Stephen Hawking celebrates 50th year as Cambridge fellow

Stephen Hawking: a super scientist, spaceman and a Dad

Stephen Hawking floating in a zero-gravity jet undertaking parabolic dips to simulate space conditions over the Atlantic.

Stephen Hawking floating in a zero-gravity jet undertaking parabolic dips to simulate space conditions over the Atlantic

Who was Stephen Hawking, and why was he famous? As budding scientists themselves, your children are bound to ask questions about the man in the wheelchair with the strange voice. And rightly so, for this is a man to be talked about and remembered for so many ground-breaking discoveries in science.

On the way to school yesterday morning, as we heard the news of Stephen Hawking’s death, my children asked why he died. This is a perfectly reasonable question, and one I answered with suggestions as I didn’t know exactly why he had died. We listened to the news reader and tried to make sense of a man who defied the doctors’ words and went on to live for an ‘extra’ 53 years.

“Although there was a cloud hanging over my future, I found, to my surprise, that I was enjoying life in the present more than before. I began to make progress with my research,” Stephen said.

 

“My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.”

 

Alok Jha explains why black holes are doomed to shrink into nothingness then explode with the energy of a million nuclear bombs, and rewinds to the big bang and the origin of the universe. From The Guardian.

A brief timeline of Stephen’s life and career

  • Stephen Hawking is a British theoretical physicist, he was born on January the 8th, 1942.
  • Hawking has made many important contributions to the fields of cosmology and quantum gravity. He is also well known for his bestselling book ‘A Brief History of Time’.
  • Helped by the success of his book ‘A Brief History of Time’, Hawking has released other books aimed at making his work accessible to a wide range of people, these include ‘The Universe in a Nutshell’, ‘A Briefer History of Time’ and ‘George’s Secret Key to the Universe’, a children’s book with a strong focus on science.
  • Hawking has worked extensively on the subject of black holes, providing theories for their behaviour, including the idea that they emit radiation.
  • Hawking suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a type of motor neuron disease that has left him almost completely paralysed.
  • Some of the awards Hawking has received for his work include the 1979 Albert Einstein Medal, the Order of the British Empire (Commander) in 1982 and the 1988 Wolf Prize in Physics.

Famous Stephen Hawking quotes include:

  • “There ought to be something very special about the boundary conditions of the universe and what can be more special than that there is no boundary?”
  • “I don’t believe that the ultimate theory will come by steady work along existing lines. We need something new. We can’t predict what that will be or when we will find it because if we knew that, we would have found it already!”
  • “For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk and we learned to listen.”
  • “It is a waste of time to be angry about my disability. One has to get on with life and I haven’t done badly. People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining.”
  • “I don’t think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I’m an optimist. We will reach out to the stars.”

What was it like having Stephen Hawking as your Dad?

Lucy Hawking describes the moment her famous scientist father, Doctor Stephen Hawking, was asked by a child – what happens if you fall into a black hole?

“As a child you could ask any question you wanted – and get a reply,” she said.

Lucy Hawking talking about her father Stephen Hawking

Lucy Hawking talking about her father Stephen Hawking, and where the idea for a children’s story book originated from

One of the many books written by Lucy and Stephen Hawking:

George’s pet pig breaks through the fence into the garden next door – introducing him to his new neighbours: the scientist, Eric, his daughter, Annie, and a super-intelligent computer called Cosmos. And from that moment George’s life will never be the same again, for Cosmos can open a portal to any point in outer space . . .

Written by science educator Lucy Hawking and her father – the most famous scientist in the world – and illustrated by Garry Parsons, George’s Secret Key to the Universe will take you on a rollercoaster ride through space to discover the mysteries of our universe.

Stephen Hawking quotes your kids will like…

On the universe: “It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.”

 On persistence: “However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.” – at an Oxford University Union speech in 2016.

On curiosity: “So remember, look at the stars and not at your feet.” – at the Sydney Opera House in 2015.

 On space: “May you keep flying like superman in microgravity.” – to NASA astronauts in 2014.

Stephen Hawking celebrates 50th year as Cambridge fellow

Photo credit: Dan White/Gonville & Caius/PA Wire

 

 

‘Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.’ Stephen Hawking’s words are an inspiration to us all regardless of our age, abilities or dreams.

Stephen Hawking, 1942- 2018

 

 

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WIN! A signed copy of The Matilda Effect by Ellie Irving

The Matilda Effect three copies

We’ve got three signed copies of The Matilda Effect to giveaway!

Matilda loves science and inventing. Her heroes are Marie Curie, Leonardo da Vinci and Thomas Edison, and one day she wants to be a famous inventor herself. So when she doesn’t win the school science fair, she’s devastated – especially as the judges didn’t believe she’d come up with her entry on her own. Because she’s a girl…

To enter this competition tell us what Marie Curie helped to develop, was it…
a) x-ray
b) blu-ray
c) sting ray antivenom

Answer below in the comment box 👇🏽 by midnight on 31st March 2018.

 

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January’s book competition

The DNA Detectives: Catch a Thief

 

This month we have a slightly different book competition for kids to enter, to help launch a brand new storybook ‘The DNA Detectives: To Catch a Thief’ written by Dr Mandy Hartley. Whilst there are lots of excellent reviews for this book, they are written by parents and Mandy would love to hear what children think too. If your child loves reading and would like to be in with a chance of winning a signed copy of The DNA Detectives: To Catch a Thief enter this competition by simply writing the words “me please” in the comment box below.

Dr Hartley is a new author and is looking for children to review her fun story all about a pet thief and the kids who try to find out who has stolen the missing dogs…

When Annabelle and Harry’s beloved pet dog Milly goes missing they believe the local pet thief has struck again. They have a list of suspects and plenty of evidence but how can they prove who the thief is? Their mum works as a DNA scientist and has a laboratory in the garden. The children realise they can become “DNA Detectives” and secretly use the laboratory to analyse the evidence just like real life forensic scientists. Join them on their thrilling journey where they collect clues, analyse evidence and learn about DNA to solve this case and bring Milly home safely.

“I create stories and communicate them to children in a multi-sensory way including elements to stimulate listening, smell, taste, sight and sounds as well as their as their imagination! Where possible I include scientific experiments in my stories finding entertaining ways to explain difficult scientific concepts such as natural selection, inheritance and evolution to children.”

Dr Mandy Hartley

https://www.thelittlestorytellingcompany.co.uk/the-dna-detectives-to-catch-a-thief 

DNA Detectives book reviews

Dr Mandy Hartley and two of the reviews written by parents on Amazon

This competition to win a signed copy of The DNA Detectives to review is open until midnight on 1st February. Only open to UK residents.

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WIN Optical Illusions book 2!

Optical illusions 2 single book

Love science books? We do too! And we love helping kids to learn all about science, which is why we’re giving our readers the chance to win brand new, hot-off-the-press science books, cool hey?! We have TEN copies of OPTICAL ILLUSIONS 2 to give away!! To enter simply answer this question:

Q. Optical illusions are tricks of the what?

  1. Nose and mouth
  2. Eyes and brain
  3. Hands and feet

Write your answer in the comment box before midnight GMT on 10th January 2018. Good luck! Winners will be notified by email after 10th January 2018. Only open to UK residents.

Optical illusions 2 competition blog

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StarFinder for Beginners jacket

Star Finder book winners

Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE with Star finder for beginners book

In conjunction with our Planetary Adventures edition (issue 28) we ran a competition to win Star Finder for Beginners, signed by Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE! Maggie is a presenter on BBC Four show Sky at Night, and is passionate about inspiring kids, especially girls, into science.

To enter the competition Whizz Pop Bang readers answered the following question:

What are stars made of?

A) Hot gas

B) Shiny aliens

c) Sparling Moon dust

The correct answer is of course hot gas! Well done to everyone who entered 🌟

Here our the five winners, who will each receive a signed copy of Star Finder for Beginners. Happy star-gazing! Thank you to DK Books for supplying the prizes, and asking Maggie to sign them for our lucky mini scientists.

  1. Isla Mackwell
  2. Benjamin Porter
  3. Thomas Perry
  4. Clair Saunders
  5. Danielle Vipond

We’ve also got some top tips from Maggie for star-gazing, including using a red torch if you need light as this has less effect on your eyes as they get used to the dark.

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Stargazing tips for kids from space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE

Top star gazing tips from Maggie Aderin-Pocock

As the nights draw in and it gets dark earlier it’s the perfect time to pull on your hats and gloves and get outside to start stargazing! Before you venture out we’ve got some top tips from space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE. And if you’re keen to learn more about the night sky, enter our online competition to win a copy of STAR FINDER FOR BEGINNERS signed by Maggie 🌟 🌟 🌟

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WIN! STAR FINDER for beginners

WPB online science book competition Star Finder for beginners with forward by Maggie Aderin-Pocock

KIDS! Do you love star-gazing and finding out all about the wonders of the night sky above us? Have you ever tried spotting a constellation? With this brand new book you’ll learn how to identify ‘pathfinder’ stars and discover more than 20 constellations. Also includes a glow-in-the-dark night-sky viewer!

The good news is we have five copies signed by BBC TV star Maggie Aderin-Pocock, so get your entries in to win! Simply answer this question by leaving your answer in the comment box below:

What are stars made of? A) Hot gas  B) Shiny Aliens   C) Sparkling moon dust 

Whilst Maggie was busy signing the books for our lucky winners we asked her for some top tips for star-gazing, this is what she said…

  1. With stargazing it’s all about location, location, location. Find somewhere away from the streetlights, I try to go to the back garden or go with an adult to an open field.
  2. It’s good to have a clear night, cloud stops us from seeing the stars and if the moon is too bright it can also be hard to see the stars.
  3. If you do get a clear night it can be cold so wrap up warm, but remember to let your eyes adjust to the dark. If you need light carry a red torch as this has less effect on your eyes as they adapt to the dark.
  4. Best of all enjoy yourself. There is so much to see with just our eyes, the Moon, stars planets and comets. Have fun!

Thanks Maggie, you’re a super star!

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See inside science book review

Winning science book review by Alfie, age 5

 

Whizz Pop Bang science news for kids

A few months ago we ran a competition to win all six of the science books shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize 2016 including two by our awesomely amazing Whizz Pop Bang writers Isabel Thomas and Dan Green 🙂

Without further ado here’s the winning review by Alfie, age 5. Well done to Alfie for being a super mini scientist AND being so passionate about science. Enjoy those books!

See inside science book review

See Inside Science by Usborne Books

  “It’s about the human body, cells, animals, plants, the beginning of the universe, space, energy and electricity, elements and the periodic table, putting things together, Protons, Neutrons, Electrons and Quarks inside an Atom and the final one, see into the future.
  I’ve learnt that there are all sorts of elements, 92 elements that aren’t made in a lab, if you’re counting the ones in the lab there’s 118, but loads of people forget about Dutrium, so there’s 119.  Dutrium is a gas that Brown Dwarfs fuse.  
  I like it because I like science.  I love science actually.  It’s got atoms in it.  I like it that it has flaps.  It’s easy to understand. 
It’s fun, fun, fun, fun, fun.”
Review by Alfie Jack Pile, age 5
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Win a John Adams Forensic Science Kit PLUS a copy of Home Lab Science: Exciting Experiments for Budding Scientists by Robert Winston

This month we have not one but two competitions for your budding scientists to enter! Up for grabs we have three copies of Robert Winston’s HOME LAB EXPERIMENTS BOOK and five John Adams Trading Co FORENSIC SCIENCE KITS!!!

What are you waiting for kids, open issue 13 of Whizz Pop Bang and get cracking. Enter before 5th September.

John Adams Forensic Science Kit Whizz Pop Bang Science Magazine for kids Home Lab book

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Competition time for Mum and Dad! And maybe Grandpa too…

Sand by Michael Welland

We have a copy of this fascinating book to give-away as a prize for one our awesome Whizz Pop Bang grown-ups; whether that’s Mum, Dad or maybe a grandparent who likes playing in the sand!  SAND: A journey through science and the imagination is written by Michael Welland.

How to enter: simply send a photo of yourself buried in the sand! Yes it has to be you (a grown-up), and it could be just your feet or your whole body, we’re not too fussy on that detail. The winner will be the funniest photo so get creative! You can also send in an old photo, we love a relic 😉

Post, send or tweet your photos by 5th September. We will contact you if you photo is a winner for your address.

Synopsis for SAND on Amazon:

‘This book is all about sand – sand in individual grains, each one a little different; sand in piles; sand in shoals and dunes; the science of sand but also, shot through the book, sand and imagination – the art and the music of sand. Did you know that the Sand Mountain in Nevada emits a low C, while dunes in Chile sound an F, and those in Morocco a G#?  
For all its ubiquity, sand is an extraordinary substance. For scientists, it is important in many ways: it represents the crushed remains of past rock, and builds up into layers in lake and ocean beds, layers of sandstone from which we can extract the history of deep time; its erosion creates complex landscapes of mounds and dunes which move in characteristic ways; its grains are remarkable individually and in their behaviour together as a granular material. And to travellers, poets and artists, the deserts it forms are full of grandeur and pathos. Michael Welland is a geologist who has a passion for sand. He shows that truly, one can see a world, both in space and time, in a grain of sand.’

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