"This lecture is about whether we can predict the future, or whether it is arbitrary and random. In ancient times, the world must have seemed pretty arbitrary. Disasters such as floods or diseases must have seemed to happen without warning or apparen t reason. Primitive people attributed such natural phenomena, to a pantheon of gods and goddesses, who behaved in a capricious and whimsical way. There was no way to predict what they would do, and the only hope was to win favour by gifts or actions."
Sometimes, to laymen theoretical physics can seem as mercurial and trend-following as high fashion. That's where Stephen Hawking steps in. Since the publication of A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME (1988), the longtime Oxford professor has been finding ways to explain these complex and ever-changing theories. Here, working with physicist Leonard Mlodinow, Hawking delivers another bang-up book with GRAND DESIGN, in which the authors attempt to clarify one of the most fundamental and puzzling questions-how did are universe begin. Examining M-theory, string theory, parallel universes, quantum theory, and other ideas in chatty yet informative prose, GRAND DESIGN takes a quick tour of the history of the development of these crazy ideas and then synthesizes the questions and possible solutions that lie in the gray matter between science, philosophy, and the imagination.