Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Common Sense For Kids

The news that Stephen Hawking is to collaborate with his daughter to write a book for children explaining the wonders of the universe will be welcome to parents like me, who are keen to foster a sense of awe about the world and all its wonders in their kids.

Although I was interested in science at school, I confess I was a bit too distracted by all the usual teenage stuff for much of what I was taught in chemistry, physics and biology to stick in my head for long. I did manage to scrape a last minute pass in Anatomy, Physiology and Health but, come to think of it, being distracted by all the usual teenage stuff probably helped with that.

It is only now, having dabbled in Dawkins, so to speak, that my interest in science has once again been piqued, and I find myself frantic to inspire that sense of wonder in my own children before it's too late and they've skipped off down the path of hormonal destruction that I so happily trod.

Sadly, I have neither the knowledge nor the talent to do this with any great confidence, so it is a relief when an eminent scientist like Hawking decides to translate the seemingly impenetrable mysteries of science into a form that children (and maybe even me!) can understand. What I want to know is when Richard Dawkins is going to do the same?

One thing that did bother me slightly in the report of this upcoming book. Hawking says that the book is going to be 'a bit like Harry Potter' but without the magic. If it must (and why pick JK Rowling as a role model when surely Philip Pullman would be much more appropriate?), let's hope he makes the chapters short enough to get through in a bedtime reading session.

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