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Hawking h/c

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Jim Ottavani & Leland Myrick


Page 45 Review by Jonathan

"Not long after, we all went to a talk Hoyle gave at the Royal Society about their results. There was much excitement."
"...The big bang has all the elegance and dignity of a party girl jumping out of a birthday cake.
"What I meant is it has none. As the BBC listeners among you know, I liken our previous position to that of mountain climbers attempting a summit via multiple routes.
"We found out that all of them peter out on hopeless precipices.
"So, many years ago, I proposed a new hypothesis... that matter is created continuously."
"He went on, presenting his newest ideas and the results he and Jayant had worked on. Results that had not been reviewed by anyone by Jay... and me."
"...QED. Are there any questions?"
"The conclusion of his talk caused a bit of a stir."
"Yes, you there."
"The... the influence of matter in a steady-state universe would... the quantities you're talking about would diverge."
"Of course they don't diverge."
"Er, yes. The masses would be infinite, which is..."
"Nonsense. Why do think you this?"
"I worked it out. I calculated it."
"Some people thought I'd done so on the spot.
"I hadn't, of course. I'd seen the calculations Jayant was working on and had become interested in them myself.
"Regardless, this didn't hurt my reputation."

Quite. Just in case you haven't heard of the most famous scientist of the second half of the 20th century, here's the presentation from the publisher...

"From his early days at Oxford, Stephen Hawking's brilliance and good humour were obvious to everyone he met. At twenty-one he was diagnosed with Motor neurone disease, a disease that limited his ability to move and speak, though it did nothing to limit his mind.

He went on to do groundbreaking work in cosmology and theoretical physics for decades after being told he had only a few years to live. Through his 1988 bestseller, A Brief History of Time, and his appearances on shows like Star Trek and The Big Bang Theory, Hawking became a household name and a pop-culture icon."

That he did. From the graphic biographers behind the brilliant FEYNMAN comes the life story of a truly remarkable man who would not allow his own physical limitations to curtail his insatiable determination to increase our understanding of the universe.

From his early life and quintessentially British and slightly eccentric upbringing, he was a man with a deep desire to know more, about everything. Initially, that thirst for knowledge was unfocused and untrained, perhaps in part because nothing seemed beyond him, but little seemed to retain his interest.

But once at University, he began to discover scientific questions which would fascinate and motivate him until his dying day. Which was considerably further in the future than any doctor, and probably he himself, could have ever expected when first diagnosed with his condition.

This is an exceptional biography. What I had anticipated was that it would go into considerable detail regarding his life, which it certainly does, with great warmth and humour, reflecting the sprit with which he faced the ever-increasing difficulties arising from his condition.

What I hadn't appreciated, was just how much I would learn concerning the specific details and minutiae of his work and theories. I possibly should have, actually, because that was a feature of FEYNMAN, but here we get into the physics in much, much more depth. Consequently, this work is as much as opportunity to learn about his theories and discoveries as it is the man. I am extremely impressed with how Ottoviani and Myrick present all this complex information so clearly.