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Hawking Incorporated: Stephen Hawking and the Anthropology of the Knowing Subject Paperback – June 25, 2012
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If you have any interest in Anthropology, Science Studies, or Disability Studies, I highly recommend reading "Hawking Incorporated", for Mialet has succeeded in connecting these fields of study in a riveting way. I guarantee this book will leave you with many probing questions, one of them being: "What defines genius?"
Helene Mialet's book « Hawking Incorporated » is extremely original and enjoyable. She examines the way Stephen Hawking is able, because he is technologically enabled, to function as the brilliant physicist he is, producing exciting new ideas, lecturing, writing, giving interviews (notably to Helene Mialet for this work) etc. He manages all this despite the fact that, because of his handicap, he is both locked within his body and locked out of the world of ordinary communication enjoyed by all his fellow scientists. His physical condition is so dramatic his achievements force admiration yet leave us incredulous. Thanks to the extensive investigations, interviews and careful analysis of her findings and observations Helene Mialet prods us into reappraising our perception of who Stephen Hawking actually is. The man in the flesh or the biotic creature made of steel, wires and batteries? She brings us to realize that this question, as naïve as it may seem, goes way beyond the Hawking case. Humanity is being swept into a new age by the technological revolution. Life, as they say, will never be the same again. As a mathematician I have witnessed the impact information technology and computers on my discipline. In the past certain mathematical problems resisted solution for want of time and limited by the speed of calculation, I think of the four colour problem which remained tantalizingly unprovable for well over a hundred years until the advent of the computer to do the donkey work. Helene Mialet's multifaceted approach to understanding Stephen Hawking demonstrates just how "natural" it is becoming that man's destiny and identity is inextricably bound to his mastery and appropriate use of the technological forces he has unleashed.