The Grand Design
“Why do we exist?”
“Why is there a universe? In fact, why is there something instead of nothing?”
These questions, which usually give meaning to the lives of philosophers, are now answered by one of mankind’s greatest physicists, Stephen Hawking. Stephen, along with Leonard Mlodinow, presents a wonderful narration of our attempt in understanding the concept of our very own existence.
The Grand Design starts by chronicling mankind’s initial attempts at trying to understand the world around. Thales, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and many other great Greek philosophers and scientists are introduced to the reader along with the ideas and intellectual debates that they engaged in. Thales, the book says, was the first to come up with the idea that the world around us can be ‘comprehended’ and broken down into simpler rules.
Newton, Feynman, Einstein, Planck, Kepler and many more illustrious names that you might faintly remember from your school days make a comeback in this book – explaining with much more clarity about what they really did in the pursuit of science and physics.
The book does not require you to know any high-level science or physics. In fact, you don’t even need to know the relativity theory (which, I must confess, is something I have been continually grappling with ever since I came to know of it). So, yeah, doesn’t matter if you are into science/physics or not. All you need to have inside you is the curiosity to know more about our existence. About whether the entire shebang needed a grand designer (whom many of us call God) or is it that some simple universal laws suffice to bring us to where we are.
A macroscopic view of the universe and God is provided by a detailed microscopic analysis of sub-atomic particles. Leave it to Hawking to take you through this wonderful journey of photons, atoms, electrons, quarks, uncertain bosons, burning stars, massive black holes, whirling galaxies and the unimitable universes.
At the end, you will perhaps thank God for creating everything that Hawking talks about. Or you might thank physics for not needing God as a hypothesis. Either way, this Grand Design which we are a part of, is something we all should try to understand. That, in a way, would be the least form of gratitude we can show to this marvellous canvas on which we sit pretty, albeit temporarily.