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Thursday, March 15, 2018

RIP Stephen Hawking: a brief bio and the Hawking vs Einstein rap battle

Stephen Hawking (wiki) died yesterday, which was also Einstein's birthday:

We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us very special. 

~ Stephen Hawking (quoted in Der Spiegel, 1989) 

In effect, we have redefined the task of science to be the discovery of laws that will enable us to predict events up to the limits set by the uncertainty principle. 

~ Hawking (A Brief History of Time, Ch. 11) 

I think it's important for scientists to explain their work, particularly in cosmology. This now answers many questions once asked of religion. 

~ Hawking (interview in The Guardian, 27 September 2005) 

It's a waste of time to be angry about my disability. One has to get on with life, and I haven't done badly. People won't have time for you if you are always angry and complaining. 

~ Ibid. 

On the whole, the public shows good taste in its choice of idols. Einstein and Hawking earned their status as superstars, not only by their scientific discoveries but by their outstanding human qualities. Both of them fit easily into the role of icon, responding to public adoration with modesty and good humor and with provocative statements calculated to command attention. Both of them devoted their lives to an compromising struggle to penetrate the deepest mysteries of nature, and both still had time left over to care about the practical worries of ordinary people. The public rightly judged them to be genuine heroes, friends of humanity as well as scientific wizards. 

~ Freeman Dyson (b. 1923) ( "The 'Dramatic Picture' of Richard Feynman," The New York Review of Books, 14 July 2011)

British theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen William Hawking, was born  on January 8, 1942 in Oxford, where his mother had moved from London to escape the Blitz. Educated at Oxford and Cambridge, Hawking became the Lucasian professor of mathematics at the latter institution in 1979, following pioneering work in the quantum and relativistic mechanics that underlie the "big bang" theory of the origin of the universe and the creation of "black holes" in space. 

Since 1962, he suffered from amytrophic lateral sclerosis ("ALS" (wiki), also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease) which had confined him to a wheel-chair and left him physically unable to speak clearly or to write. Nonetheless, his popular exposition of cosmography, A Brief History of Time (1988), become a best-seller, and he remained one of the world's best known scientists. 

Further reading on the disease: How did Stephen Hawking live so long with ALS?

Here's a brief biography:

And here's the Einstein vs Stephen Hawking Epic Rap Battle of History:

1 comment:

  1. You can mention he was born on the anniversary of Galileo's death and died on the anniversary of Einstein's birth. Also, I have always loved that Epic Rap Battle. Einstein won, cuz nothing other insult rose to the level of calling out the flaws in Hawking Black Hole theory on information.