The scientific community grieves as the iconic physicist Stephen Hawking passes away at 76. Hawking was known for his remarkable research on the theory of relativity and black holes. His life was well documented in biopics and books authored by him and his peers. On a quest to educate the world about science, Hawking also presented his work on television and penned down books that can be understood by a non-scientific audience as well. His life can be explored through the following celebrated work:
1. A Brief History of Time
Published in 1988, A Brief History of Time is a popular science book that explores cosmology through the concepts of space and time. The book is written in a way that it can also be comprehended by readers who have no prior knowledge of scientific theories. The book discusses theories of general relativity, quantum mechanics, Big Bang and black holes.
The biographical documentary of Stephen Hawking also borrows the name of this book and features interviews with family members and colleagues. The documentary movie garnered a great response.
2. The Universe in a Nutshell
Considered to be a sequel to Brief History of Time, The Universe in a Nutshell explores Stephen’s work on superstring theory in quantum mechanics. He also writes about the history and principles that form the basis of modern physics. Exploring the work of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity and Feyman’s idea of multiple theories, Hawking seeks to combine both to give a unified theory to describe how the Universe works.
3. My Brief History
In this memoir, Stephen Hawking recounts the journey of his life as a cosmologist from his boyhood to the years when he received international critical acclaim for his scientific work. He shares his beginnings as a scientist and how his illness took over, putting a hefty burden on his marriages. The book was later adapted to be made into a biographical documentary film.
4. George’s Series, Science Fiction for Children
Co-authoring with his daughter Lucy, Stephen Hawking developed the George books for children aged 9 and up to teach them about the concepts of astronomy, cosmology, and astrophysics. The following five titles have been published:
- George’s Secret Key to the Universe
- George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt
- George and the Big Bang
- George and the Unbreakable Code
- George and the Blue Moon
In this biopic, Benedict Cumberbatch plays the role of young Stephen Hawking in the first ever critically acclaimed and award-winning on-screen portrayal of the celebrated physicist. The television film explores the early years of Hawking as a Ph.D. Scholar at Cambridge University, his work to find the beginning of time and his struggle against the disease.
6. The Theory of Everything
Academy Award-nominated film, The Theory of Everything is a biographical drama that explores the life of Stephen Hawking. The film is based on a memoir written by his ex-wife, Jane Hawking titled, Traveling To Infinity: My Life with Stephen. The movie explores the romantic relationship of Jane and Stephen amidst the backdrop of his success as a physicist and his diagnosis of ALS. The movie garnered critical appraise and Eddie Redmayne won the Academy Award for his portrayal of Hawking.
Documentary television series presented by Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking penned down, narrated and presented these acclaimed documentary mini-series:
- Stephen Hawking: Master of the Universe includes interviews with astrophysicists and theoretical physicists discussing theories superstring and supersymmetry. The series comprises of two episodes and also explores the personal challenges of Hawking, his career in physics and work on black holes.
- Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking is a three episodic series with additional narration by Benedict Cumberbatch that aired on Discovery Channel. In the series, the Universe is represented by computer-generated graphics.
- Brave New World with Stephen Hawking comprises of five episodes in which he examines how science will help humans take the next leap forward. The series explores the subject of Machines, Health, Technology, Environment, and Biology.
- Genius by Stephen Hawking is presented by the physicist who challenges volunteers, who are then followed as they think like geniuses and seek answers to the conundrums surrounding humanity and universe.