Upon Stephen Hawking’s Death: A Book Review of George’s Secret Key to the Universe

It was another bleary March day when I looked over my mom’s shoulder as she read the day’s headlines on her computer. Stephen Hawking had died.

Stephen Hawking died? Shaken by the news I read, I stepped back. Impossible!

Stephen Hawking, arguably the greatest mind of our time, seemed to me to be one of those people who could escape the ravages of death. After all, when he was first diagnosed with motor neuron disease, the doctors had given him a life expectancy of two years. Yet he lived on, bringing us more knowledge of physics than humanity had ever known before. How many other people in the world have received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, wrote multiple bestsellers, and even had a kind of radiation named after him?

Among his many accomplishments, he also co-wrote juvenile fiction books with his daughter, Lucy Hawking, to inspire kids to get more interested in science. The world’s recent loss of Mr. Hawking made me want to read the first one of these books, George’s Secret Key to the Universe, part of the George’s Secret Key series.

I love this book. It has an exciting plot and interesting characters, as well as amazing facts about the universe. The story follows the hero, George, whose parents try to keep him away from technology. George meets his next-door neighbors, Annie and her dad Eric, who show George Cosmos, the world’s most powerful computer which talks and can literally take them to almost anywhere in the universe. George, once living in a world devoid of technology, is suddenly catapulted into a world of information and knowledge that blows his mind. He keeps it a secret from his parents.

The story’s villain is Dr. Reeper, who is also George’s teacher. There are bullies at school who serve as foils, especially as the rising action approaches the climax when the bullies team up with Dr. Reeper.

Dr. Reeper wants Cosmos for himself and suspects that George knows about the existence of this powerful computer. The suspicion sets into motion a series of events that results in disaster at the story’s climax, and George must save Annie’s dad from a black hole.

Milky Way
From the view at Frosty Hollow Bed and Breakfast adjacent to Cherry Springs State Park in Coudersport, Pennsylvania, I can stare at the Milky Way and ponder the universe that Stephen Hawking explored through the vast laws of physics. Photo taken by my dad… and it can’t even begin to show the beauty there!

But it is the falling action and the resolution that sets the stage for the subsequent books in the series. It is hard to not give spoilers, so I will just say that George’s future becomes a lot more promising.

As one might suspect, I am a big fan of Stephen Hawking. Many of his books, like A Brief History of Time, still exceed my intellectual capacity at my current age of twelve years. For kids like me, George’s Secret Key to the Universe is a great way to dip my toe into the vast knowledge of Stephen Hawking. I highly recommend this book.


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