Science over Sex

The downside of my celebrity is that I cannot go anywhere in the world without being recognized. It is not enough for me to wear dark sunglasses and a wig. The wheelchair gives me away.
Stephen Hawking was born on this day in 1942, the statement above from a birthday interview in 2007. Hawking’s recent My Brief History shows that he is willing to accommodate the widespread interest in his personal life, and his Foreword to the most recent edition of A Brief History of Time shows that he continues to be amused by his pop-star status:
I don’t think anyone, my publishers, my agent, or myself, expected the book to do anything like as well as it did. It was in the London Sunday Times best-seller list for 237 weeks, longer than any other book (apparently, the Bible and Shakespeare aren’t counted). It has been translated into something like forty languages and has sold about one copy for every 750 men, women and children in the world. As Nathan Myhrvold of Microsoft (a former post-doc of mine) remarked: I have sold more books on physics than Madonna has on sex.


Daybook is contributed by Steve King, who teaches in the English Department of Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland. His literary daybook began as a radio series syndicated nationally in Canada. He can be found online at todayinliterature.com.

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