A Brief History of Time

A Brief History of Time


Stephen Hawking

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Themes and Colors
The Search for a Unifying Theory of the Universe Theme Icon
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in A Brief History of Time, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

The Search for a Unifying Theory of the Universe

Stephen Hawking’s central mission in A Brief History of Time is to find a unifying scientific theory that will explain the universe itself. This one definitive theory would pull together all the separate theories that scientists have already, under one set of rules that illuminates and predicts how everything in existence works. The book is a chronology of humankind’s efforts so far to determine this unifying theory, as well as ongoing work to find…

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Human Curiosity and Ingenuity

The sense of humanity’s genius arises repeatedly in Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time—not only because of the author’s own exhaustive knowledge of the universe’s inner workings, but also because of the vast array of scientists, philosophers, and even lay people whose inspired “eureka” moments have forever changed the way people perceive the world. The book ranges over millennia, covering the history of humanity’s developing comprehension of scientific principles and revealing our…

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The Danger of Stubbornness

Though human beings have always sought to understand the universe, Stephen Hawking argues in A Brief History of Time, people can also refuse to change their previous assumptions when faced with new proposals. Whether from pride, stubbornness, or dogmatic belief, even the most intelligent people have found themselves on the wrong side of scientific history, obstinately dismissing new ideas because they are intellectually, spiritually, or existentially challenging. Hawking shows that curiosity and obstinacy battle…

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Science and Religion

In A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking discusses scientific inquiry against the wider background of humanity’s search for meaning, in which religion has played a large part. While he represents religion as being increasingly confined to the corners of modern perceptions of the world, primarily occupying the spaces that science cannot yet explain, he does not distain or criticize people’s continued belief in the supernatural. Rather, he shows that people’s interest in both…

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