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Stephen Hawking (1942-2018)

The Tau Zero Foundation expresses it deepest sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of Stephen Hawking. His death is a loss to the the world, to our scientific communities, and to all who value courage in the face of extreme odds.

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{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Michael March 14, 2018, 15:07

    Professor Hawking could work with the complex world of space-time amongst the most gifted scientists humanity could offer and could also communicate that enlightenment to those who were less fortunate.

    R.I.P Goodman

  • Geoffrey Hillend March 14, 2018, 16:43

    He was not only a brilliant theoretical astrophysicist, but a great teacher. I’ve read all of his books after I read his revision of a Brief History in Time which inspired me to read more about about theoretical physics, cosmology, astrophysics, the life and death of stars, quantum mechanics and quantum field theory and get into that subject more deeply since he explained explained some of the rules of physics clearly in a way which was easy for me to understand.

  • Antonio March 14, 2018, 19:29

    R.I.P. He was surely the most known scientist of our time and a great person.

    Here we are, disscussing about traveling to other stars while we haven’t the slightiest idea, after almost two centuries of the discovery of ALS, what causes it and how to cure it. Sometimes I ask myself whether we are mistaken in our priorities.

    • J. Jason Wentworth March 15, 2018, 18:20

      Having two incurable and little-researched diseases (Ankylosing Spondylitis and Lymphedema) that rob people of quality of life, shorten life, and can facilitate horrible and painful deaths from secondary causes (a year ago I very nearly died from MRSA [flesh-eating bacteria] and Pseudomonas infections, due to Lymphedema-caused persistent open leg wounds), I don’t think that our priorities are mistaken, and here is why:

      Compared to the relatively little research funding and effort that ^are^ devoted to finding better treatments–and, hopefully, cures–for these diseases, starflight research is funded and run like a kitchen table, mail-order business. So little goes to interstellar spaceflight research, and its ultimate payoff–not to mention the benefits of its technological spin-offs along the way to its goal–are so large, that I do not begrudge the paltry sums that are spent on it instead of on medical research; indeed, I’d like to see more spent on starflight R & D. Arthur C. Clarke also pointed out, when cancer research advocates complained in the 1960s that the money spent on Apollo should go to them instead, that money for one program is never switched to another.

    • ljk March 26, 2018, 9:41

      Americans spend two billion dollars each year on chewing gum. CBS once spent half a billion dollars for the rights to broadcast National Football League (NFL) games. How about we go after them instead of space science?

  • Project Studio March 15, 2018, 0:53

    We are fortunate to have lived in his time, as were those who lived in the time of Einstein, Maxwell, Newton, Kepler. Confined to a chair, he traveled billions of light years and billions of years with his mind. He gave us so very much.

  • Jeff Wright March 21, 2018, 16:51

    A toast to the future then–to empty wheelchairs, and fuller minds

  • ljk March 27, 2018, 9:39

    The 1983 BBC Horizons documentary Stephen Hawking’s Universe online here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGqETFazEVY

    It is interesting to note how sedate this documentary is compared to the recent Nova program on black holes, which was a constant barrage of special effects, bombastic music, and a host commenting on everything. This is how the PBS series used to be, as it was essentially the American version of the British series, and even sometimes directly took episodes from its overseas brother.

  • ljk March 28, 2018, 11:03

    What Stephen Hawking’s Final Paper Says (And Doesn’t Say)

    By Nathaniel Scharping | March 20, 2018 4:51 pm

    Before he died, renowned cosmologist Stephen Hawking submitted a paper, with co-author Thomas Hertog, to an as-yet-unknown journal. Hawking’s last known scientific writing, the paper deals with the concept of the multiverse and a theory known as cosmic inflation.

    Though the paper currently exists only in pre-print form, meaning it hasn’t completed the process of peer-review, it’s received a significant amount of coverage. “Stephen Hawking’s last paper,” after all, does have a bit of a mythological ring to it.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2018/03/20/stephen-hawking-final-paper/

    The paper here:

    https://arxiv.org/pdf/1707.07702.pdf

  • ljk March 30, 2018, 9:32

    Stephen Hawking: The Universe Does Not Forget, and Neither Will We

    His work distinguished him as one of the greatest physicists of our generation; his character distinguished him as one of its greatest men.

    By Yuri Milner on March 29, 2018

    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/stephen-hawking-the-universe-does-not-forget-and-neither-will-we/

  • ljk April 6, 2018, 16:00

    Why Stephen Hawking Was Afraid of Aliens

    Last updated on April 5th, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    by John Tuttle

    Professor Stephen Hawking, the theoretical physicist hailed as one of the most brilliant scientists of the modern age, had genuine anxieties. Thus, intelligence does not necessarily reject fear. Hawking had one fear in particular which deserves noting, namely humanity’s encounter with advanced alien life.

    Several of the late physicist’s theories have been shown to be quite accurate and are widely accepted in the scientific community. When he spoke (through his speech synthesizer) people gave ear and were attentive. Like any man, he too had his faults both public and personal. But simply because the man has passed away, does not mean we should disregard what he did and said during his time on Earth.

    He made numerous predictions about the present and future problems that the human race faces, involving issues such as overpopulation and artificial intelligence. Perhaps one of his most intriguing and logically-stated beliefs was a concern for detrimental interaction between human beings and extraterrestrial beings.

    Unlike astrophysicist Carl Sagan, who was rather optimistic about extraterrestrial contact, Hawking worried about the effects such contact might have on our race, even though the Professor assisted in founding projects to seek intelligent alien organisms. Some may fear aliens as they are depicted in sci-fi and horror stories: ugly creatures capable of taking over human beings and using them as their hosts.

    The physical appearance of hypothetical aliens is not what alarmed Stephen Hawking. It was something a bit more sinister. In short, he apparently was cautious of entertaining alien contact because of the possibility that intelligent alien civilizations may want to dominate our race. They might do this either by enslaving people or slaughtering them, or both.

    Full article here:

    https://www.zmescience.com/science/stephen-hawking-afraid-aliens/

    To quote:

    He has related these concerns publicly as early as 2010. In 2016, he speculated that if Earth received a signal of alien origins “we should be wary of answering back.” He further argued this point by employing historical references. “Meeting an advanced civilization could be like Native Americans encountering Columbus,” he said. “That didn’t turn out so well.” Sometime in the future, if we’re not cautious in the search for alien life, humans might rue ignoring Stephen Hawking’s worries about extraterrestrials.

    I addressed Hawking’s views on ETI in this two part CD article:

    https://www.centauri-dreams.org/2010/10/05/why-do-we-fear-aliens/

    https://www.centauri-dreams.org/2010/10/06/rethinking-alien-encounter/

  • ljk April 9, 2018, 12:26

    Stephen Hawking: blending science with science fiction

    The key to understanding the late physicist’s work lies in the relationship between science and science fiction, says Christopher Benjamin Menadue.

    09 April 2018

    Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking died recently at the age of 76.

    He was a man who had a significant influence on the way we view science today, noted for his work with Sir Roger Penrose on the singularities at the origins and future of the universe, starting with the Big Bang, and ending in black holes. His work had significant implications for the search for a unified theory that would link Einstein’s general relativity with quantum mechanics, and discussions that originated from his work continue to reverberate in the field of theoretical physics.

    Beyond doing an excellent job of raising the public profile of black holes, Hawking also wrote and spoke publicly on issues beyond his research. He expressed concerns about the possible impacts of artificial intelligence, and the questionable wisdom of attracting alien visitors.

    Was he presenting new concerns? Or were these ideas already deeply rooted in prior science, or envisaged in fiction? The answer lies in the complex relationship between science and science fiction.

    Full article here:

    https://cosmosmagazine.com/science-fiction/stephen-hawking-blending-science-with-science-fiction

  • ljk May 2, 2018, 12:26

    Taming the multiverse: Stephen Hawking’s final theory about the big bang

    Professor Stephen Hawking’s final theory on the origin of the universe, which he worked on in collaboration with Professor Thomas Hertog from KU Leuven, has been published today in the Journal of High Energy Physics.

    https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/taming-the-multiverse-stephen-hawkings-final-theory-about-the-big-bang

  • ljk June 14, 2018, 12:55

    This is certainly ironic, considering Dr. Hawking’s Independence Day-style attitude towards ETI…

    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-44481914

    Stephen Hawking’s words will be beamed into space

    June 14, 2018

    The words of renowned physicist Professor Stephen Hawking will be beamed into space as a “message of peace and hope”, his family has said.

    His words have been set to an original score by composer Vangelis, famous for his Chariots of Fire film theme.

    The music will be beamed towards the nearest black hole following a service of thanksgiving for Professor Hawking’s life at Westminster Abbey on Friday.

    He died in March, aged 76, after a long battle with motor neurone disease.

    The satellite broadcast will take place after the service, which will feature readings and addresses from people including Benedict Cumberbatch, who played the physicist in a BBC drama, and astronaut Tim Peake.

    The music chosen to accompany her father’s words is a “beautiful and symbolic gesture that creates a link between our father’s presence on this planet, his wish to go into space and his explorations of the universe in his mind”, the professor’s daughter Lucy said.

    She added: “The broadcast will be beamed towards the nearest black hole, 1A 0620-00, which lives in a binary system with a fairly ordinary orange dwarf star.

    “It is a message of peace and hope, about unity and the need for us to live together in harmony on this planet.”

    The composition will be beamed into space from the European Space Agency satellite dish at Ceberos in Spain.

    A CD of the piece – a personal tribute to the professor by Vangelis, the Greek composer of electronic, progressive, jazz, pop rock and orchestral music – will be given to all guests at the Westminster Abbey service.

    Family and friends are set to attend as well as up to 1,000 members of the public who applied for seats in a ballot.

    Prof Hawking died in Cambridge on 14 March and thousands lined the streets of the city for his funeral later that month.

    During the thanksgiving service his ashes will be interred between Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.

  • ljk June 15, 2018, 11:59

    Prof Hawking: A fitting way to go

    By Pallab Ghosh

    Science correspondent, BBC News, inside Westminster Abbey

    June 15, 2018

    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-44500291

    To quote:

    A message from Prof Hawking was beamed towards the nearest black hole as his remains were laid to rest in London’s Westminster Abbey.

    To futuristic music specially commissioned from composer Vangelis, Stephen Hawking said: “I have spent my life travelling across the Universe inside my mind.

    “Through theoretical physics I have sought to answer some of the great questions but there are other challenges, other big questions which must be answered, and these will need a new generation who are interested, engaged and with an understanding of science.”

    Despatched by a European Space Agency antenna in Spain, his broadcast will reach the Black Hole A0620-00 in 3,500 years’ time. When it arrives, this message of hope will be consumed and only released long in the future in a form of energy predicted and named after him – Hawking Radiation.

    What a fitting way to go.

    • ljk June 15, 2018, 15:17

      I really have to wonder if anyone who had planned that METI of Hawking’s words to that black hole (why can’t we call them collapsars just like we do pulsars and quasars?) considered the possibility that an advanced ETI might be living there and utilizing its incredible energy resources:

      https://www.centauri-dreams.org/2015/05/08/seti-the-black-hole-alternative/

      I say this because Hawking was quite hesitant about ETI, especially the kind that might show up in vast WorldShips and ravish our planet and solar system. Now his words might one day catch someone’ attention.

      Personally I have no issues here, I am just speaking in regards to Hawking’s thoughts on the subject.

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