Anita Croy, Stephen Hawking, Scientists Who Changed the World, HarperCollins Publishers, August 2021, 64 pp., RRp $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781925820720
This book is another of the six-book series about famous scientists, first reviewed last year. It opens with biographical details about cosmologist Stephen Hawking followed by background information about theories on the universe. Middle chapters explore the discoveries and resulting ground-breaking ideas he is famous for, especially his most well-known book, A brief history of time. The final sections look at his scientific legacy as well as his diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a form of motor neurone disease, and the advances he made in living with it.
Layout and design are attractive and colourful with white, black, and coloured pages and many illustrations, photographs and drawings. The book also concludes with a glossary, an index, a list of relevant books and another of websites. Also interesting is the list of unanswered questions about the universe and the list of TV series in which he appeared, for which he provided his computer-generated voice. One pleasing aspect of the book is that the text does not gloss over problem areas such as difficult personalities, quarrels with colleagues and differences of opinion about the scientific theories proposed.
In the bibliographic information, it is stated that this book like others in the series was ‘written, developed and produced by Calcium Creative’. This company is a book packager, meaning that it produces the books and then puts them out to publishers for sale. This may explain why this book contains so much American spelling and terminology. Anita Croy is an American author who has written for National Geographic and has good credentials as a writer of non-fiction for young readers. As a result, the book contains words such as ‘math’ instead of ‘maths’, and US spelling such as ‘behavior’ and ‘center’. This usage actually becomes quite irritating. This is a shame because this book is a good overview of Stephen Hawking’s life and work and his contribution to our knowledge of the universe and living with a major disability.
Reviewed by Lynne Babbage