cover image Stephen Hawking: 2a Life in Science

Stephen Hawking: 2a Life in Science

John R. Gribbin / Author, Michael White / With Dutton Books $2

The forces shaping the life of renowned physicist Hawking seem as strangely charged as those he describes in his physics. His British biographers, both scientists, examine their subject's personal history and ably fill in the spaces between his great leaps of theory. They avoid sentimentalizing the physicist's disabling ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), which struck him in his early 20s, while acknowledging that the condition has had a dramatic impact on his life and reputation. Gathering information from Hawking's colleagues (but not his estranged wife), the authors discuss his authorial success as well as his academic career, not failing to offer such bits of humanizing gossip as that he has a poster of Marilyn Monroe on his office door. Readers of Hawking's bestselling A Brief History of Time will find much of interest in this longer view of physics at work in one extraordinary person's life. (June)