After Carl Sagan’s Cosmos aired on PBS during the seventies, I became hooked with all things space related. I am fascinated still by the wonderous universe and all of its possibilities.
But it wasn’t until I read A Brief History in Time that I fully understood the complexity and the challenges of our universe.
Things like how a large star can implode in milliseconds to create something so dense that even light can’t escape and all the known laws of physics just don’t apply anymore. How within that point of no return, gravity is so dense that time stops…Gravity and Time being joined. The more the gravity, the slower the time.
He handled such complex mathematics that one just had to sit back and admire that mind of his.
Although I already had a tremendous repect for him, he did one thing more that made me admire him further. It had to do with “information” in and around a black hole. There is one rule in physics that is unchangeable and that is that information cannot be destroyed. Hawking said that information can be lost forever but only around a black hole. Enter fellow physicist Leonard Susskind who countered with his theory that information is never lost, even around a black hole. A wager over this was suggested and accepted by both parties. At the end of it all, Susskind was proven right and Hawking conceded. It wasn’t so much that the bet was made and that someone won and that someone lost that impressed me although the math around all this is impressive in of itself. What really had me smiling was that the scientific principle was applied. A theory was advanced from an eminent astrophysicist and other scientists including Susskind tested the theory to see if it was right. To his great credit, Hawking conceded when the facts were laid out before him.
It is the complete opposite of religion. Should a religious text say the earth is 6000 years old, then thats how old the earth is and thats that!!!! Should a text say that a group of people are evil, then they’re evil and don’t you dare doubt it or the consequences will be dire!
Science doesn’t work that way, if a theory is advanced, it is questioned and tested. Then and only then will something be proven or disproven.
Stephen Hawking was challenged…his stature like that of a prophet was majestic. But Susskind the challenger showed that Hawking was incorrect and Hawking conceded. Where challenging a prophet can be met with death in religious matters, challenging the great Stephen Hawking was met with a wager…..and both Susskind and Hawking remained friends. This is the way it should be.
The man was incredible, despite all the health related garbage he had to endure. He rose above it all and gave humanity incredible knowledge.
Thank you Mr. Hawking….Rest in Peace!