Physicists Werner Israel and Stephen Hawking share a chat. (Photo UVic.ca)

Book donated to University of Victoria reveals forgotten letter from Stephen Hawking

First-edition Hawking book yields personalized letter to UVic prof

The donation of a vintage first-edition Stephen Hawking book made to the University of Victoria Libraries archive this year yielded an additional prize.

Folded inside the book – a 1973 copy of the book The large scale structure of space-time by Hawking and G.F.R. Ellis – was a personalized letter from the famous English physicist, Hawking, to the book’s owner, retired UVic professor emeritus and physicist Werner Israel.

Now 87, Israel was once a colleague of Hawking’s and assisted on two published works by Hawking, General Relativity: An Einstein Centenary Survey and Three Hundred Years of Gravitation. His donation to UVic Libraries includes plenty of books but the biggest find was the letter, as reported in the recent issue of the Ring Magazine.

RELATED: Stephen Hawking dies at 76

“Library staff discovered a signed letter from Stephen to Israel, dated February 6, 1981 … the letter was tucked into the back dust jacket, along with two newspaper clippings about Hawking’s latest accomplishment, and Israel’s pencilled summary of important formulae on the flyleaf.”

Israel added that his role in editing the books used his expertise but did not involve active research, he said.

“…There was no need for daily consultation after the initial planning of topics and authors. I undertook most of the routine work, which would have been a burden for Stephen. But it was, of course, Stephen’s name and charisma which brought ready acceptances from all of the distinguished authors we invited.”

RELATED: Hundreds line Cambridge streets to honour Stephen Hawking

Later, Hawking nominated Israel for a fellowship among the Royal Society which he achieved in 1986.

Werner still volunteers with ESL students and lives with his wife Inge.

reporter@saanichnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

District looking for public input on cycling plan

Survey is open to the public until May 25

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Flooding highly unlikely this year throughout Skeena watershed

Region’s snowpack among lowest in the province

Cameras and convoys: Graduation in the age of COVID-19

Schools in Terrace and Kitimat are thinking outside the box to give students a graduation ceremony

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

COVID-19 checkpoints ‘up to them,’ Bonnie Henry says of remote B.C. villages

Support local tourism economy, but only if you’re invited in

Still a lot of work to do to fully connect regional district

Draft strategy shows dependence on on single fibre optic cable route, poor cellular service on roads

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Most Read