Books : reviews

Stephen W. Hawking, George F. R. Ellis.
The Large Scale Structure of Space-time.

p4. While we expect that most of our readers will have some acquaintance with General Relativity, we have endeavoured to write this book so that it is self-contained apart from requiring knowledge of simple calculus, algebra, and point set topology.

Stephen W. Hawking.
A Brief History of Time: from the Big Bang to black holes.
Guild. 1988

rating : 3 : worth reading

p1. A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: "What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise." The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, "What is the tortoise standing on?" "You're very clever, young man, very clever," said the old lady. "But it's turtles all the way down!"

[A fuller account of the origin of "turtles all the way down" can be found in Wikipedia (naturally)]