Friday, January 15, 2010

Stephen Hawking - A Life in Science

Authors: Michael White, John Gribbin
Published: 1992
Publisher: Penguin
Amazon Link: Click Here

A biography of Stephen Hawking, the world renowned theoretical physicist. This 1992 edition which I borrowed from British Library covers the first fifty years of his life. I understand that there is an updated edition published in early 2000's, which I hope covers Hawking's post-1992 life.
The book starts with Hawking's birth in 1942 (exactly 300 years after Galileo, another great astronomer died) and with his divorce. It covers - Hawking's schooling, academic career, his contracting ALS disease which made him invalid and confined him to wheel chair, publishing of his bestseller 'A Brief History in Time'. The book also attempts to explain Hawking's theory on beginning of the universe and the black holes in layman terms, though not very successfully. Interesting anecdotes from Hawking's life are interspersed throughout the book. For e.g. an interesting piece of information from the perspective of Indians is - Jayant Narlikar, the famous astrophysicist shared the same office room with Hawking in Cambridge University.
The book is a light read and is adequate for getting some basic information about Hawking and his work. But it lacks soul and a gripping narration. Probably there are better biographies on Hawking been published, I am not sure though.

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