph Silk, Times Higher Education

Praise for Princeton's previous editions:: "If there were such a thing as the World Professional Heavyweight Theory Debating Society, this would be the title bout."--Christopher Dornan, Toronto Globe & Mail

Praise for Princeton's previous editions: "This is a very courteous and intellectually stimulating exchange between two first-rate minds."--Library Journal

Praise for Princeton's previous editions: "This is an interesting book to read now, but it promises to become an even more interesting book for future generations of physicists."--Robert M. Wald, Science

Praise for Princeton's previous editions: "As well as providing an accurate scientific record of the lectures, the text has lost none of the drama of the original occasion, which stemmed from the almost antithetical views of the two protagonists on almost everything except the classical theory of general relativity."--Gary Gibbons, Physics World

Praise for Princeton's previous editions: "I found great satisfaction and not inconsiderable benefit from my efforts. . . . The clarity and brilliance of Hawking's logic would break through in simple straightforward terms. . . . This provided a real thrill."--Lucy Horwitz, Boston Book Review

Table of Contents:

Foreword by Michael Atiyah vii
Acknowledgments ix
CHAPTER ONE Classical Theory, Stephen Hawking 3
CHAPTER TWO Structure of Spacetime Singularities, Roger Penrose 27
CHAPTER THREE Quantum Black Holes, Stephen Hawking 37
CHAPTER FOUR Quantum Theory and Spacetime, Roger Penrose 61
CHAPTER FIVE Quantum Cosmololgy, Stephen Hawking 75
CHAPTER SIX The Twistor View of Spacetime, Roger Penrose 105
CHAPTER SEVEN The Debate, Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose 121
AFTERWORD TO THE 2010 EDITION The Debate Continues, Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose 139
References 143

Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Roger Penrose:


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Main selection of the Library of Astronomy Book Club

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