Last night I watched Hawking on PBS. I was almost certain that I'd be listening to the buttery vocals of Benedict Cumberbatch for most of the broadcast. Instead, I was surprised to find Cumberbatch behind the camera being interviewed. He apparently portrayed Stephen Hawking in a biopic. I am accustomed to watching Into the Universe With Stephen Hawking where Cumberbatch and Hawking's iconic robotic voice beautifully overlap. This wasn't the case. Hawking narrated the entire hour and it was refreshing. He told the world about his interesting yet tragic life dealing with ALS through the one device that has enabled him to communicate his theories behind some of the biggest mysteries of the universe.
I'm always looking for new ways to learn about the universe. By coincidence or more honestly by my app alerts on AppShopper.com, I had been notified that Stephen Hawking's Snapshots of the Universe went on sale. So, I bit. I read half of it in one sitting! It's filled with text and mini games that help explain the basic concepts behind the universe's most noticeable laws like gravity and space-time. I'm not going to give you a full review here, but you should check it out for yourselves, iOS users. Here's a quick book factoid: I am privileged to live in the same small town where Kitty Ferguson once lived. She has written a few books about Hawking and spent a lot of time interviewing him. Her works include Stephen Hawking: An Unfettered Mind and Stephen Hawking: Quest for a Theory of Everything.
I have an intense interest in cosmology, in physics, and in some of the same mysteries that are driving the leading minds in science. I grew up with and was influenced by family members who were/are mathematicians and who are science-minded. Stephen Hawking is one of the few people in his field (Michio Kaku included) that are able to help us non-physicists understand quantum physics, black holes, multiverses and a long list of discoveries that are helping to sculpt the theory of everything.