The Universe in a Nutshell

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Stephen Hawking

Narrated By: Simon Prebble

Publisher: Random House (Audio)

Date: November 2001

Duration: 3 hours 28 minutes


Stephen Hawking’s phenomenal, multimillion-copy bestseller, A Brief History of Time, introduced the ideas of this brilliant theoretical physicist to readers all over the world.

Now, in a major publishing event, Hawking returns with a lavishly illustrated sequel that unravels the mysteries of the major breakthroughs that have occurred in the years since the release of his acclaimed first book.

The Universe in a Nutshell

• Quantum mechanics
• M-theory
• General relativity
• 11-dimensional supergravity
• 10-dimensional membranes
• Superstrings
• P-branes
• Black holes

One of the most influential thinkers of our time, Stephen Hawking is an intellectual icon, known not only for the adventurousness of his ideas but for the clarity and wit with which he expresses them. In this new book Hawking takes us to the cutting edge of theoretical physics, where truth is often stranger than fiction, to explain in laymen’s terms the principles that control our universe.

Like many in the community of theoretical physicists, Professor Hawking is seeking to uncover the grail of science — the elusive Theory of Everything that lies at the heart of the cosmos. In his accessible and often playful style, he guides us on his search to uncover the secrets of the universe — from supergravity to supersymmetry, from quantum theory to M-theory, from holography to duality.

He takes us to the wild frontiers of science, where superstring theory and p-branes may hold the final clue to the puzzle. And he lets us behind the scenes of one of his most exciting intellectual adventures as he seeks “to combine Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity and Richard Feynman’s idea of multiple histories into one complete unified theory that will describe everything that happens in the universe.”

With characteristic exuberance, Professor Hawking invites us to be fellow travelers on this extraordinary voyage through space-time. Copious four-color illustrations help clarify this journey into a surreal wonderland where particles, sheets, and strings move in eleven dimensions; where black holes evaporate and disappear, taking their secret with them; and where the original cosmic seed from which our own universe sprang was a tiny nut.

The Universe in a Nutshell is essential reading for all of us who want to understand the universe in which we live. Like its companion volume, A Brief History of Time, it conveys the excitement felt within the scientific community as the secrets of the cosmos reveal themselves.


  • Anonymous

    As several people have said, "I following the larger picture he was trying to paint and tying it all together."

  • Anonymous

    This was an interesting listen for me but I can image if you are not a big fan of physics you might not get past CD 1. I learned a few new things.

  • JeffB

    The book is well narrated and for the most part flows well. One needs to be very open and accepting of the science presented in order to stay interested. The first topic explains that the speed of light is the same for all observers. Hawking states that even though this seems strange, it has been observed by many experiments and is well accepted in the science community. Well, it seems more than a little strange to me and I am just not so willing to accept it. Out of this premise, the science then leads to the curvature of space and time. Again I am not prepared to accept that time is curved. I like to think of time as linear and essentially orthogonal to all the science presented. Curved time leads to discussing if there is a beginning of time. From here the topics proceed to get more and more "out there". I eventually lost interest. If I could be more accepting of the initial premises, then this might be a great book.

  • Anonymous

    I liked the first book a lot better. This book was a lot of theory and concepts beyond my interests. Didn't learn much.

  • Anonymous

    A very engaging reader, and a well written book made me welcome the traffic jams for extra "reading time".