On 14 March 2018, I happened to come across one of the most shocking news I had ever heard in my lifetime. Stephen Hawking was no more. I immediately posted the news of his demise on my social media handles. The Facebook post was shared by more than 32,000 people which shows how dearly he was loved and admired by everyone.
Stephen Hawking was born on the 300th anniversary of Galileo’s death and died on the same day Albert Einstein was born. Few months later, in September, I read about his final book titled Brief Answers to the Big Questions on a news website and also came to know that it was going to be released on 17th of October. I preordered the book immediately. I was excited for the book to arrive and each passing day made the excitement grow.
Finally, on 21st of October, I received the book. In no time I started reading it. His book A Brief History of Time was the reason why I fell in love with astrophysics. It was the first astrophysics book I had ever read. In this article, I present a brief review of Stephen Hawking’s final book. Do not worry, there aren’t any spoilers. So even if you haven’t read the book you can continue reading the article.
The book tries to answer a wide range of questions ranging from time travel to space colonization. The book begins with an introduction by the physicist Kip Thorne- the man who won the Nobel Prize jointly with Rainer Weiss and Barry Barish for the discovery of gravitational waves. He also consulted the director Christopher Nolan for the movie Interstellar. He beautifully describes how Professor Stephen Hawking made important contributions to our understanding of the Universe.
The first chapter of the book is titled ‘IS THERE A GOD?’ where Professor Hawking explains why he prefers to explain the beginning of our Universe using laws of Science and not God. Note that, he isn’t totally against God. He says “I do not want to give the impression that my work is about proving or disproving the existence of God. My work is about finding a rational framework to understand the universe around us.”
The subsequent chapters try to answer questions about the existence of intelligent life in the universe, interior of a black hole, time travel, artificial intelligence, space colonization, etc in a very simple yet interesting manner. Even if you aren’t much familiar with astrophysics or cosmology, trust me, you will still have a wonderful time reading this book. There are some moments in the book where you’ll get goosebumps (not kidding!).
My favorite chapters in the book are What is inside a black hole? and Will artificial intelligence outsmart us?. In his entire book, Stephen Hawking is optimistic. He believes that one day humans will colonize the entire solar system, one day it will be possible for us to travel in time and one day we will have a theory of everything. Stephen Hawking warns us about making contact with other intelligent life forms in the Universe and also raises concern about bigger problems like global warming and pollution which have the potential to wipe out humans from Earth.
The book ends with an afterword by his daughter Lucy Hawking. According to me, the book is a must read for everyone, specially the young generation. As you read the book, you travel through the Universe. If you haven’t read the book, I suggest you to read it. I would like to conclude the article with a quote by the man himself:
“It surprises me how disinterested we are today about things like physics, space, the universe and philosophy of our existence, our purpose, our final destination. Its a crazy world out there. Be curious.”
Hope you had fun reading the article. Have you read the book? Let us know in the comments.