Why everyone should read Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time



Truly an exceptionally unparalleled theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking is the author of the modern classic entitled A Brief History of Time. Designed to provoke as much as help understand the burning questions of who we are and why we are here, the book amazingly offers assistance in understanding fundamental questions of our existence as well as physics.

If you have ever wondered where the universe came from or how and why it began, this book should be on top of your list of must-have books. In this literary/scientific masterpiece, Stephen attempts to deal with those questions and even includes possible sources of the answers without using plenty of technical jargon.

The book covers a wide array of topics including black holes, gravity, the nature of time, the Big Bang, as well as the search by physicists for a huge unifying theory to everything.

If you love deep science like I do, you will be amazed at the vast concepts this book presents, but hopefully, you won’t suffer from mental vertigo like I did while reading. No matter how many times I go over the book, it still fascinates me how the brilliant cosmologist Dr. Hawking was able to leverage such a fantastically complex subject as time to give people the opportunity to somehow think about things such as alternate dimensions.

Stephen Hawking offers science enthusiasts a terrific journey that is always worth taking, with the ultimate objective being a unique understanding of the universe becoming perhaps an experience of the ‘mind of God.’

Perfect for those who love cosmology, physics, the history of science and natural philosophy, A Brief History of Time is one of the extremely few books in this particular category that never stops keeping readers fascinated even though most of its contents is fundamentally designed to stretch the mind at a greater level than is expected of this kind of scientific writing.

I love it, particularly because it has allowed me to reach beyond the boundary of standard curiosity to support my journey to the realm of knowledge.

The way Dr. Hawking uses non-technical terms to explain the origin, structure, development and eventual fate of our universe is outstanding. It provides the perfect reference for those who study modern physics and astronomy. The way the author talks about time and space will leave anyone more inquisitive with every turn of the page.

Dr. Hawking utilizes general relativity and quantum mechanics, the two major theories also employed by modern scientists, to describe the universe. He also talks about the quest for one single unifying theory that explains everything there is in the universe in a more comprehensible fashion.

In two decades, this book has sold more than ten million copies, making it a bestseller. It was translated into 35 different languages by the year 2001 and landed on the London Sunday Times bestseller list, remaining there for over four years.



Build Your Own Telescope – My new favorite book


If you have ever dreamed of exploring the universe by yourself, but you have little to no intention of spending your precious pennies on a telescope, I’m going to tell you about a book that I recently discovered and that just managed to blow me away.

Build Your Own Telescope is a book written by Richard Berry with the intention of letting people know about the means that you can take advantage of to build your own optical instruments with the help of which you can look at the stars. What I found particularly useful about this book was that it came with step-by-step, comprehensive instructions that didn’t seem to be intended for the ultimate tech-savvy individual. Instead, the author adopted a user-friendly terminology that allowed me to understand the plans and photographs.

Build Your Own Telescope can help you construct as many as five types of telescope. The 4” f/10 reflector, for example, is the perfect option for a person who’s only starting out and who has little to no experience when it comes to studying the field of astronomy. It’s the build that I would personally recommend if you’re a parent looking to create something fun that your child can use in his or her spare time.

The 6” f/8 Dobsonian Reflector is a light telescope that’s on the small side of things. The fact of the matter is that it’s one of the most satisfactory telescopes that you can build at home as it will entice the curiosity and interest of your kid for several years to come. Another type that you can construct with the help of the instructions in this book is the 6” f/8 Equatorial Reflector. This design is somewhat classic compared to those that I’ve tackled already, but it’s by far the best choice for people who are amateur craftsmen or occasional astronomers. It works and looks great, so it will even impress your friends if you decide to display it in your living room.

Last, but not least, Richard Berry’s book can also assist you with constructing your own 10” f/6 Dobsonian and 6” f/15 Refractor which are both powerful and versatile telescopes that typically outperform most of the models you can buy on the market nowadays as they have a large aperture.

Naturally, before deciding to purchase the book, I went through some of the reviews that it had gathered on sites like Amazon, for example. What really convinced me to choose it was that people said that the book takes an entirely different approach compared to others in that it presents the detailed plans of five telescopes that can be built from scratch.

Where would the optics be without the microscope?

Photo from http://blog.microscopeworld.com/2011/10/stereo-microscopes-greenough-vs-common.html

What would Science be without microscopes? I can’t imagine being able to teach my students about science without this indispensable optical instrument. In fact, I own two types of microscopes: a stereo microscope and a compound microscope ( to understand the different I recommend this article).

I wanted a well-built microscope that can withstand years of use. I specifically wanted quality components and construction that will ensure the device can last a lifetime. I looked for a model with a well-built and sturdy frame. I read somewhere how the best ones are constructed of metallic alloys that ensure minimal vibration.

This also provides reduced fluctuation due to variations in temperature. I never even looked at plastic microscopes because I wasn’t buying a toy–I was buying a useful optical instrument and nothing less. For those thinking of getting a microscope, be wary of models that have been chromed or painted to look like they are made of metal.

The optical lenses of my microscopes are made of glass. Attached to the metal frame are metal focus gears that are connected in turn with screws made of metal. I made sure the finish of both devices is resistant to reagents used for specimen treatment and mounting. Since the vital moving parts deserve more than just grease, I made sure they had ball bearings that ensure smooth operations.

My advice when buying online? Compare the instrument’s actual weight and measurements to get a clue on the sturdiness and size of the unit. Do not rely on shipping weight, as it can include packaging components.

Good quality microscopes are painted, sanded then painted again, and then to ensure durability, are subjected to a baking process.

The most crucial detail on any microscope is the optics, no matter how they just form part of the entire package. This means a quality focus system should accompany top-quality lenses, which are worth next to nothing unless packaged so. Therefore, it is best to assess a microscope as an entire unit and not just according to its individual components.

Microscope objective lenses are evaluated based on international standards, which include Deutsche Industrie Norm (DIN) and JIS, the latter being a Japanese standard. It is always good advice to get a microscope that conforms to the DIN standards for length and threading. This will enable you to replace any damaged or lost objective lens with any lens from any microscope brand.

A microscope without a DIN standard compliance is rendered useless should the lenses get stolen, lost or damaged.

Achromatic lenses are best thanks to their being color corrected. This means each objective lens is constructed using 10 or more glass lenses correctly configured together to ensure clarity and the ability to view an image. Achromatic lenses also ensure a flat image that gets focused while eliminating any aberration.

Fine lenses are made while adhering to stringent processes ( more on this ). Achromatic lenses place any spherical and achromatic aberrations in the field of view’s outer 40 percent. Typically, the field of view’s outer rim will look curved out of focus, which is normal since the subject is to be centered anyway, and which also means you won’t even need to look at the outer rim.

Bear in mind that 100-percent aberration-free lenses, otherwise known as Plan Achromat lenses, come with a hefty price tag and are usually part of research and medical microscopes that cost upwards of $1000. All that students, schools and hobbyists need are achromatic lenses.

Stay away from toy microscopes with plastic lenses that only provide fuzzy images.

Look for an instrument with an eyepiece that offers a wide field of view, which ensures a significantly larger lens opening compared to an instrument that doesn’t have a wide FOV. The wide field of view makes it easy to position your eye into the eyepiece. My microscopes have wide field eyepieces each measuring 18mm, as is typical.

The wide field of view also enables me to teach kids about microscopy effortlessly. They can easily look at what I had brought into focus.

A microscope is an instrument that is fun to use. Make sure you get a top quality instrument to make the most of the device for learning and as a hobby.

Useful children’s books about microscopes



The microscope is an instrument that aids in viewing objects that can’t be seen by the naked eye alone because of their small size. The science of observing really small objects using the microscope is called microscopy. When you call something microscopic, it means the object is not visible to the eye unless a microscope is used.

Microscopes can have an optical design, which utilizes light to deliver a visible and bigger image of the sample. Electron microscopes include scanning electron and transmission electron models. There are also ultra microscopes and various types of scanning probe microscopes.

If your child shows an interest in microscopy, or the study of tiny objects using a microscope, it is best to invest in some books about microscopes for children. This way, you wouldn’t need to memorize a bunch of names for the various parts of the instrument since your child can be guided with illustrations and explanations about this type of device. You can even read the book with your child in case they have difficulty understanding or reading some technical terms in the book.

A very well-written website on this subject is edmundoptics.com. I encourage everyone reading this article.


These are my favorite children’s books on microscopes:


The Microscope Book was made available on Amazon in paperback on June 30, 1997, written by Shar Levine and Leslie Johnstone, with illustrations by David Sovka. Best for children from 10 years and older, this provides an excellent introduction to the world of microscopy. It outlines the various types of microscopes and provides a physical description of the parts of the instrument.

It provides instructions on how to focus the optical system and of how to keep a journal for microscopy projects. The project materials are easily available. There are countless simple experiments provided for the young learner. We have this book in the school library’s Science section so I encourage my students to borrow it when they get the chance.


Written by Richard Headstrom, an experienced natural science writer and teacher, Adventures with a Microscope in paperback was released through Amazon on June 1, 1977. Get your child a simple microscope and this book, and you surely will be left alone to do work for a long time. With 59 wonderful adventures to explore the natural world, this book keeps your young scientist occupied so you can be left in peace.

Your child will delight in the various discoveries to be made on the interesting structures of a variety of microscopic organisms as well as everyday foods and objects that can be observed under the fine lens of a microscope, for endless possibilities.

Our school library also has the library bound version of Janice VanCleave’s Microscopes and Magnifying Lenses: Mind-boggling Chemistry and Biology Experiments You Can Turn Into Science Fair Projects, 1st Edition. The author ensured this to be nicely put together to sustain the interest of the young reader.

Focusing on the use of a microscope for school science projects, this is ideal for students ages 9 through 12 years old. The softcover version has 112 pages in all.


Those are just some of the books worth investing in if you want to encourage your child to make the most of microscopy and an exciting new microscope. Any one of them should provide the complete science experience for your budding scientist.

The Author



Hi, my name is Julie. I work as a Science teacher for the public school system. I love my job and I love the kids I work with. I believe in the value of letting my wards learn through discovery by themselves. My job is just to facilitate and not dictate, because children learn more and much better on a collaborative level but not with a dictatorial manner. I believe my greatest fulfillment will be seeing these kids someday with established careers in their chosen paths.

For now, I just enjoy teaching them about volcanoes, plants and animals and a whole lot of wonderful things. Who knows which of them will become a Doctor someday and circle around to me saying they learned from me and I somehow inspired them in a way to focus on Science. But enough dreaming for now, because I wouldn’t want to bore you this early in the day.

I am pretty excited about this blog that I have started. It’s going to be a means for me to share my passion for books, specifically reading them. I shall be writing 2 to 3 posts about my favorite books and then go on to write more posts about optics and everything a child would be interested in when they want to work in a laboratory setting someday.

I know it is going to be a fun journey, because the Science of optics always is. From binoculars to telescopes to microscopes, there is so much to learn about optics. Pardon me if the Science teacher in me starts to kick in at this point. You see, I want this blog to integrate my passion for my job as a Science teacher, as well as the passion I have for books when I am not caught up in the demands in my job.

They say when you love your job, you will never have to work a day in your life. Well, I am that. I love my job not only for the way it puts food on the table and helps me pay back my student loans, but most especially for the way I am able to buy books I love with the money I earn. I believe I have already progressed from the mushy love stories of yesteryear to the contemporary mainstream books of today.

I would dearly appreciate it if we could use this blog as a means to share our genuine passion for books and reading. I do not favor any particular genre here, just as long as I don’t fall asleep and I manage to go way past the first page. Let’s use this blog as a way to share what we love about reading. Tell me what will keep you reading a book and perhaps we can find a common ground there. Don’t hold back on the reviews okay?