Nichole Lynn Freeman-A Briefer History of Time

Author of Book: Stephen Hawking
Date Read: July 31, 2023

Book Report

Book Report #1- A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking

The most extraordinary and interesting concepts to me are the universe and the cosmos that we live in and are a part of. When I ponder space and time, I can easily become mind-boggling. That is why I chose Stephen Hawking’s “A Briefer History of Time.” It touches on many of my questions with explanations. He clarifies our evolving picture of the universe, explains relativity, guides the reader through curved space, and teaches about wormholes and time travel. The book itself was enlightening, to say the least, and I loved it.
According to the book our picture of the universe has changed over time. Many people throughout history were convinced the world was flat. The first modern astronomy can be traced to around 340 B.C., to the Greek philosopher Aristotle. He wrote the book “On the Heavens.” In the book, he argues that if the earth was flat, a ship approaching the horizon would first appear small and then grow larger. Instead, you first see the sail and then the ship rises up into view, which is proof that the earth curves and is indeed a ball. Aristotle was correct but not about where the earth was located in the solar system. He thought the sun and planets revolved around a stationary earth. The correct model was proposed in 1514 by a Polish priest named Nicolaus Copernicus. His idea was that the sun is stationary and all planets in the solar system revolve around it. This change marked the beginning of our modern scientific view of the universe.
Another interesting chapter was about the speed of light and relativity. The finite speed of light was first discovered in 1676 by Danish astronomer Ole Christensen Roemer. He was able to observe that the speed of light was finite by the eclipses of Jupiter’s moons. They would appear at regular intervals like the tick of a clock. I remember back at home I used to always look up YouTube videos on Einstein. I was enchanted by his ideas of relativity. I was excited to find the theory of relativity in this book. According to the theory of relativity, although they may disagree, every observer’s measurement of an object’s speed is valid. It all just depends on where you are, and where your clock is in relativity.
The best part of the book was what I learned about time travel. According to Hawking, time travel is more than just an idea of science fiction. It is science fact. Relativity shows that it is actually possible to create a “machine” that would propel you further forward in time. It is currently a lack of technology and engineering that prevents it. It may be possible in the future- if we could create a vessel that could travel at the speed of light.
The four dimensions of space-time are a concept I hope to one day fully understand. Reading these books will help me reach that goal. I am ever thirsty for more knowledge and can’t wait to find more books like this.