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    Stephen Hawking’s New Clothes?

    It’s a superficial bore when people take strikingly deviant positions on a subject for the obvious purpose of being controversial, suggesting some intellectual flare, and drawing attention. That is not my impression of Philip Ball in Prospect, in his The Hawking Delusion. And it is, on the other hand, always a refreshment to read someone genuinely breaking through the usual recitation of uncritically received wisdom. Most people will be astonished to hear that Hawking is not rated by his peers among the top ten physicists even of the 20th century, let alone of all time. They probably imagine he has so far been denied a Nobel prize out of sheer…