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Stephen Hawking: An Unfettered Mind (MacSci) Hardcover – January 3, 2012
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“Ferguson shines at explaining Hawking's theories, the jovially competitive academic world in which they are hammered out and her subject's distinctive and evolving intellectual style…An irresistible story. His puckish humor and exuberance for life and for ideas are infectious even at a remove. And the ideas themselves could not ask for a better elucidator.” ―Laura Miller, Salon
“Intelligent and readable… Kitty Ferguson is astonishing in her own right…. She is a careful explicator not only of [Hawkings'] ideas but of the context in which they arose.” ―Sara Lippincott, The Los Angeles Times
“Ferguson provides engaging and helpful explanations of the physics behind [Hawking's] triumphs.” ―The Washington Post
“Ferguson replaces the iconic but static image of cosmologist Hawking with flesh and blood in this vivid portrait… Through interviews with Hawking and his colleagues, friends, and family, Ferguson builds a complete picture of Hawking's life, from his tireless work to explain our universe to his notorious driving, playful appearances on Star Trek, The Simpsons, and other shows, campaigning to improve the lives of the disabled, and his family life, with special attention to his relationship with his first wife, Jane, whose sacrifices allowed him to focus on his work. In the end, Ferguson captures the very full life and work of one of the most vibrant minds of our time.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Ferguson brilliantly updates her 1991 children's biography of Stephen Hawking for an adult audience . . . Her ability to write clearly about scientific issues using metaphor rather than mathematics makes this an excellent introduction to astrophysics for the interested layman. A fascinating portrait of a complex figure who ponders the place of man and God in the universe and who still loves the 'Eureka moment of discovering something that no one knew before.'” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Kitty Ferguson gives a thorough account of Hawking the man, as well as of his extraordinary body of work in cosmology. [She has] a flair for the original which makes much of the tome highly readable. There are excellently clear descriptions of the large issues and precious few off-putting mathematics and equations...Ferguson pitches the balance between Hawking's personal life and an explanation of his work about right.” ―Greg Jamison, Entertainment Focus
“As both a global icon and an innovative theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking is well served by science writer Kitty Ferguson's fascinating biography. Ferguson explains in accessible terms the major themes that Hawking has explored in his career, and creates a portrait of the private man by drawing on her close personal contact with him and his family. ... Ferguson's sympathetic and informed take on an individual who has enriched human knowledge against the odds is an excellent summing-up, as Hawking approaches his 70th birthday, of his unique and creative contribution to both science and humanity.” ―George Ellis, Nature
“More than a biography … a brave attempt to chart the life of the celebrated physicist in parallel with his astounding and important work…. Ferguson has spent a lot of time with Hawking and as a scientist she attempts to explain in lay terms the fundamental concepts of Hawking's vast and amazing body of work.” ―Bertrams
About the Author
Kitty Ferguson has been writing and lecturing about science and scientists for over two decades, making the language and concepts of physics and cosmology understandable for audiences without a scientific background. Her 1991 biography of Stephen Hawking, written with his encouragement and help, was an international best-seller. She was a consultant for Hawking's book The Universe in a Nutshell. Kitty is the author of seven books including The Fire in the Equations and The Music of Pythagoras. She has also been interviewed by Forbes Magazine, PBS, "News Hour with Jim Lehrer," and the BBC. She lectures widely in North America, and her appearances have included the Goddard Space Flight Center, the Hayden Planetarium in NYC, The Nobel Peace Prize Forum, and many universities. Kitty and her husband divide their time between Cambridge, England and South Carolina.
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Top Customer Reviews
The role of Jane Hawking in Stephen's life cannot be overestimated. She was there for him through the most critical moments of his disease and it is hard to imagine what would have happened without her. Ferguson details Jane's work and her conflict between her own goals and her role as Hawking's wife. Some other reviews have criticized the book for skirting the charges of abuse to Hawking which followed him during his second marriage. More may be coming out at some point but when the biography was written Hawking refused to discuss the issue. Without his input Ferguson cannot do much more than mention the issue without speculating. Ferguson worked with Hawking closely not only on this book but in her earlier 1991 biography of him. This biography highlights the positive - Hawking's mathematical genius, his genuine sense of humor, his popular books to explain his ideas, and his work for the disabled.Read more ›
"Hawking's life story and his science are rife with paradoxes. Things are often not what they seem. Here is a tale in which beginnings are endings, cruel circumstances lead to happiness, although fame and success do not; two brilliant and highly successful scientific theories taken together yield nonsense; empty space isn't empty after all; and black holes aren't black. In the twenty-first century, the effort to unite everything in a simple explanation is revealing, instead, a fragmented picture. And most paradoxical of all, a man whose physical appearance inspires shock and pity has led us joyfully to where the boundaries of time and space ought to be--but are not."
The above comes from this in-depth book by Kitty Ferguson. Ferguson has been writing and lecturing about science and scientists for over two decades. She is the author a seven books.
This book, in a nutshell, is a biography about theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking (born in 1942, three hundred years after the death of Galileo in 1642). Hawking is known for the following:
(1) black holes (a region of space-time where gravity prevents anything, including light, from escaping)
(2) theoretical cosmology (physical cosmology is the study of the universe as a whole)
(3) quantum gravity (concerned with scientific models that unify quantum mechanics or the very small with general relativity or the very large)
(4) Hawking radiation (radiation predicted to be emitted by black holes)
(5) the phenomenal international bestseller "A Brief History of Time" (1988)
(6) the controversial bestseller (written with physicist Leonard Mlodinow) "The Grand Design (2010)
On Jan. 8, 2012, Hawking turned 70.Read more ›
Stephen Hawking has provided me with much to ponder over the past ten years and I am grateful for his efforts to make the workings of his mind accessible to the rest of us. Kitty Ferguson has done a marvelous job introducing Hawking to us to the best of her ability. I can only imagine the monumental task of tackling the complexities of telling the story of this man and his science. Well done.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In a book of this title, I was expecting to read a biography of Stephen Hawking. As is the case for most people, I knew who he was and as a science enthusiast I had read books... Read morePublished 7 months ago by George Poirier
I saw "The Theory of Everything," enjoyed it a great deal, and took up again Stephen Hawking's "The Illustrated A Brief History of Time. Read morePublished 11 months ago by M. Neuman
A very difficult read. I could not get past chapter 3 and I have had 6 years of college, love Stephen Hawking, was interested in learning about him, and find string theory to be... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Molly A. Block
Kitty Ferguson has written both a succinct biography of a fascinating character and a good explanation for the layman of some of the most far-out science any of us are likely to... Read morePublished 22 months ago by R. Lieblich
Hawking is one of the most interesting people of the world. His mind and his life and how he has lived it are simply fascinating.Published on December 15, 2013 by Shirley Sacks
Excellent. Well written and understandable about life and career of this person. Took me time as I read other things in between but well worth investmentPublished on November 17, 2013 by grace
My husband and I worked in Cambridge in the 1990's. On our last night, as we walked down a dark drive to our hotel near the Isaac Newton Bridge, here comes Stephen Hawking's... Read morePublished on November 7, 2013 by S. Thompson