As the last work of Stephen Hawking before his death this is quite the piece of literature. As he says in the closing chapter, even the great books of science will be read by only a few. This thought is disappointing, as this is a book that is not only readable to any person but has some ideas that we need to take to heart. I love that throughout the book there are encouraging words for the young reader. I love that it is written with truth and optimism. I can only hope the ideas Hawking believed in continue to find people to pursue them.
I originally pulled this book into my summer reading series as I was looking for passages and readings, I could use in my new Mars discovery unit for my Earth Science course. Within the chapter specifically related to the idea of colonizing space, there are some great concepts. However, the great concepts and incites do not stop at only one chapter. I am faced with the dilemma of trying to incorporate more into my already explorative science course.
This much I do know: the introductory passage and the closing passage have a definite place in my classroom. I may find myself using them in a variety of places, from syllabus quote to wall poster. I hope the words of this great scientific mind will inspire my future students to take ownership of their learning. As Hawking states: not everyone should or will go into the sciences, but we need global citizens that understand the science and the technology to live in the future that is to come.
I will say that only in a couple of places did I get lost/bogged down in the theoretical explanation of the universe and other scientific ideas. Overall, this is a well-written book that anyone can access for reading a dedicated scientist’s perspective of several questions surrounding the future. From reading through this book I certainly can say, without a doubt, I understand black holes and the way they work to a deeper degree than before. I will also say that I feel much more informed about the work already out there and being done by scientists day in and day out.
Although Hawking does point out the issues we face for the future, he is an optimist. This outlook for the future is exciting and the way he presents it is encouraging. I can only hope there are several young people that read this book and take the next step in what Hawking presents as viable avenues of exploration for the future, from cosmology to exploration to artificial intelligence. Which brings me to perhaps the only downside to the book, officially there are no finite answers. Hawking presents his beliefs, his knowledge, his understanding of present-day science for each of the ‘big questions’. I know more about these large subjects than I did before and am satisfied with the knowledge gained through the reading – now to put it into practice so as to truly learn concepts and teach the youth for a better tomorrow.