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
Main selection of the Library of Astronomy Book Club