"In the Beginning … But exactly what in the beginning? The physicist Stephen Hawking, Lucasian Professor at Cambridge University, has devoted much of his career to answering that question. His obsession is the one second between the Big Bang (the postulated birth of the universe) and the beginning of its expansion. A victim of amyotropic lateral sclerosis, an incurable progressive motor neuron disease, Hawking is almost totally immobile and is confined to a wheelchair. He can communicate only through an assistant who interprets his speech. Despite the wasting disease, his intensive theoretical work on the early universe and on black holes has earned him the University chair once held by Isaac Newton. In her new book Dialogues With Scientists and Sages: The Search for Unity (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1986), the philosopher and writer Renée Weber recounts interviews with a number of scientists and religious figures in an attempt to...

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