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Stephen W. Hawking
The Theory of Everything:
The Origin and Fate of the Universe (1996)
A chronology of our changing views of the cosmos
"Radiation from black holes was the first example of a prediction that depended on both great theories of this century, general relativity and quantum mechanics."
"This means that the laws of physics need not breakdown at the origin of the universe. The state of the universe and its contents, like ourselves, are completely determined by the laws of physics, up to the limit set by the uncertainty principle. So much for free will."
"Our own sun contains about 2 percent of these heavier elements because it is a second or third generation star. It was formed some five thousand million years ago out of a cloud of rotating gas containing the debris of earlier supernovas."
"...a small amount of the heavier elements collected together to form the bodies that now orbit the sun as planets like the Earth."
"So long as the universe had a beginning that was a singularity, one could suppose that it was created by an outside agency. But if the universe is really completely self contained, having no boundary or edge, it would be neither created nor destroyed. It would simply be. What place then, for a creator?"
"it is forbidden by the second law of thermodynamics. This says that disorder or entropy always increases with time. In other words, it is Murphy's Law--things get worse."
"The increase of disorder or entropy with time is one example of what is called an arrow of time, something that gives direction to time and distinguishes the past from the future."
Three varieties of the arrows of time:
"...If we do discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable in broad principle by everyone, not just a few scientists. Then we shall be able to take part in the discussion of why the universe exists. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason. For then we would know the mind of God."