A Brief History of Time

A Brief History of Time

by

Stephen Hawking

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Singularity Term Analysis

A singularity is a space of zero size holding an infinitely dense amount of matter. Black holes are localized singularities. The big bang starts with and the big crunch ends in a singularity. It is possible quantum mechanics will disprove singularities once the theory is successfully integrated with the theory of relativity.

Singularity Quotes in A Brief History of Time

The A Brief History of Time quotes below are all either spoken by Singularity or refer to Singularity. For each quote, you can also see the other terms 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 3 Quotes

Many people do not like the idea that time has a beginning, probably because it smacks of divine intervention. (The Catholic Church, on the other hand, seized on the big bang model and in 1951 officially pronounced it to be in accordance with the Bible.)

Related Characters: God , Alexander Friedmann
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

The hostility of other scientists, particularly Eddington, his former teacher and the leading authority on the structure of stars, persuaded Chandrasekhar to abandon this line of work […] However, when he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1983, it was […] for his early work on the limiting mass of cold stars.

Related Symbols: Nobel Prize
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:
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Singularity Term Timeline in A Brief History of Time

The timeline below shows where the term Singularity appears in A Brief History of Time. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
...infinitely dense and curved. Laws of science break down at this point. This big bang singularity means any previous events would not have any meaning to us now. In a sense,... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
...away from each other, perhaps they were simply nearby at the beginning, not in a singularity. They created many more models, and found that there were examples for both sides, retracting... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
In 1965, Roger Penrose showed that stars can collapse in on themselves to become singularities, in this case, black holes. While Penrose only talked about stars, a young Stephen Hawking... (full context)
Chapter 4
The Search for a Unifying Theory of the Universe Theme Icon
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
...Just as the idea of atoms collapsing was wrong, so too might be ideas of singularities. Scientists need to unify these two theories and already know some properties such a theory... (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 space-time curvature at the center of a black hole. This is... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
...unpredictable, probably destroying the astronaut in the process. The stronger cosmic censorship theory states the singularity is always in the astronaut’s future, as his time ends with it, so singularities are... (full context)
Chapter 7
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
...becomes really 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... (full context)
Chapter 8
The Search for a Unifying Theory of the Universe Theme Icon
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Einstein’s general relativity predicted that space-time began as a singularity in the big bang, and ends in the potential big crunch singularity when everything collapses... (full context)
The Search for a Unifying Theory of the Universe Theme Icon
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
...these questions. Its laws and all laws we have so far break down at the singularity. We cannot know what happened before the big bang. This gives the universe a boundary—the... (full context)
The Search for a Unifying Theory of the Universe Theme Icon
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
...the universe started, we need laws that hold at the beginning. General relativity relies on singularities, which involve the break down of scientific law. Really, what singularity theories show is that... (full context)
The Search for a Unifying Theory of the Universe Theme Icon
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
...boundary, like the earth’s two-dimensional surface. In this model, there would be no need for singularities, or for God. The laws of science would not break down. The universe would just... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
...then contract again as one moves on toward the South Pole. The poles are not singularities in this model, which uses imaginary time as the axis from pole to pole, though... (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... (full context)
Chapter 9
The Search for a Unifying Theory of the Universe Theme Icon
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
General relativity cannot tell us what happened at the very beginning or what happens in singularities, because there the laws of science break down. The universe might have been smooth at... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The no boundary principle does away with singularities and edges, meaning the world is finite, smooth and uniform, to the extent the uncertainty... (full context)
Chapter 12
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
...return to such a point in a big crunch. The theory also predicts other, localized singularities in black holes. The laws of science break down at these singularities, allowing room for... (full context)