A Brief History of Time

A Brief History of Time

by

Stephen Hawking

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on A Brief History of Time can help.

Stephen Hawking Character Analysis

The author and narrator of the book, Hawking often appears as an active character given his vital role in the progress of modern physics. He took on a PhD despite his diagnosis of Lou Gehrig’s disease, choosing in 1965 to apply Roger Penrose’s ideas on black hole singularities to create theories about the big bang. From there, he tackled questions about the large-scale structure of the universe, as well as the workings of the tiniest particles science has yet discovered. Overall, his aim was to help humanity to one day find a unified theory of everything and help the lay person to understand it, so that we might understand the mind of God. Hawking admires humanity’s quest for knowledge and makes examples of those who have stood in the way, including himself.

Stephen Hawking Quotes in A Brief History of Time

The A Brief History of Time quotes below are all either spoken by Stephen Hawking or refer to Stephen Hawking . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Search for a Unifying Theory of the Universe Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bantam edition of A Brief History of Time published in 1988.
Chapter 7 Quotes

[…] one evening in November that year, shortly after the birth of my daughter, Lucy, I started to think about black holes as I was getting into bed. My disability makes this rather a slow process, so I had plenty of time.

Related Characters: Stephen Hawking
Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile
Get the entire A Brief History of Time LitChart as a printable PDF.
A brief history of time.pdf.medium

Stephen Hawking Character Timeline in A Brief History of Time

The timeline below shows where the character Stephen Hawking appears in A Brief History of Time. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Hawking presents a figure showing time in years on the upward axis and distance in miles... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
...and possibly finite, with a beginning and an end. This was the start for Stephen Hawking's own work in theoretical physics, and later he showed with Roger Penrose that Einstein's general... (full context)
Chapter 3
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
...singularities, in this case, black holes. While Penrose only talked about stars, a young Stephen Hawking saw the relevance this had for the big bang theory. After surviving longer than expected... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Over the millennia, our understanding has changed significantly. Penrose and Hawking’s work showed that Einstein’s general theory of relativity is only a partial theory. It breaks... (full context)
Chapter 6
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Penrose and Hawking showed in the late 1960s that there must be a singularity of infinite density and... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
...of symmetry, its size and shape depend only on its mass and rate of rotation. Hawking helped to prove this for stationary rotating black holes. David Robinson later used their work... (full context)
Chapter 7
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Before 1970, Hawking’s work mainly focused on the big bang. Around the time of his daughter’s birth, he... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
This non-decreasing nature of black holes determines much of their behavior. Penrose agreed with Hawking, and they determined a black hole’s area could be determined by its event horizon. This... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
...have a temperature, meaning it must emit radiation—but black holes aren’t meant to emit anything. Hawking, Carter, and Jim Bardeen wrote a paper in 1972 to challenge Bekenstein’s finding. Hawking partially... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
Hawking went to Moscow in 1973, where he met Yakov Zeldovich and Alexander Starobinsky. They convinced... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
Hawking finally came round to the idea because the spectrum of radiation emitted would be the... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
...the first significant example of general relativity and quantum theory combining. John G. Taylor opposed Hawking when he announced these discoveries. But in the end, everyone agreed that if these two... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
...small, it will simply disappear. Quantum theory seemed to undermine the idea of singularities, and Hawking’s work turned in that direction in the late 70s, focusing on Feynman’s sum over histories. (full context)
Chapter 8
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
Hawking’s interest in the origin and fate of the universe reawakened while at a conference in... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
...different rates. He said these bubbles would eventually all join up. But many people, including Hawking, pointed out they’d be moving too fast to join up. At a lecture in Moscow... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
Hawking first put forward this idea at the Vatican conference, but its implications for a beginning... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
It seems, there might be no singularities in imaginary time, undoing Hawking’s earlier work. But, singularity theories showed gravity to be so powerful at these points that... (full context)
Chapter 9
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Hawking suggests the no boundary universe model and the weak anthropic principle explain why these three... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
But a colleague Don Page pointed out to Hawking the contraction phase did not have to be the time reverse in the no boundary... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
Hawking had to admit his mistake. When Eddington opposed black holes, he did so because he... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Hawking wondered, if disorder always increases, and the psychological arrow follows the thermodynamic one, then why... (full context)
Chapter 11
The Search for a Unifying Theory of the Universe Theme Icon
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Hawking suggests there might not be one single formula to the unifying theory, just as Gödel... (full context)