Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Stephen Hawking

The first real, adult science book I ever read was A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, when I was eight or nine years old. I didn't understand much of it then, and now, having read it at least five more times, there are still parts that go over my head. That book was a pretty huge influence on me though.

Hawking's reverence and appreciation for the natural world, past scientists, and the process of science itself comes through so strongly in his writing, it's hard not to be inspired. Not to mention the personal struggles he has had to overcome to continue his career.

I'm not sure if I would be the same person I am today without A Brief History of Time. I would probably have encountered Feynman at some point, and that would have done the trick just as well, but Hawking was really the start of a process that would shape much of who I am as a person.

Stephen Hawking still does public lectures every once in a while, and I just read that he'll be going to Caltech next month. I'm way up in Vancouver, and I was just in Pasadena last fall, but I think I may try to go and see him. I know I'll never forgive myself if I don't get another chance.

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