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Transcript of Stephen Hawking
A man that found life too beautiful to give up
1. Its beautiful beginning
Early Life & College
Being born on 8 January 1942 in Oxford, England, he showed prodigious talents as a child, if unorthodox study methods. On leaving school he got a place at University College, Oxford University where he studied Physics. His physics tutor at Oxford, Robert Berman, later said that Stephen Hawkins was an extraordinary student. He used few books and made no notes, but could work out theorem’s and solutions in a way other students couldn't. He also commented "the examiners then were intelligent enough to realize they were talking to someone far more clever than most of themselves."
2. The difficulties it presents us
Symptoms & Disease
It was in Cambridge that Stephen Hawking first started to develop symptoms of neuro muscular problems – a type of motor neuron disease. This quickly affected his physical ability. His speech became slurred and he become unable to even feed himself. At one stage, the doctors gave him a life span of three years. However, the progress of the disease slowed down and he has managed to overcome his severe disability to continue his research and active public engagements. At Cambridge a fellow scientist developed a synthetic speech device which enabled him to speak by using a touch pad. The particular speech synthesiser hardware he uses, DECtalk, which has an American English accent, is no longer being produced. Asked why he has still kept the same voice after so many years, Hawking stated that he has not heard a voice he likes better and that he identifies with it even though the synthesiser is both large and fragile by current standards and when he prepares answers, his system produces words at a rate of about one per minute. Hawking's setup uses a predictive text entry system, which requires only the first few characters to auto-complete the word, but as he can only use his cheek for data entry, constructing complete sentences takes time (About 7 mins per sentence)
3. The many mysteries it beholds
When Hawking began his graduate studies in the 1960s, there was much debate in the physics community about the opposing theories of the creation of the universe: big bang, and steady state. Hawking and his Cambridge friend and colleague, Roger Penrose, showed in 1970 that if the universe obeys general relativity and fits any of the Friedmann models, then it must have begun as a singularity. This work showed that, far from being mathematical curiosities which appear only in exceptional circumstances, singularities are a fairly common feature of general relativity. For their essay on this subject, Hawking and Penrose were jointly awarded the Adams prize in 1966. This essay served as the basis for a textbook, The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time, that Hawking published with George Ellis in 1973.
In 1969, Hawking accepted a specially created 'Fellowship for Distinction in Science' to remain at Cambridge. In the early 1970s, Hawking's work with Brandon Carter, Werner Israel and D. Robinson strongly supported John Wheeler's no-hair theorem – that any black hole can be fully described by the three properties of mass, angular momentum, and electric charge. With Bardeen and Carter, he proposed the four laws of black hole mechanics, drawing an analogy with thermodynamics In 1974, he calculated that black holes should emit radiation, known today as Hawking radiation, until they exhaust their energy and evaporate.
Hawking was elected one of the youngest Fellows of the Royal Society in 1974, and in the same year he accepted the Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Scholar visiting professorship at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) to work with his friend on the faculty, Kip Thorne. He continues to maintain ties to Caltech, having spent a month each year there since 1992.
The mid to late 1970s were a period of growing popularity and success for Hawking. His work was now much talked about; he was appearing in television documentaries, and in 1979 he became the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, a position he held for 30 years until his retirement in 2009.
On 19 December 2007, a statue of Hawking by artist Ian Walters was unveiled at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology, University of Cambridge. Buildings named after Hawking include the Stephen W. Hawking Science Museum in San Salvador, El Salvador, the Stephen Hawking Building in Cambridge, and the Stephen Hawking Centre at Perimeter Institute in Canada. In 2002, following a UK-wide vote, the BBC included him in their list of the 100 Greatest Britons.
Amongst many other achievements, he developed a mathematical model for Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. He has also undertook a lot of work on the nature of the Universe, The Big Bang and Black Holes.
Hawking has suggested that space is the Earth's long term hope and has indicated that he is almost certain that alien life exists in other parts of the universe: "To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational. The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like". He believes alien life not only certainly exists on planets but perhaps even in other places, like within stars or even floating in outer space. He has also warned that a few of these species might be intelligent and threaten Earth: "If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans". He has advocated that, rather than try to establish contact, humans should try to avoid contact with alien life forms.
In 2007, Hawking took a zero-gravity flight in a "Vomit Comet", courtesy of Zero Gravity Corporation, during which he experienced weightlessness eight times. He became the first quadriplegic to float in zero gravity. Before the flight Hawking said:
"Many people have asked me why I am taking this flight. I am doing it for many reasons. First of all, I believe that life on Earth is at an ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster such as sudden nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus, or other dangers. I think the human race has no future if it doesn't go into space. I therefore want to encourage public interest in space."
1. 1974 - Named a fellow of the Royal Society
2. 1975 - Awarded the Eddington Medal.
3. 1979 - Awarded the Albert Einstein Award.
4. 1988 - Awarded the Wolf Prize in Physics.
5. 1988 - His book 'A Brief History Of Time: From The Big Bang To Black Holes' was a best
seller right away.
6. 2006 - Awarded the Copley Medal by the Royal Society.
7. 2009 - Awarded the Presidential Medal Of Freedom, which is the highest honor a civilian
can obtain in the USA.
5. It's immeasurable universe
4. The ability to contribute & influence others
The story of a man who never gave up
5. Leaving your mark on the world
“My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.”