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(Landsberg, Peter) Hawking, Stephen W. | A Brief History of Time

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  • First edition, the corrected second printing of this landmark popular work on the quest for the Grand Unified Theory. From the library of physicist Peter Landsberg, with his ownership signature, notes and highlighting, and letter to him loosely inserted.

    Peter Landsberg (1922-2010), was a German Jewish refugee to Britain who earned his PhD in quantum mechanics at Imperial College London in 1949 and joined the faculties of the Universities of Cardiff and Southampton. “Landsberg was not solely interested in one branch of physics, he was interested in physics in general and this boyish enthusiasm took his research to all areas of theoretical work”, among them the quantum phenomenon known as bose condensation, the relationship between quantum mechanics and living things, thermodynamics, cosmology, and applications of solar energy. He is best known for his explication of “Landsberg efficiency”, the theoretical limits on how much solar power can be converted to electricity in a given situation (obituary in The Scotsman, May 23, 2010).

    Landsberg has made numerous short notes — often page number references — and underlined a number of passages, primarily in chapters 8: The Origin and Fate of the Universe and 9: The Arrow of Time, that deal with thermodynamics and the inflationary model of the universe. Loosely inserted is a typed letter signed to Landsberg from Canon Robert Winnett (1910-1989), to whom the book had been loaned, and who writes that it conveyed to him “a sense of the infinite mystery of the universe, and of unplumbed depths still to be explored, an attitude which is surely akin to the religious”. He goes on the discuss how scientific ideas about the origin of the universe might align with Christianity and other religions, ending with the thought that “we are dealing with probabilities rather than certainties... The origins of religion lie in dimensions of human experience other than the scientific, and any cosmological theory can be interpreted theistically, or if we will, atheistically”.

  • ...From the Big Bang to Black Holes. Introduction by Carl Sagan. Illustrations by Ron Miller. New York: Bantam Books, 1988.

    Octavo. Original black quarter cloth, dark grey boards, title to spine in silver, Hawking’s monogram to upper board in blind. With the dust jacket. Illustrations throughout the text. Binding a little rubbed and bumped. A very good copy in the rubbed and creased jacket with some bubbling of the plastic coating, especially along folds.