If I could study/specialize in any subject of my choice in the UK, it would be Physics with specialization in Astrophysics at Cambridge University and I would also like to meet Stephen Hawking while studying there. I got my first astrophysics book when I was 10 years old from one of my relatives as a birthday present. It was actually two books. I still have those books and read it from time to time. One of the books was on Galaxies and the other one was about the Sun, the biggest member in our solar system.
Before that, I actually didn’t know anything about astrophysics ( how could I ? I was only 10 years old … ). Reading those books actually gave me a new insight into what happens in our universe and how the humankind is tiny and insignificant against the forces of nature.
Both the books were pretty great actually. One of the reasons that I was so fascinated by Astrophysics is because everything involved with it had a very high magnitude and everything was “astronomical”. In my opinion, many people like Astrophysics so much is because of the big numbers.
For example, the universe was created by the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago, Earth is at a distance of 150 million km from the Sun, a Supernova has the ability to release energy equivalent to billions of Atom bombs that were dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Andromeda and the Milky Way galaxy are destined to collide 4 billions years from now. All these big numbers that are associated with Astrophysics have always fascinated me.
Soon, my interest in Astrophysics became more and more intense. I learned about different stuff about Astrophysics like Black Holes, Red Giants, Dwarf Stars, Supernova, Hypernova, Neutron Stars, Pulsars, Quasars, Super Massive Black Holes, the popular Big Bang Theory ( not the TV show ), Gamma Ray Bursts etc.
In between all these, I also became a big fan of Stephen Hawking who is currently working in Cambridge University ( one of my very reasons to study there ). One of the first things I learned about him was his work on Hawking Radiation ( a theory that proposes Black Holes emit radiation ). I also came to know about how the Universe would come to an end one day. In this case, the two popular theories are the Big Rip which proposes that all the matter in the universe will be torn apart due to the expansion of the universe and Big Crunch which proposes that the expansion of the universe will be reversed.
Last year, I bought Stephen Hawking’s The Grand Design which is really a great book. One of the reasons I’m a fan of him is because he always explains complicated things very simply. Even though Stephen Hawking is one of the greatest scientists in history, never once you will find scientific and complicated terms in his book. He always likes to keep things simple one and that’s one of the reasons that his books are so popular among youngsters.
Another favorite writer of mine is John Gribbin. He is actually a very popular writer on Science. His books are actually more detailed when it comes to describing facts. His book is more suitable for intermediate level Astrophysics readers especially for those who have some knowledge about Astrophysics. Even though I like his books, I still prefer Stephen Hawking’s books.
Even though I’ve read about Stephen Hawking’s String theory, I didn’t understand much. Learning more about the String Theory and how he came up with it would be one of my goals if I ever get an opportunity to study Astrophysics at Cambridge University.