The surreal experience of editing Stephen Hawking

Posted by David Eicher
on Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Credit: Starmus Festival
A couple days ago I got an email from Garik Israelian, the founder and director of the Starmus Festival, attaching a document. It was a foreword to the Starmus book we have been working on, a contribution written by the great theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking.

The second Starmus Festival will take place this September 22–27 in the Canary Islands, bringing together a who’s-who of astronomers, astronaut-explorers, cosmologists, biologists, chemists, and musicians to celebrate our knowledge of the cosmos. Among the luminaries presenting will be Hawking himself; Israelian; Nobel Prize winners Robert Wilson, Harold Kroto, and John Mather; astronauts and moonwalkers Charlie Duke, Alexei Leonov, Jack Schmitt, Walt Cunningham, and Ed Mitchell; astrophysicist and Queen’s founding guitarist Brian May; Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman; SETI expert Jill Tarter; biologist Richard Dawkins; and me.

For several months, Brian May, Garik, and I have been editing the book version from the first Starmus Festival in 2011, which will include an amazing array of talks and materials, and a DVD of the concert. I’m delighted to say that it’s coming along well and will be published a little later this summer. Robin Rees of Canopus Books in London is the publisher, and working with him has been a great experience.

I was not expecting that Stephen Hawking would contribute the book’s introduction, and I have to say that gingerly editing his work was a memorable experience. I hope that you’ll read it when the book is out, and let me know what you think.

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