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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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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Whizz Pop Bang logo round

Summer science ideas whatever the weather!

School’s officially out for the summer!!! WHOOOPEEEEE! Get ready for summer science fun with Whizz Pop Bang and our awesome experiments to do in the garden, at the beach, in the park or at the kitchen table when the skies are black…

Science outside:
☀️ Make a solar oven and bake cookies in the garden
☀️ Forensic science blood spatter test
☀️ Minibeast habitats
☀️ Butterfly banquet
☀️ Lay a pitfall trap
☀️ Make your own pooter (a special pot for collecting insects)

In the dark:
⭐️ Hold your own stargazing party
? Night time safari

At the beach:
? Take the super strong sand challenge
? Sandcastle secrets for Whizz Pop Bang scientists!
? Sand ripples in a bowl
? Panning for gold
? Shake it up!

Wet weather science:
☔️ Make a snoop-o-scope
☔️ Take your own finger prints
☔️ Make your own pond skater
☔️ Fireworks on a plate
☔️ Take the paper clip challenge
☔️ Penny drop
☔️ Whooshing pepper
☔️ Make an ocean in a bottle
☔️ Make a water-powered boat
☔️ Make an octopus

Order our summer science bundle here https://whizzpopbang.com/shop/product/899265457

Remember to post up your pics! #summerscience

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Whizz Pop Bang science magazine for kids Shooting star

Looking for a cheap and easy kids science party? Host a stargazing party!

September is the ideal time of year for a stargazing party; it’s cheap, easy to host and the kids get to stay up ‘late’ which is always deemed to be fun in itself!

Inside issue 13 is the ultimate guide to the night sky, along with a pull-out stargazing map to help the kids decipher the constellations and find out how to spot Mars, and depending on the conditions, maybe Saturn too!

We’ve put together a party planner for your science party with a difference, including the recipe for planet cake pops to impress all your party guests. And don’t forget to order copies of Whizz Pop Bang science magazine for really cool goodie bags, order single issues here.

Whizz Pop Bang Science magazine for kids pull-out star map

Whizz Pop Bang science party ideas

For your stargazing party you will need:

  • Blankets to lie on in the garden
  • Binoculars (and a telescope if you have one or can borrow one)
  • Flasks/cups of hot chocolate and marshmallows
  • Jam jars and tea lights to decorate the garden, and lead the way to the stargazing blankets
  • Planet cake pops already made and ready to eat
  • Glow in the dark stickers or glow sticks to play with together
  • Tell your guests to bring a jumper and a wooly hat so they don’t get too cold!

The ultimate evening to hold your stargazing party will be on Saturday 10th September as the Moon will be visible in the evening sky and it will be dark by around 8pm.

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