Hawking Hawking

Basic. Apr. 2021. 416p. ISBN 9781541618374. $30. SCI / BIO
There are few scientists whose public fame and renown can compare to that of Steven Hawking (1942–2018). His contributions to science led to his being one of three scientists buried at Westminster Abbey. His contributions to physics include the singularity theorem, which was a catalyst for igniting his storied career. He was also diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at the age of 21. At the time, doctors told him he had two to three more years to live, but he lived to be 76. Seife (Arthur L. Carter Journalism Inst., New York Univ.; Virtual Unreality) provides a singular exploration of Hawking’s life, starting with his famous adulthood and then moving back in time to his childhood, in order to assist readers in separating the celebrity from the scientist. Along the way, the author explores Hawking’s personal life, including his two difficult marriages and his sometimes-complicated relationships with his children. Seife writes accessibly and succesfully creates a nuanced portrait of Hawking that balances his successes with his flaws.
VERDICT This thorough biography reveals Hawking’s life beyond his celebrity, and is recommended for anyone interested in learning more about the scientist’s legacy and life.
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