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Stephen Hawking has been an iconic figure in physics for the last half a century, making many groundbreaking discoveries on the nature of the universe. Yet while his mind roams to the farthest corners of reality, his body has become increasingly trapped by the advance of Lou Gehrig’s disease, which has bound him to a wheelchair, without speech or movement except for a few facial muscles. Told in his youth that he would not live past his 20s, Hawking will turn 70 in 2012, ...
Stephen Hawking has been an iconic figure in physics for the last half a century, making many groundbreaking discoveries on the nature of the universe. Yet while his mind roams to the farthest corners of reality, his body has become increasingly trapped by the advance of Lou Gehrig’s disease, which has bound him to a wheelchair, without speech or movement except for a few facial muscles. Told in his youth that he would not live past his 20s, Hawking will turn 70 in 2012, and today he continues to inspire millions, drawing rock-concert-sized crowds wherever he lectures. Science writer Kitty Ferguson has been working with Stephen Hawking for decades, and produced an internationally bestselling biography of his life in 1992. Now, she brings his life as well as his scientific discoveries up-to-date. This is a remarkable look at how one of the greatest scientific mind alive overcame the odds to become the truly inspirational figure he is today.
“Intelligent and readable . . . Kitty Ferguson is astonishing in her own right . . . She is a careful explicator not only of [Hawkings’] ideas but of the context in which they arose.”—Sara Lippincott, The Los Angeles Times
"Ferguson provides engaging and helpful explanations of the physics behind [Hawking’s] triumphs."—The Washington Post
"Ferguson's biography of this remarkable man, who recently marked his 70th birthday, is based on personal interviews and a sound understanding of the physics behind Hawking's ideas...this is a delightful book...Highly recommended."—Choice
“Ferguson replaces the iconic but static image of cosmologist Hawking with flesh and blood in this vivid portrait… Through interviews with Hawking and his colleagues, friends, and family, Ferguson builds a complete picture of Hawking’s life, from his tireless work to explain our universe to his notorious driving, playful appearances on Star Trek, The Simpsons, and other shows, campaigning to improve the lives of the disabled, and his family life, with special attention to his relationship with his first wife, Jane, whose sacrifices allowed him to focus on his work. In the end, Ferguson captures the very full life and work of one of the most vibrant minds of our time.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Ferguson brilliantly updates her 1991 children's biography of Stephen Hawking for an adult audience . . . Her ability to write clearly about scientific issues using metaphor rather than mathematics makes this an excellent introduction to astrophysics for the interested layman. A fascinating portrait of a complex figure who ponders the place of man and God in the universe and who still loves the 'Eureka moment of discovering something that no one knew before.'" —Kirkus Reviews
“Kitty Ferguson gives a thorough account of Hawking the man, as well as of his extraordinary body of work in cosmology. [She has] a flair for the original which makes much of the tome highly readable. There are excellently clear descriptions of the large issues and precious few off-putting mathematics and equations...Ferguson pitches the balance between Hawking’s personal life and an explanation of his work about right.”—Greg Jamison, Entertainment Focus
“As both a global icon and an innovative theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking is well served by science writer Kitty Ferguson’s fascinating biography. Ferguson explains in accessible terms the major themes that Hawking has explored in his career, and creates a portrait of the private man by drawing on her close personal contact with him and his family. … Ferguson’s sympathetic and informed take on an individual who has enriched human knowledge against the odds is an excellent summing-up, as Hawking approaches his 70th birthday, of his unique and creative contribution to both science and humanity.” –George Ellis, Nature
“More than a biography … a brave attempt to chart the life of the celebrated physicist in parallel with his astounding and important work…. Ferguson has spent a lot of time with Hawking and as a scientist she attempts to explain in lay terms the fundamental concepts of Hawking’s vast and amazing body of work.”—Bertrams
“Science writer Kitty Ferguson has been working for over 20 years to reveal the real Stephen Hawking to the world… proximity gives Ferguson privileged access to Hawking’s private world, and her scientific fluency enables her to weave a biography that moves seamlessly between his intellectual and personal development… and Ferguson is adept at making his complex theories accessible to non-experts… Beyond explaining his scientific achievements, Ferguson brings us closer to the man who plays hide-and-seek with his young son, endures marital discord, has a sign on his office door that reads “Quiet Please, The Boss is Asleep,” and kibitzes with a journalist who asked if he has willed his DNA to science: “I don’t think anyone would want another copy of me.” Ultimately, the most astonishing aspect of Ferguson’s Hawking is not his otherness, but the extraordinary things that one determined individual can accomplish once he realizes that “life is worth living.”—Harold Heft, The Montreal Gazette
Posted March 18, 2012
Great story of a man with I brilliant mind.
Inspiring tale of persistence in the face of a crippling desease.
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