This reprint features a new afterword by the authors.
Einstein said that the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible. But was he right? Can the quantum theory of fields and Einstein's general theory of relativity, the two most accurate and successful theories in all of physics, be united into a single quantum theory of gravity? Can quantum and cosmos ever be combined?
In The Nature of Space and Time, two of the world's most famous physicists – Stephen Hawking (A Brief History of Time) and Roger Penrose (The Road to Reality) – debate these questions. The authors outline how their positions have further diverged on a number of key issues, including the spatial geometry of the universe, inflationary versus cyclic theories of the cosmos, and the black-hole information-loss paradox. Though much progress has been made, Hawking and Penrose stress that physicists still have further to go in their quest for a quantum theory of gravity.
"This elegant little volume provides a clear account of two approaches to some of the greatest unsolved problems of gravitation and cosmology."
– John Barrow, New Scientist
"A debate between Hawking and Penrose [...] raises the reader's expectations of a lively interaction, and this is fully bourne in the transcribed discussion [...] Hawking's effervescent sense of humour frequently enlivens the text."
– Joseph Silk, Times Higher Education
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Stephen Hawking is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics Emeritus at the University of Cambridge. Roger Penrose is the Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics Emeritus at the University of Oxford.