Stephen Hawking

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vishnu
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Stephen Hawking

Unread postby vishnu » Wed Mar 14, 2018 12:09 am

Saw him speak at my alma mater, the University of Minnesota campus Northrop Auditorium, 25 years or so ago (yeah, I know, I'm one of those old dudes!), as part of his world tour following his publications about the concept of imaginary time. He gave a prepared presentation and answered questions thereafter, using his computer controlled voice constructor. As a physics major I've always been a huge fan of his work, but in terms of his status as the "most famous scientist in the world," I think there are at least three physicists whose work has been more significant, Alan Guth, Andrei Linde, and John Preskill. Didn't see the recent Academy Award winning movie about him but heard it was good!
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Re: Stephen Hawking

Unread postby Trippynet » Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:23 am

I think Stephen Hawking is more widely known for a number of reasons (and not just the voice/wheelchair).

Firstly, the work he's done to try and bring some of his work and theories to the masses - In other words he had an ability to see through a lot of the cruft and to get to the point. Secondly, there is the whole adversity side of things. As someone who was given only a few years to live back when he was in his twenties, the work he's done since then despite his disability has been staggering, and is a huge inspiration to many people. Lastly was his personality and sense of humour. He had a life outside of science, played a number of cameos in several different comedy series, and was always ready with a humerous quip or two in interviews. He was once asked what he thought about his fame: "The downside of my celebrity is that I cannot go anywhere in the world without being recognised. It is not enough for me to wear dark sunglasses and a wig. The wheelchair gives me away".

Ultimately, was he the absolute best physicist of the last few decades? That's debatable. But he was the complete person and has inspired a generation. A very sad day, RIP.
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Re: Stephen Hawking

Unread postby computron » Wed Mar 14, 2018 3:15 am

Dad news, should it rest un oracle

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Re: Stephen Hawking

Unread postby roberttx » Wed Mar 14, 2018 4:01 am

I passed him in the street a couple of times, when I was an undergrad, but never had the balls to engage him in conversation. Which is indicative of how much in awe of him I was, as I once walked right up to a former astronaut who had walked on the moon and shook his hand.

A sad loss but his work will live on. I doubt that many of us could hope to leave such a legacy.

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Re: Stephen Hawking

Unread postby Oskar45 » Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:26 am

vishnu wrote:[…]but in terms of his status as the "most famous scientist in the world," I think there are at least three physicists whose work has been more significant, Alan Guth, Andrei Linde, and John Preskill.

The respective merit of Hawkins/Guth/Linde/Preskill is open to debate. But I venture to claim not too many have heard about the latter three - so, H. is certainly the 'most famous'.

Anyhow - S.H., RIP!
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Re: Stephen Hawking

Unread postby vishnu » Wed Mar 14, 2018 12:54 pm

Oskar45 wrote:
vishnu wrote:[…]but in terms of his status as the "most famous scientist in the world," I think there are at least three physicists whose work has been more significant, Alan Guth, Andrei Linde, and John Preskill.

The respective merit of Hawkins/Guth/Linde/Preskill is open to debate. But I venture to claim not too many have heard about the latter three - so, H. is certainly the 'most famous'.

Anyhow - S.H., RIP!

And in all honesty Hawking wasn't really an early universe specialist when Guth/Linde/Preskill were making their breakthroughs, though he certainly jumped into the fray right after! And yes, Hawking was very effective in bringing his work to the masses with his books, but so was Guth with his book "The Inflationary Universe."
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Re: Stephen Hawking

Unread postby uunix » Wed Mar 14, 2018 4:00 pm

I think for a man with such a debilitating disease he did rather well for himself and possibly us all. How many times do we look at ourselves and think 'heck yeah my eyes are working, I can talk, taste, legs are OK and 90% of me is just dam fine' ? And then look at the people who have all the functional parts and do nothing, nothing but badness, nothing towards the world we live in and most just give misery to people.. Top Trumps to Mr Hawkins, for all that he did in all the circumstances he had to battle.

I reckon we should take him for the man he was and not compare him others and things that could have been and weren't.
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Re: Stephen Hawking

Unread postby Intuition » Wed Mar 14, 2018 4:18 pm

I was pretty saddened to hear he had passed away last night. Was surprised it affected me so much to tell you the truth.

I think I have a soft spot for scientists that change paradigms or try to convey truth against the grain of commonly accepted norms.

Last book I read though on the state of the Universe was "The Whole Shebang" by Timothy Ferris. It was a great read (15 ears ago ish) but later I found out he wasn't really a scientist but a journalist. So my knowledge of the Universe falls under Disneyfied.

Yes, I know what everything is.. Stars, Galaxies, clusters, super clusters, dark matter, etc. I know the generally accepted image we have of the Universe we reside in, BUT, I think Tim's explanations over simplified a few concepts like if the Universe was expanding, collapsing or just slowly ever slowing down to heat death.
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Re: Stephen Hawking

Unread postby uunix » Wed Mar 14, 2018 4:23 pm

You know what.. like most theoretical scientists he pissed me off.. I saw a link that he'd solved travelling to mars in hours.. I read it.. and it was a fscking theory.. all he did was time travel me ten minuets arriving at the same point yet deleting the last ten minuets.
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Re: Stephen Hawking

Unread postby jpstewart » Wed Mar 14, 2018 4:37 pm

Trippynet wrote:Firstly, the work he's done to try and bring some of his work and theories to the masses - In other words he had an ability to see through a lot of the cruft and to get to the point. [...] Lastly was his personality and sense of humour. He had a life outside of science, played a number of cameos in several different comedy series, and was always ready with a humerous quip or two in interviews.

Those are the two traits I admired most about him. I remember reading A Brief History of Time and being struck by how easy-to-understand it was, and how light and entertaining it was to read. It was a good introduction to the material that could go a long way towards sparking somebody's interest in the field. Too many top scientists can't communicate with the average person. They assume you already know the fundamentals, that you're just as fascinated by it as they are, etc. Hawking, on the other hand, had the ability to connect with people outside his field and maybe even draw them into it.
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Re: Stephen Hawking

Unread postby mopar5150 » Wed Mar 14, 2018 5:14 pm

As others have said, it was his ability to explain highly complex ideas in a language I could (almost) understand. I bought this audio book years ago and have listened to it many times. I journey all over the west coast and found "The universe in a nutshell" to be great as you can pretty much pick any track and enjoy. If you spend any substantial time on the road I highly recommend it.


Just his determination to accomplish what he did despite his disease and all puts him on top for me. He will be missed.
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Re: Stephen Hawking

Unread postby roberttx » Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:23 pm

uunix wrote:I think for a man with such a debilitating disease he did rather well for himself and possibly us all. How many times do we look at ourselves and think 'heck yeah my eyes are working, I can talk, taste, legs are OK and 90% of me is just dam fine' ? And then look at the people who have all the functional parts and do nothing, nothing but badness, nothing towards the world we live in and most just give misery to people.. Top Trumps to Mr Hawkins, for all that he did in all the circumstances he had to battle.

I reckon we should take him for the man he was and not compare him others and things that could have been and weren't.


This.

jpstewart wrote:Hawking, on the other hand, had the ability to connect with people outside his field and maybe even draw them into it.


And this.

I wish that I had plucked up the confidence to go over and speak with him, when I had the chance - multiple chances, really. But, when you're a kid, you don't think that you'll ever not have the chance.

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Re: Stephen Hawking

Unread postby Oskar45 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 3:51 am

Intuition wrote:
Last book I read though on the state of the Universe was "The Whole Shebang" by Timothy Ferris. It was a great read (15 ears ago ish) but later I found out he wasn't really a scientist but a journalist. So my knowledge of the Universe falls under Disneyfied.

Wish many so-called scientists would write as lucid as this just-journalist. I suggest Brian Greene, "The Elegant Universe" as addition…he is a professor of physics, and he writes well.
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Re: Stephen Hawking

Unread postby Raion-Fox » Fri Mar 16, 2018 10:34 am

Can't say I agreed with everything he said but I respect the man for his constitution for nearly 40 years with ALS and his amazingly positive attitude.
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