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Cambridge genius Professor Stephen Hawking has earned international acclaim for his astounding scientific ideas, his courage in overcoming grave physical disability, and his eagerness and excitement about sharing his scientific adventures with everyone.

This is the story of his life and his quest to find a complete scientific understanding of the universe, against overwhelming odds.

It is an unlikely, moving tale, full of paradoxes: Beginnings may be endings . . . Two great scientific theories taken together seem to give us nonsense . . . Empty space isn’t empty . . . Black holes aren’t black . . . Cruel circumstances can lead to happiness, although fame and success may not. . . and a man whose appearance inspires shock and pity takes us laughing to where the boundaries of space and time ought to be – but are not.

When I approached Stephen Hawking with the idea of writing a book about him, asking him to help me make certain I understood his theories, he agreed and also gave me never-before-published photographs and material about his childhood and life. This book is the result.

• • • • • • REVIEWS • • • • • •

“This splendid, carefully researched study of the man and his ideas – based on interviews with Hawking, a good knowledge of his subject, and many secondary sources – balances the fascination of physics (extremely well described) with the fascination of the man.”
— Kirkus (daggered review)

“Kitty Ferguson is a brilliant intermediary between the thinking of the physicist and the thinking of ordinary people.”
— German National Radio

“The principal value of Ferguson’s book lies in her ability to teach. Step by step, she defines and describes the nature of forces and matter as they are best understood so far. Before you know it, you are beginning to think with Hawking, if not quite like him.”
— Clarence Petersen, Chicago Tribune

“The book alternates between moving passages detailing the scientist’s upbringing, discovery of his illness, and consequent career, and detailed, clear accounts and diagrams of the dazzlingly complex science to which Hawking has devoted his intellectual energies.”
— Kitta MacPherson, The Sunday Star Ledger (New Jersey)

“Fascinating on the biographical side: Our taste for wonder and a certain morbidity is well catered for.”
— Anthony Burgess, The Observer (London)

“Kitty Ferguson’s book will be more helpful for those who want to understand the background science. She also has the advantage of having interviewed Hawking and his wife and of being able to include an interesting collection of photographs.”
— Bernard Carr, The Independent on Sunday (London)

“Kitty Ferguson deftly conveys an exciting sense of Hawking and his preeminent role in modern-day theoretical physics. She does justice to both the man and his work. This is a fine introduction to Hawking’s own A Brief History of Time. Ferguson, an outstanding science popularizer, employs everyday examples to make the extremely complex concepts of Hawking’s work accessible to readers.”
— Booklist (starred review)

“Ferguson’s book is not an indecipherable scientific text. Her style is simple, conversational and accessible to even the least scientifically inclined.”
— Laura Ehrisman, San Antonio Light

“Ferguson’s book has the edge for its de-emphasizing of Hawking’s disability, for its illustrated explanations and for its compact glossary with terms that recur and are necessary to the understanding of subsequent chapters. This is an ideal guide to keep for future reference, as more news reaches us of Hawking’s advances in research.”
— Nancy Dughi, San Antonio Express-News

“A probing, sympathetic look at the lives behind the fame . . . The author deals delicately with the human side of the Hawking phenomenon.”
— Sunday Times (Perth)

“A small, lively book, copiously illustrated. Will enrich heart no less than mind, sparking imagination in a pleasure deep as music or art can offer.”
— Damien Broderick, The Australian

• • • • • • TABLE OF CONTENTS • • • • • •

“The greatest quest in all science.”

“Our goal is nothing less than a complete
description of the universe we live in.”

“You shouldn’t believe everything you read.”

“The big question was, Was there a beginning or not?”

“Black hole explosions?”

“Was it all just a lucky chance?”

“In all my travels, I have not managed
to fall off the edge of the world.”

“It’s turtles all the way down.”

“The field of baby universes is in its infancy but growing fast.

“Is the end in sight for theoretical physics?”

Addendum (In British edition only)
“An expanding horizon of possibilities.”