Know Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking was born on January 8, 1942 and died on March 14, 2018. He was the wheelchair-ridden scientist who gave lectures with the aid of a computerized speech synthesizer. He was a British scientist, a renowned professor at Cambridge University in England, and the author of the best-selling book “A Brief History of Time.” He performed revolutionary work in physics and cosmology. He is responsible for bringing science to the common man. He is noted for his study of black holes and the origin of the universe. There is also a film based on his life ‘The Theory Of Everything’.

  • Hawkings was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) at the age of 21 while he was at the University of Cambridge studying cosmology.  ALS is a rare neurological disease that destroys the neurons which control voluntary muscles in the body. It was miraculous that he lived for as long as he did with that condition because of his determination to overcome unexpected adversity. As he rightly said, “However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.”
  • In 1974, Hawking’s radiation theory research made him a popular within the scientific world. He showed that black holes emit radiation and should eventually evaporate and disappear. This discovery set Hawking on a career path marked by awards, notoriety and distinguished titles that reshaped the thinking about black holes and the universe. He was named as a fellow of the Royal Society and even merited the prestigious Albert Einstein Award.
  • In 1988 Hawking skyrocketed to global popularity with the publication of A Brief History of Time. The book is a description of cosmology for the masses and offered an overview of how the universe actually is and how we see it. It was an instant success.
  • In 2007, he made an important progress towards space travel. He had the opportunity to experience a zero-gravity environment. He was freed from his wheelchair in a Boeing 727 designed for training and experienced bursts of weightlessness.

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  • Hawking attended the Sweden conference in August 2015, to discuss new theories about black holes and the infamous black hole  “information paradox.” The solution to the paradox of what becomes of an object that enters a black hole could be black hole ‘hairs’ that form on the event horizon, making a kind of two-dimensional holographic imprint of whatever’s been sucked in.
  • In March 2018 Neil deGrasse Tyson interviewed Stephen Hawking, they discussed what he conceived of the universe as it existed before the Big Bang. Hawking said, that one could regard imaginary and real-time beginning at the South Pole. There is nothing south of the South Pole, so there was nothing around before the Big Bang.
  • He used a speech-generating device (SGD) or a voice output communication aid, this replaces speech or writing. His cheek movement was detected by an infrared switch mounted on his spectacles. This switch was his interface with the computer. The software ACAT included a word prediction algorithm provided by SwiftKey, trained on his books and lectures, so he usually only had to type the first couple of characters and select the whole word. Once the sentence was formed, it was sent to the speech synthesizer.  This is how he conveyed his enlightening thoughts and lectures.

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  • His last paper predicted multiverse also how our universe would eventually fade into blackness as the stars run out of energy. “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail, There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” said the atheist and the greatest mind ever about death.

By NSS

19th March 2018

 

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