App Review: Stephen Hawking's Pocket Universe

Pocket Universe iOS app

With the recent passing of physics legend Stephen Hawking, many are revisiting his accomplishments or becoming curious about his discoveries for the first time. Among his many achievements, Hawking launched an iOS app to help anyone interested in physics to learn about the latest developments in the field. Pocket Universe is an updated digital version of Hawking's bestselling book A Brief History of Time.

The app organizes and presents in digital form the main concepts from Hawking's 1996 book, with the addition of new topics such as dark energy and the information paradox. There are three main topics, representing some of Hawking's most important work:

  • Singularity theorems with Roger Penrose
  • Hawking Radiation from black holes
  • The no boundary proposal, to unify Einstein's work with quantum mechanics

Writing from Cambridge in July 2016, Hawking explains he seeks to "highlight the excitement of these discoveries, and to offer an understanding of the new picture of reality that is emerging as a result." There's no shortage of information presented in the app, which keeps track of which sections and subsections have already been read. This is helpful, and it's always possible to return to a previous section or page.

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Each main topic is divided into three subtopics, which in turn offer several different menus of content. When reading content, the app displays a bar on the right side indicating your current position on the page and how much content remains in the section.

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Illustrations and animations help to make advanced physics concepts more relatable to the layperson. This is where the digital edition takes advantage of iOS where a printed book cannot. Hawking's app delivers concise summaries along with the option to delve deeper into specific subjects.

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Pocket Universe offers special sections titled Author's Updates and Deeper Dives, with the latest information. Getting more details on a specific topic is just a tap away.
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The tag line for Stephen Hawking's Pocket Universe is:


This seems to be the case, as Pocket Universe delivers a vast wealth of information directly to your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Easy navigation and a fresh design make reading about the fundamental laws of nature a breeze.

Anyone interested in physics will find a wealth of information in Stephen Hawking's Pocket Universe. Find it on the App Store for less than the price of a book at $2.99.