Earlier this month, physicist Stephen Hawking made headlines when some of the theories from his new book, The Grand Design, were made public. Hawking has tackled one of the most basic questions in human history: How did we get here? He presents the argument that the universe began more or less spontaneously, without divine intervention or direction. Hawking also explores "M-theory," the still-evolving idea that our universe is simply one in a series, dispersed among different dimensions. Mind-boggling enough, but wait until you get to the part where he explains that each of these universes is a slightly different variation of ours, taking place somewhere beyond our perception.
Since he became a household name over two decades ago, Hawking has never shied away from controversy or slowed down in his pursuit of scientific knowledge. He's made physics accessible to millions and won international awards for his research, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. If you managed to get through A Brief History of Time (or even if you didn't and it's still sitting unopened on your coffee table), this is a more philosophical partner to that ground-breaking book, written for readers with curious minds who just may not happen to have a PhD in physics. The Grand Design is brilliant, shocking, and thought-provoking...believe it or not.