Blog

Stephen Hawking 1942 - 2018

Posted on 14th March 2018 by Martha Greengrass

As we mark the sad news of the death of renowned physicist and author Stephen Hawking, we celebrate the life and work of a writer whose work inspired countless readers and reflect on the lasting influence of A Brief History of Time, a book which launched a genre and revolutionised science writing.  

A world renowned physicist, intellectual titan and a globally recognised luminary, Stephen Hawking, who died today, transformed the face of popular science publishing. Described as ‘a contemporary classic’, ‘a succinct, entertaining and brilliantly lucid account of our relationship with the universe’, his major work, A Brief History of Time, was initially rejected by publishers who failed to see its popular appeal. When it finally reached print in 1988 it became a near-overnight bestseller. Translated into 40 languages and selling 10m copies, it entered the Guinness Book of Records having remained on the Sunday Times bestsellers list for an unmatched 237 weeks.

The book’s success made Hawking a household name and although he would go on to publish and edit other volumes – including the 1996 edition, The Illustrated Brief History of Time and The Universe in a Nutshell – it remains his landmark publishing achievement. The book also opened doors to a career where he became not only the popular face of modern physics but also a feted worldwide celebrity, with the associated attention on his private life.

He made a guest appearance on Star Trek: The Next Generation, cropped up in animation in The Simpsons and, in 2014, was the subject of the award-winning biopic The Theory of Everything, based the memoir of his first wife Jane Hawking, Travelling to Infinity. Writing in an introduction to Hawking’s Reith Lectures in 2015 Phillip Ball commented on the contradictions of his notoriety: ‘His story is an inspiring one, but that doesn't mean we should deny him… his humanity’, he wrote. ‘We are strangely fascinated with the idea that a severely disabled person in a wheelchair can be enormously intelligent. We should not be surprised, and the fact that we are says more about us than it does about Stephen Hawking.’

In the immediate aftermath of his death, it is evident just how persuasive his work continues to be. Alongside his other work, he was committed to engaging and inspiring future generations, collaborating with his daughter Lucy to publish a series of books about science for children, beginning with George’s Secret Key to the Universe

Beyond its undoubted contribution to the field, Hawking’s work continues to be incalculably significant in its influence; firing a generation of today’s scientists from Neil deGrasse Tyson to Yuval Noah Harari and opening the door to the possibility that complex ideas can and should be made interesting and accessible for everybody. Amongst those extolling his influence, the British Cosmologist Lord Martin Rees comments, ‘millions have had their cosmic horizons widened by his best-selling books’ whilst Professor Brian Cox reflects, ‘there are many more scientists because of him.’

Author tributes


£9.99
Paperback
10+ in stock
Available
Was there a beginning of time? Could time run backwards? Is the universe infinite or does it have boundaries? In certainly the most influential popular scientific work of the 20th century, Professor Stephen Hawking's A Brief History Of Time opened the deep wonder and mystery of the universe to millions of minds, presenting hugely complex ideas with glorious simplicity.
  • This item has been added to your basket
View basket Checkout

£9.99
Paperback
In stock
Available
Covering subjects ranging from the personal to the scientific, Black Holes And Baby Universes And Other Essays collects Stephen Hawking's key essays in one volume of extraordinary scope. The collection reveals him as scientist, man, concerned world citizen and imaginative thinker. A transcript of his conversation on 'Desert Island Discs' is included.
  • This item has been added to your basket
View basket Checkout

£5.99
Paperback
10+ in stock
Available
In 2016, Professor Stephen Hawking delivered the BBC Reith Lectures on a subject that has fascinated him for decades: black holes. In these flagship lectures, the legendary physicist argued that if we could only understand black holes and how they challenge the very nature of space and time, we could unlock the secrets of the universe. This volume offers a complete record of those talks.
  • This item has been added to your basket
View basket Checkout

£9.99
Paperback
In stock
Available
A Briefer History of Time provided Professor Stephen Hawking the opportunity to boil down to the essence of the original whilst augmenting it with fresh ideas and new research. Hawking also edited the sequencing of the original, giving subjects split across the prior text their own individual chapters.
  • This item has been added to your basket
View basket Checkout

£6.99
Paperback
5+ in stock
Available
A delightful collaboration between a profound physicist and his daughter. George's pet pig breaks through the fence into the garden next door - introducing him to his new neighbours: the scientist, Eric, his daughter, Annie, and a super-intelligent computer called Cosmos. And from that moment George's life will never be the same again, for Cosmos can open a portal to any point in outer space...
  • This item has been added to your basket
View basket Checkout

£18.99
Paperback
In stock
Available
God Created the Integers stands as Stephen Hawking's personal choice of the greatest mathematical works in history. Here the reader can explore the progression of mathematical thought and the very foundations of technologies, spanning 2500 years of civilisation and including the work of mathematicians from Euclid to Alan Turing.
  • This item has been added to your basket
View basket Checkout

£9.99
Paperback
10+ in stock
Available
Model dependent realism, the multiverse, the top-down theory of cosmology, and the unified M-theory: all these and more are discussed in The Grand Design, the volume that delved deep into Stephen Hawking's investigation into whether the universe is indeed a 'grand design' at the hands of some benevolent creator or if other factors resulted in its formation.
  • This item has been added to your basket
View basket Checkout

£22.00
Paperback
In stock
Available
The study of modern physics was not born in a vacuum. Using the papers from Einstein, Copernicus, Galilei, Kepler and Newton, Stephen Hawking explains how a legacy of prior work changed the course of science, ushering astronomy and physics out of the Middle Ages and into the modern world.
  • This item has been added to your basket
View basket Checkout

£9.99
Paperback
5+ in stock
Available
The humanity behind the genius. Jane Hawking - the gifted first wife to Professor Stephen - presents a memoir of unflinching honesty, candour and wit as she describes her eventful relationship with one of the world's leading minds. From first courtship though to the assaults of motor neurone disease and the eventual collapse of their marriage, this is a story of optimism, love and change.
  • This item has been added to your basket
View basket Checkout

£10.99
Paperback
10+ in stock
Available
Nothing less than a history of humankind from the Stone Age to the present day, Harari’s ground-breaking volume makes spellbinding connections and devastating conclusions about where our species has been and where it is headed. A book which makes you look at the world anew, Sapiens delivers clear-headed wisdom and jaw-dropping insight on every page.
  • This item has been added to your basket
View basket Checkout

£9.99 £8.99
Paperback
10+ in stock
Available
With his customary eloquence, Carlo Rovelli serves up a delightfully accessible tour of the workings of the universe in less than hundred pages.
  • This item has been added to your basket
View basket Checkout

£10.99
Paperback
10+ in stock
Available
The man who reinvigorated travel writing transforms dry and academic subjects into compelling prose in this remarkable reinterpretation of science’s key achievements through time. Confronting topics such as geology and particle physics with energy and brio, Bryson’s masterpiece has turned millions on to the wonders of the scientific world.
  • This item has been added to your basket
View basket Checkout

£8.99
Paperback
5+ in stock
Available
So, what does E=mc2 actually mean? Dr. Brian Cox and Professor Jeff Forshaw embark on a mesmeric journey to the very frontiers of twenty-first century science to unpack Einstein's famous equation, taking in Cox's unique understanding of the Large Hadron Collider to illuminate the hugely esoteric nature of the theory.
  • This item has been added to your basket
View basket Checkout

£9.99
Paperback
10+ in stock
Available
Quantum theory is so shocking that Einstein could not bring himself to accept it: it's a principle so important that it provides the fundamental underpinning of all modern sciences. In Search Of Schrodinger's Cat tells the story of quantum mechanics, investigating the atom, radiation, time travel, the birth of the universe, super conductors and ultimately life itself.
  • This item has been added to your basket
View basket Checkout

£9.99
Paperback
In stock
Available
After scoring notable success with the books Longitude and Gallileo's Daughter, Dava Sobel tells the paradoxically human story of the nine planets of our solar system. Whether it is cutting-edge planetary imagery from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory or verse from Tennyson, Sobel seeks out our relationship with these celestial bodies that have so shaped our imagination and culture.
  • This item has been added to your basket
View basket Checkout

£9.99
Paperback
10+ in stock
Available
`I have a truly marvellous demonstration of this proposition which this margin is too narrow to contain.' Since the 1630s, the world's mathematical community have wrestled with the infamous, unsolvable mathematical teaser of Pierre de Fermat, cracked only in 1993. Fermat's Last Theorem traces the obsession and subsequent nightmare around that triumph, the story of Andrew Wiles and his battle again
  • This item has been added to your basket
View basket Checkout

Comments

There are currently no comments.