Book Review: The Illustrated Theory of Everything by Stephen W. Hawking

by DerdriuMarriner

The Illustrated Theory of Everything by Stephen W. Hawking considers the origin and fate of the universe through seven lectures on our contracting, expanding, or steady universe.

No one theory explains how nature operates everywhere

Theoretical physicist Stephen W. Hawking (born January 8, 1942) approaches the origin and fate of the universe in The Illustrated Theory of Everything, previously published as The Cambridge Lectures: Life Works.

He brings seven lectures to the scientific writing table.
The septet concentrates upon:
• scientific thought addressing universe-finite or universe-infinite space and time;
• Sir Isaac Newton (January 4, 1643 – March 31, 1727) and Dr. Albert Einstein (March 14, 1870 – April 18, 1955) respectively articulating gravity and relativity theories;
• stars collapsing into black holes of gravity-held light;
• stars energy-leaking out of holes;
• surfaces and times mirroring Earth's;
• time reversing in collapsing holes and universes; and
• universes role-modeling the how, when, where, and why of human, spatial, temporal existence.




Geocentric universe of Aristotle and Ptolemy, with orbits of Moon, Sun and five planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn) circling around Earth:

Outermost text reads: celum empireum habitaculum dei et omnium electorum (heavenly empire, dwelling of God and all the selected)
Bartolomeu Velho, Cosmographia (Paris, 1568)
Bartolomeu Velho, Cosmographia (Paris, 1568)

Observation of runaways in all directions favors Creation


Lecture #1 describes:

  • Aristotle’s (384 B.C.E. – 322 B.C.E.) and Ptolemy’s (A.D. 90 – A.D. 168) Earth-centered universe;
  • Nicolaus Copernicus’s (February 19, 1473 – May 24, 1543), Johannes Kepler’s (December 27, 1571 – November 15, 1630), and Galileo Galilei’s (February 15, 1564 – January 8, 1642) sun-centered universe; and
  • Sir Isaac Newton’s gravity-tethered planets.

Lecture #2 elaborates:

  • Alexander Friedmann’s (June 16, 1888 – September 16, 1925) big-banged, big-crunched, big-ripped universes;
  • Edwin Hubble’s (November 20, 1889 – September 28, 1953) far-off, fast-moving, red-shifted galaxies; and
  • Arno Penzias’s (born April 26, 1933) and Robert Wilson’s (born January 10, 1936) background-radiating, omni-directional microwaves varying 1 part in 10,000.

Lectures #3-4 follow Stephen’s and Sir Roger Penrose’s (born August 8, 1931) black hole big-banging an expanding universe. 


Collaboration between Stephen Hawking and Sir Roger Penrose (born 8 August 1931) have transformed modern understanding of the universe, especially of black holes ~

black hole in front of Large Magellanic Cloud, with Cloud's image distorted by gravitational lensing, known as the Einstein Ring
simulation of black hole in front of Large Magellanic Cloud
simulation of black hole in front of Large Magellanic Cloud

Past goes back and forth near black holes


Lecture #5 guides readers through the life cycles and expectancies of a 10,000,000,000- to 20,000,000,000-year-old universe:

  • containing such collapsed and collapsing non-planets as black dwarfdom-headed white dwarfs, energy-leaking black holes, pulsating neutron stars, and radio wave-emitting quasi-stars;
  • expanding by 5 – 10% every 1,000,000,000 years; and
  • representing 1/10 and 1/100 the mass necessary to stop expansion if firstly dark plus visible matter and secondly only observable matter respectively are considered.

Lecture #6 handles the problem of imaginary time in the universe and real time among Earthlings. Imaginary time is amenable to movements backward (particularly near black hole horizons) and forward whereas the real time supportive of one-dimensioned time, three-dimensioned space runs only from past, through present, into future. 


Multiplicity of dimensions may baffle imaginations: Stephen Hawking easily conceives of 11 dimensions.

image of a two-dimensional hypersurface of the quintic Calabi-Yau three-fold
image of a two-dimensional hypersurface of the quintic Calabi-Yau three-fold

Questions all get answered provisionally by string theory


Lecture #7 judges as critical in theory unification:

  • dark/visible matter;
  • gravity-tethered bodies;
  • line-/wave-strings;
  • particles.

It keeps under consideration 10- or 26-dimensional space-time. String theory leads the way. Stephen manages thinking along 11 dimensions! 

So The Illustrated Theory of Everything nurtures culturally enriching, educationally entertaining, geo-spatially enthralling insights into the origin and fate of the universe with:

  • Greg Bacon, Dana Berry, Wolfgang Brandner, S. Brown, K. Cordes, Simon Driver, Don Figer, Karl Gebhardt, Eva K. Grebel, Bill Keel, Jon Lomberg, H. Richer, Sheila Terry, D. Wang, Rogier Windhorst, photographers;
  • Kerry DeAngelis, KL Design book designer;
  • Aimee Dow, project editor;
  • Stephen Edelman, cover designer;
  • Rob Fiore, illustration ideator;
  • Stephen Hawking, author;
  • New Millennium Press, publisher; and
  • A. Schaller, artist. 


The Illustrated Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe by Stephen W. Hawking ~ Kindle, hardcover, and paperback editions ~ available via Amazon

Stephen W. Hawking is widely believed to be one of the world’s greatest minds: a brilliant theoretical physicist whose work helped to reconfigure models of the universe and to redefine what’s in it.
Stephen Hawking writings

Acknowledgment: Reality has causes and reasons for birthing universes


My special thanks to:

  • Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources. 


Stephen Hawking enjoys zero gravity during flight onboard Boeing 727 aircraft owned by Zero Gravity Corporation:

Peter Diamandis (right), Zero G Corp founder, and Byron Lichtenberg (left), formerly shuttle payload specialist, now Zero G Corp president, aerially rotate Stephen Hawking, while Stephen's aide Nicola O'Brien spells.
Photo credit: Jim Campbell, Aero-News Network; for release on 04/26/2007
Photo credit: Jim Campbell, Aero-News Network; for release on 04/26/2007

Sources Consulted: Space-time indicates nothing about big-banged cycles and precedents


Hawking, Stephen W. 2003. The Illustrated Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe. Beverly Hills, CA: New Millennium Press. 


Black holes have beguiled such astrophysical geniuses as Albert Einstein and Stephen W. Hawking:

visualization of Einstein's general theory of relativity: simulation of three-dimensional merging black holes by crunching Einstein's theory into NASA supercomputer as largest astrophysical calculation ever performed on NASA supercomputer
Columbia supercomputer, NASA Ames Research Center
Columbia supercomputer, NASA Ames Research Center
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

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A Stellar Black Hole Emits Streams of Plasma from its Event Horizon ~ premium giclée print ~ available via AllPosters

A Stellar Black Hole Emits Streams of Plasma from its Event Horizon

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Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 07/06/2015, DerdriuMarriner
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


DerdriuMarriner on 07/27/2015

CruiseReady, All of Stephen Hawking's books are worth having on the shelves. He knows how to write for all levels of familiarity and non-familiarity. They generally average 150+ pages of comprehensible examples and understandable explanations by the world's most eminent astrophysicist on black holes, neutron stars, and quasars.

CruiseReady on 07/24/2015

Hmmm ,,, Now, I am thinking that this book needs to be added to my library. Or more accurately, that my library needs to have this book added to it!

DerdriuMarriner on 05/23/2015

MBC, The book is definitely worth reading. Stephen Hawking's amiable personality comes through via his engaging style.

MBC on 05/23/2015

I saw the movie the Theory of Everything - it was fantastic! I'm sure the book is worth reading.

DerdriuMarriner on 04/06/2015

Mira, It's admirable that Stephen Hawking is willing to revise in favor of clarity and to correct errors in theory. I have read so many of his writings, and all of them are enlightening. I recommend this book!

Mira on 04/06/2015

I may read this book, too, even though apparently after writing this book he changed his views . . . again! :) Still, it would be interesting even as an exercise. It's amazing how we live on a tiny planet in this whole (mostly) unknown and poorly understood universe.

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