Scientists Who Changed the World: Stephen Hawking
EK Books, 2021
64pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
Stephen Hawking advanced our understanding of the universe more than any other scientist of his day. He spent his entire career chasing the idea of the “Theory of Everything: to explain the entire universe relating to the Big Bang Theory. His book A Brief History of Time was designed to explain physics to the general public, not just scientists, and this made him one of the most famous scientists in the world.
This new additions to this series about the scientists on whose shoulders today’s generation stands is timely, Apart from anything else, it demonstrates there are almost as many fields of science as there are people investigating and that they all started as ordinary kids, just like the readers.
Using accessible text, colour illustrations and an appealing layout, young readers are introduced to Hawking , his discoveries and his their early life and how that influenced the path he took. But when I think of Hawking, the image I see is him in his wheelchair having been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a form of motor neurone disease at 21, and speaking by controlling a computer with his cheek after he lost the ability to speak. That alone, as a model of resilience, of one who never gave up, whose body may have failed but his brain didn’t, is a reason to share his story with our students.
When other teacher librarians ask for suggestions for biographies of contemporary people that are interesting and accessible for primary students, this series is always mentioned. So it’s one to have in your collection as the fascination with science grows exponentially at a time when we are so dependent on it.