Book Reviews · Film

Stephen Hawking

On 11th January, a biopic of Stephen Hawking, The Theory of Everything, won four awards at the prestigious Golden Globes Awards. It has been nominated for ten awards in the BAFTAs and has critics around the world raving. Quite the achievement for a film about theoretical physics!

The Theory of Everything is about the brilliant physicist Stephen Hawking who has developed some ground-breaking theories and managed to make science interesting and accessible for millions of people with his book A Brief History of Time. While he was a student at university, Hawking was diagnosed with ALS, a form of motor neurone disease, leading to near-complete paralysis. His doctors estimated that he had two years to live, but he is still working and travelling at the age of 73.

If you’d like to know more about Stephen Hawking, have a look at some of our resources!

brief history of timeHawking’s landmark work, A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes (BOOK ZONE 529), was written to explain complicated things like the Big Bang and black holes to people who hadn’t studied physics. It has been reprinted many times and has been translated into more than 30 languages. This is the original 1988 edition with an introduction by Carl Sagan, a leading astronomer.

Not to be confused with the documentary film A Brief History of Time: Stephen Hawking (BOOK ZONE 529), in which film-maker Errol Morris interviews people who have been close to Hawking and talks about the development of his work and his rise to fame, accompanied by a beautiful score by Philip Glass.

on the shoulders of giants

On the Shoulders of Giants: the Great Works of Physics and Astronomy (BOOK ZONE 530.092), edited by Hawking, collects together writings from some of the greatest scientific minds in human history such as Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Galileo Galilei. It is a perfect opportunity to see incredibly influential theories all together in the same book.

Learn more about Hawking and his work in Stephen Hawking: a Life in Science (BOOK ZONE 530.092) by Michael White and John Gribbin, a biography that talks about the huge impact Hawking has had on physics and science over his lifetime. Michael White is a scientific writer, and has also written books about Sir Isaac Newton, Galileo and Leonardo Da Vinci’s scientific works, so this biography focuses more on Hawking’s work than his personal life.


Watch Stephen Hawking’s Universe (BOOK ZONE 523.1), a series from 1997 which takes viewers on a trip through the history of the universe, from the Big Bang to the end of time. It is ambitious, accessible and, thanks to the incredible pictures from high-powered telescopes across the world, beautiful.

To see a different side of Hawking’s work, try Brave New World (BOOK ZONE 501), a TV series from 2011 that explores the leaps forward in technology that humanity had made and where it could take us next. Hawking talks about subjects as varied as the environment, robots and health technologies.


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