Brief Answers To The Big Questions by Stephen Hawking: Review

FPJ Bureau | Updated on: Wednesday, May 29, 2019, 04:30 AM IST


Title: Brief Answers To The Big Questions

Author: Stephen Hawking

Publisher: Hachette India


Pages: 232

Price: Rs 650

The book, by genius Stephen Hawking, answers questions that everyone of us start thinking about right from our childhood. How the universe came into existence, is there a god, how do the laws of nature work?


If one believes in science and laws of nature, believing in god seems difficult, for a simple ‘reason’ that one starts looking for ‘reasons’. Science says the universe was created by the big bang, but people believe the god created the universe. He has discussed everything: From Trump as a President to Brexit, humanity and human race, black holes in detail, space treks repeatedly.

Science has developed or made progress to such an extent some are beginning to question the very existence of the god. A look at the personal lives of the author, a cosmologist himself, who since childhood wanted to be a scientist and became
one of the geniuses, at 27 was told by doctors he would die in some months. He lived on until the age of 75 and died in March this year. If you relate science to nature, you will be baffled at the results.

Hawking was a visionary! The book asks people to think of the future, plan for the future. Why should we explore to set up a colony in space? Why should we spend money, time and energy into exploring something like this? Because space is there to explore!


If you look back, we couldn’t imagine setting foot on moon, until US president Richard Nixon thought of making it happen, and he tasted success in the same decade in 1969. No matter which field you choose, you must take keen interest in science and technology. For, one needs to keep abreast of the developments and advancements. It’s the need of the hour. It is the science which answers every question. It answers why.

Hawking asks people to make a strategy, a long-term plan. Setting up a base on Moon in 30 years, reaching Mars in 50 years, and explore the moons of the outer planet in 200 years. The Moon and the Mars are most suitable sites for colonies in the solar system. However, travelling there won’t be easy and the plan may take decades to be realised. And, we cannot afford to make mistakes. We will have to think in advance of the outcome. Making it right the first time.

About shaping the future, the great writer suggests to be imaginative. Open your mind to the intricacies and let it go wild. For a mind to achieve full potential, it needs a spark. The spark of wonder and enquiry.

For the GenNext, their dependence on science and technology is going to be much more than what our previous generations had. They need more knowledge because science and technology will be part of their daily lives. Young minds must be familiar with and confident of scientific subjects.

Major issues, such as global warming, finding space and resources for the ever-increasing human population, species that will be extinct, developing renewable energy resources, deforestation, degradation of the human resources and epidemic diseases need an urgent attention.

The inventions in future will revolutionise our way of living, eating, working. Artificial intelligence will either be the best or the worst of the inventions to happen to humanity. Awareness about the AI dangers, identifying and manage the consequences in best possible ways must be of great concern to us.

In the end, Hawking inspires his readers and says, “Look up at the stars not at your feet. Be curious. However difficult the situation may seem, there is always something you can succeed at. Don’t give up, unleash your imagination and shape the future.”

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Published on: Sunday, November 25, 2018, 08:01 AM IST