On the Origin of Time

On the Origin of Time

The instant Sunday Times bestseller


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Stephen Hawking's closest collaborator offers the intellectual superstar's final thoughts on the cosmos.

One of the biggest questions Stephen Hawking tried to answer in his extraordinary life was how the universe could have created conditions so perfectly hospitable to life. But his famous theory on the Big Bang ran into a crisis when the equations predicted a multiverse - countless different universes, most of which were too bizarre to support life.

Holed away in the physics department at Cambridge, Stephen Hawking and his collaborator Thomas Hertog worked for twenty years on a new theory of the cosmos. Incredibly, as their research took them closer and closer to the Big Bang, physical laws appeared to transform and simplify until particles, forces, and even time itself melted away. This led them to a revolutionary idea: the laws of physics are not set in stone, but evolve even as the universe they govern takes shape.

Living in the Multiverse is the story of a remarkable friendship forged by the quest to understand questions bigger than our universe, peering into the extreme physics of black holes and drawing on new developments in string theory. As Hawking's final days drew near, the two collaborators published a final paper proposing a radical new perspective on the origins of our universe - a new way of thinking that challenges how we think about our place in the order of the cosmos. This book is the legacy of their journey.

© Thomas Hertog 2023 (P) Penguin Audio 2023


  • Like his mentor and colleague Stephen Hawking, Thomas Hertog has never shied away from being ambitious in theorizing about the universe. This sweeping book provides an accessible overview of both what we know about cosmology, and some audacious ideas for moving into the unknown. It is an introduction to Hawking's final theory, but also a glimpse into even grander theories yet to come.
    Professor Sean Carroll, author of The Biggest Ideas in the Universe

About the author

Thomas Hertog

Thomas Hertog is an internationally renowned cosmologist, who was for many years a close collaborator of Stephen Hawking. He received his doctorate from the University of Cambridge and is currently professor of theoretical physics at the University of Leuven, where he studies the quantum nature of the big bang. He lives with his wife and their four children in Bousval, Belgium.
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