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Black holes and baby universes and other essays – Reviews

SUMMARY – Readers worldwide have come to know the work of Stephen Hawking through his phenomenal million-copy hardcover best-sellerA Brief History of Time. Bantam is proud to present the paperback edition of Dr. Hawking’s first new book since that event, a collection of fascinating and illuminating essays, and a remarkable interview broadcast by the BBC on Christmas Day, 1992. These fourteen pieces reveal Hawking variously as the scientist, the man, the concerned world citizen, and-always-the rigorous and imaginative thinker. Hawking’s wit, directness of style, and absence of pomp characterize all of them, whether he is remembering his first experience at nursery school; calling for adequate education in science that will enable the public to play its part in making informed decisions on matters such as nuclear disarmament; exploring the origins of the future of the universe; or reflecting on the history ofA Brief History of Time. Black Holes and Baby Universesis an important work from one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century.

Review by Booklist Review

Last year saw the hawking of Hawking in the form of a biography by John Gribbin and Michael White, Stephen Hawking: A Life in Science , and a reader’s companion to Hawking’s Brief History of Time. Now we have a collection of 14 of the physicist’s lectures and essays. Comercial considerations aside, this potpourri gives off the scent of black holes, hadrons, and imaginary time–a certain snare for the millions who bought Hawking’s Brief History, and maybe even for those who only recognize his name. Hawking’s forums range from an amiably eccentric BBC program that asks intellectuals what music they would take to a desert island (Hawking would take the Beatles’ “Please Please Me” and Mozart’s Requiem) to lecture halls filled with fellow physicists to what is perhaps his first writing for a general-interest publication, a 1977 issue of Scientific American. The collection also contains several new sketches concerning his youth and his degenerative neural disease. Optimistic as always, both about his personal tribulations and about the theoretical chances of discovering a unified physical theory, Hawking again meets his own goal of showing us scientific plebians that we “are not shut out of the really big questions.” (Reviewed Aug. 1993)0553095234Gilbert Taylor

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.

Review by Publisher’s Weekly Review

British theoretical physicist Hawking ( A Brief History of Time ) here delivers a potpourri of lucid, succinct scientific articles and lectures and short autobiographical sketches. He speculates that spaceships or objects that fall into a black hole may go off into “a little baby universe of their own,” a small, self-contained world that branches off from our region of space-time. These baby universes, he adds, exist in imaginary time, “at right angles to real time, in which the universe has no beginning or end.” In other pieces Hawking assesses physicists’ search for a complete, unified “theory of everything”; argues in favor of the tenet that people have free will; calls for large cuts in armaments; and describes his triumph over Lou Gehrig’s disease, which has confined him to a wheelchair and forced him to communicate via a personal computer and speech synthesizer. In a concluding interview reprinted from the BBC, Hawking discusses his love of music and the role of intuition in his work. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Review by Library Journal Review

Hawking is quite probably the most admired and recognizable figure in science today. His A Brief History of Time ( LJ 4/15/88) was a surprise best seller that stimulated a public fascination with this man who, although stricken with a debilitating neurological disease, is widely regarded as the most brilliant theoretical physicist since Einstein. This new collection of essays and lectures will no doubt attract a large readership, but it is somewhat unbalanced. The biographical pieces are digressive and not particularly enlightening. Most pointless is the concluding piece, an interview in which Hawking expounds upon the eight records he would want if he were shipwrecked on a desert island. The scientific essays are much stronger and offer insight into a variety of cutting-edge issues in contemporary physics, though much of what is presented can be found in Brief History . Readers interested in Hawking’s life are better advised to read John Gribbin and Michael White’s Stephen Hawking: A Life in Science ( LJ 5/1/92). Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/93.– Gregg Sapp, Montana State Univ. Libs., Bozeman (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Stephen William Hawking was born on January 8, 1942 in Oxford, England. As a student at Oxford University, Hawking studied Physics, and after three years was awarded a first class honors degree in Natural Science. After gaining a Ph.D. from Cambridge, Hawking became a Research Fellow, and later on a Professional Fellow at Gonville and Caius College. Widely regarded as one of the greatest theoretical physicists since Einstein, Hawking has held the post as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge since 1979. Most famous for his research on black holes, he has written the books A Brief History of Time and Black Holes and Baby Universes, a collection of essays published in 1993. He also authored the books On the Shoulders of Giants, A Briefer History of Time, The Universe in a Nutshell, and The Grand Design. Hawking is also the author of numerous articles for scientific papers, has 12 honorary degrees and is a Fellow of The Royal Society and a Member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Hawking was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease in his early 20s and is now confined to a wheelchair. He uses a computer device to help him speak. Hawking holds a professorship at the University of Oxford. In 2015 Hawking’s book A Brief History of Time, which he completed in 1984, became listed on the New York Times bestseller list. (Bowker Author Biography) – See more at: http://web.archive.org/web/20151122231613/http://www.buffalolib.org/vufind/Record/741598/Reviews#sthash.ZoufFAYJ.dpuf