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Hawking creates alter ego in kid's book

LONDON, April 3 (UPI) -- Professor Stephen Hawking's daughter says the children's book she co-wrote with her father features a "fictional alter ego" for the British scientist.

In "George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt," Eric, a brilliant scientist, helps his son, George, save Earth from a robot. Father and son travel to Mars for the mission.

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Hawking, perhaps the most famous living physicist, has suffered from a neurological disease since he was in graduate school that has put him in a wheelchair able to communicate only with computer assistance.

Lucy Hawking told The Daily Telegraph in an interview that Eric is her father "as he was when he was a young man, before his disability and before his fame."

"He loves the idea of having a fictional alter ego who actually gets to visit outer space, rather than just thinking about it all the time," she said.

She said her father believes the books will encourage children to go into science.

"There's this idea that scientists are lonely white-coated figures who spend their lives on their own in a tower, with lots of bubbling things in test tubes," she said. "What the books show is that being a scientist is actually very collaborative process."

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Hawking has had other chances to act out his space travel fantasy. In one episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," he appeared as his own hologram in a poker game with Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton and Cmdr. Data.

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