I’ve written about professor Stephen Hawking a couple of times. The man and his career are so immense that a person can only touch on portions of highlights of his life. Ever since I heard of him in the 1970s, I’ve been captivated and intrigued by his writings and teachings. He has often explained why he does what he does. “I want to know why the universe exists, why there is something greater than nothing.” (I have put all his quotes in blue.)
One reason I enjoyed reading his material is because he has a way of explaining highly technical information to layman to which we can relate. He can teach anecdotally without his teachings being anecdotes. Hawking also entertains while telling us about the universe. “The radiation left over from the Big Bang is the same as that in your microwave oven but very much less powerful. It would heat your pizza only to minus 271.3 C – not much good for defrosting the pizza, let alone cooking it.”
I’ve wondered about Hawking’s existance under the influence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS. Has this hindered his thought processes or has it enhanced his thinking skills? That is something I’d like to ask him. I’m of the opinion that he encountered this hurdle, copes with its reality and then moves on, doing what he does best, think.
“People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining.” Hawking has proven time and again to be a very popular teacher as well as a learned thinker. Stephen Hawking has achieved rock star popularity in an unlikely field. Very few people have brought such celebrity to astrophysics or any other scientific discipline. The only other man of this sort who comes to mind is Carl Sagan.
“There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” Hawking’s great mind doesn’t only analyze higher mathematics and the objects and forces of the universe. He has obviously given much thought to more mundane topics, such as our species’ place on earth and how we relate to our planetary home. “We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and stupidity. We cannot remain looking inwards at ourselves on a small and increasingly polluted and overcrowded planet.”
Even though Hawking has said that philosophy is dead, he is capable of making philosophical statements. “Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.” Like all of us, he has certainly given much thought to his own eventual demise. “I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first.”
I think he speaks for many of us, in that respect.
The Blue Jay of Happiness likes to ponder this conundrum: “Nothing cannot exist forever.”–Stephen Hawking