by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow (2010). A short and well written, (aside from the constant jokes) popular account that gives an overview of current state of Cosmology and the attempt to explain the Big Bang without invoking a personal creator. Hawking defends what he calls the no boundary condition – in essence, time is closed – that makes it meaningless to talk about anything happening prior to the Big Bang. The text reject string theory but advocates for something called M-theory that is all promissory right now. The two physicists argue that science has to give up the ancient dream of a single, consistent theory (the Grand Unified Theory) that explains everything in the universe and that leaves nothing to choice (or to arbitrary parameters). Well, maybe. But right now we have no idea and no experimental fact to back up M-theory. I was not taken by the book. They do have a very apt analogy in Conway’s Game of Life between the laws of physics and the laws of chemistry.