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George and the Big Bang (George's Secret Key) Paperback – September 3, 2013
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
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"This addition to the series does not disappoint." (School Library Journal)
"This set of mind-expanding...exposures to some of sciece's biggest theories and ideas will once again find a large audience." (Kirkus Reviews)
About the Author
Stephen Hawking, a Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, is the preeminent theoretical physicist in the world. His book A Brief History of Time was a phenomenal worldwide bestseller. He has twelve honorary degrees and was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire and was made a Companion of Honour. He has three children and one grandchild. Visit him at Hawking.org.uk.
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In this book, George and his friend Annie are starting middle school. Annie's father Eric, a scientist, has just been named to a math professorship at Foxbridge University (Cambridge's doppleganger in this fictional world). He has also been put in charge of the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider. How one scientist is supposed to be in charge of Mars rovers, the LHC, the Cambridge math department, and the guardian of the world's most powerful computer (quantum no less) searching for life around the universe, I have no idea, but it's fiction and he must be some sort of superhuman scientist. Anyway, the children readers don't pick up on this.
In this book, Eric's old professor, the original creator of Cosmos along with Graham Reeper and Eric, makes his appearance. He is upset that Eric has used Cosmos to go to the moon and gets photographed by a satellite. He demands Eric be examined by the Order of Science in order to determine if he is a worthy guardian of Cosmos. A secretive group of anti-scientists makes its appearance. They are out to convince the world that the LHC experiments are dangerous. They have various reasons for not wanting the experiments to succeed which are revealed eventually in the book. Without giving anything away, I'll say I found their reasons rather far fetched. Frankly the LHC just isn't going to accomplish much of anything that they seemed worried about. The Hawkings really kind of overdo things here. But I guess they just wanted to impress children with how great the LHC is.
Annie becomes infatuated with an older boy at her school, Vincent, who is a skateboarding karate kid. This makes George jealous, although the book kind of tip toes around the whole issue and never really resolves it. From an adult's perspective I found this whole crush thing rather odd more than anything. It sort of comes out of nowhere in the series and will hopefully be ended in the next book if the Hawkings write one. To go from George being her best friend for years to suddenly swooning over a new never before seen character George had never heard of before just seemed too big a leap the way they did it. That situation needed far more story development to make it believable. Once again, though, the children hearing the book read to them went right along with this plot development without thinking anything was amiss. The point of Vincent seems to be to provide the lesson to readers that stereotypical athletic cool kids can also be into science, sort of like Emmett 's character in the second book was there to show that stereotypical computer geeks are cool people too. Meh. That part of the book doesn't impress me.
However, the science in this book is once again stellar. This book dips into quantum mechanics and the big bang. My students particularly liked the cat Schrody once I explained to them what the Schrodinger cat thought experiment was all about. They talked about that cat for the rest of the school year. As with the rest of the books there are various science essays spread throughout the book which sometimes are understandable to the elementary school aged audience and other times are not. The book also has full color pictures again including some of the LHC. Students will learn loads of science from this book just like the first two.
The story holds children's attention very well and usually has them begging for me to read "just a little more." So even though as an adult the plot holes are kind of glaring at times to me, I appreciate the fact that children love the story. I'm more than willing to put up with odd plot choices for the sake of the great science content. The series does a fantastic job at making scientists into heroes for children. I don't know of any other fictions books that do it quite as well. So for that I give it 5 stars.
Included in this book: facts about the universe, full-color space photos, and essays on scientific topics on the latest theories from some of the top scientist. This book is full of facts such as The Big Bang, Space, Time, Relativity, Large Hadron Collider, Singularities, Solar System and many more.
You need to know as an adult reading this book that it is meant for a young audience so be prepared for a plot that is about a supercomputer that allows time travel, the characters are young children (parents are eco-activists and scientists), bad guys and good guys etc. I highly recommend the series of 3 books, they are great.
She was 11 when she read them. They are probably good for kids 9-12.
I would start with the first in the series which is George's Secret Key to the Universe