Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking is Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge (Newton's old position). He is the author of A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME, which remained on the New York Times bestseller list for a record-breaking 237 weeks. Curiously, Hawking was born 300 years to the day after Galileo died.
Showcasing the five most influential works in the history of modern science, this book is a boon to anyone willing to give serious attention to these world-changing texts. Understanding of the often convoluted equations and archaic phrasings they contain is aided by Professor Stephen Hawking's footnotes and his introductions outlining the background to the works in question: Copernicus's On the Revolution of Heavenly Spheres; Galileo's Dialogues Concerning Two Sciences; Book Five of Kepler's Harmony of the World; Principia by Sir Isaac Newton, and selections from Einstein's Principle of Relativity. Hawking's mini-essays link them in terms not only of scientific progression, but through the mirrored obsessions, drives and enlarged personalities of their creators. These precis perform a dual task of establishing their subjects in a scientific time and place, and informing them with a humanity often disregarded in the brighter light of their subsequent achievements. The linkage is fascinating, the texts rewarding, the whole indispensable. Hawking shows massive ideas as feeding on the confirmation, sometime rejection, and ensuing enlargement of that which has gone before, just as Newton did in the phrase that forms the book's title: 'If I have seen farther,' he wrote, 'it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.' The Running Press have seen far enough to plant themselves firmly on the heads of the lot; the result is a body of work that has collectively endured for over 500 years already and should grace the bookshelves and coffee tables of the academically serious and peripherally interested alike. (Kirkus UK)