วันพุธที่ 1 กุมภาพันธ์ พ.ศ. 2555

Stephen Hawking at 70: still the brightest star in the scientific universe

As the author of A Brief History of Time 70 approaches, students hold a prominent former astonishing intelligence continues to push the frontiers of physics

Bernard Carr

professor of mathematics and astronomy at Queen Mary University of London. 1972-1975 PhD student Stephen Hawking


Esteban in 1974 that black holes emit thermal radiation due to quantum effects has been one of the most important 20th-century physics. This is because unified three different areas of physics - quantum theory, general relativity and thermodynamics. Like all such unifying ideas, is so beautiful that it almost has to be true, but it has not been confirmed experimentally. The renowned physicist John Wheeler once told me it was just to call it "bread pudding in the language."

At the time of discovery, he worked as a PhD student at Cambridge and I count myself very lucky to have had a ringside seat at these events. It also allowed me to be one of the first people to study the cosmological consequences of the impact and then make my own small contribution in the field.

I was one of the first doctoral students and Esteban people often ask me how I must have as a supervisor. It was not so famous in those days, but its brightness was already clear to his colleagues and I found it quite daunting when, becoming his student research, I was informed by one of my professors was the person smarter in the department. Students are probably always in fear of their superiors, but the surprise of Stephen was even greater. In fact, in physics, which has always regarded as an oracle, a few words to him with ideas that have taken weeks to work on my own.

However, Stephen is human and not all meetings have led to enlightenment. Once, while sharing an office with him at Caltech [California Institute of Technology], I asked a question about something that I find incomprehensible. He thought in silence for a few minutes and I was very impressed with myself to ask for something that Stephen could not answer immediately. His eyes closed and I was even more impressed with me because I have to think very deeply. Only after a while it became obvious he had fallen asleep! Today, I fall asleep sometimes while speaking to students, if I remember the incident with amusement.

The other side of Stephen

human is that it sometimes get angry. One myth is that sometimes put out of frustration by running the fingers of the students. It's never happened to me - I did not have a motorized wheelchair in those days - but I also remember a time when I made a remark about the time of Mathematics tea ward showed I had not understood what I was told. Stephen shouted "No" so hard that her wheelchair said across the room at the rear. I was impressed that a single word of it could have dramatic consequences.

My relationship with Stephen was not the usual type of supervisor-student relationship. In those days, before he had his entourage of nurses and assistants, students would need help in several ways because of their disability. It was not a difficult task, but I wanted to say that her relationship with him became very intimate. I shared an office with him, lived with his family for a year in California, and accompanied him as he traveled the world giving lectures and collecting medals.

As impressionable young student, was a huge thrill to meet so many celebrities and famous physicists. One of the biggest thrills of visiting Caltech, where Stephen was a student of Fairchild in 1975, met the brilliant physicist Richard Feynman, who was considered almost as a god there. I used to visit our office quite often and, as the voice of Stephen was very low, I would act as interpreter.

also traveled to China with him in 1985. During a long train ride, I remember reading the first draft of a popular book, it was written at that time. My initial impression would never sell to be inaccurate, as it eventually became

A Brief History of Time

Shortly after his return from China fell ill with pneumonia and lost his voice. Since then, he had to communicate through his computer, which is very slow, so it is ironic that he managed to become one of the authors of science of our time. Even children's books written with his daughter, Lucy, and is disturbing to reflect a contribution I wrote for her last was probably read by more people than any of my scientific papers. His source of inspiration in the public interest in some of the deepest questions of physics is probably a reason that has become an icon.

Martin Rees

Astronomer Royal and director of Trinity College, Cambridge. Like Hawking, he studied with Dennis Sciama in the 1960s

met Stephen in 1964. I was in my first week as a graduate student at Cambridge. He was two years ahead of me at school - but already strong on his feet and speaking with difficulty. I learned that I could not even live long enough to complete his PhD.

astronomers are used to big numbers. But few could be as large as the opportunities given to me, then, against him to reach his 70th birthday - after the amazing accomplishments that have made him the most famous scientist of life

In the early years of research, it was a succession of ideas about the nature of a black hole (then a very new idea) and how the universe began. These elections have earned him the Royal Society unusually early age of 32.

was so fragile, so we imagine that we could heights larger scale. But it was only the beginning. Then he worked, like me, at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge. I have often pushed his wheelchair in his office. He sat motionless for hours reading a book on quantum field theory - a question that had already begun. I could not even turn pages without help. I wondered what was going on in his mind, and if his powers were not. But within a year had more than his "eureka moment" - encapsulated in an equation that you want on your tombstone. He discovered a deep and unexpected between gravity and quantum theory, which helped set the agenda for fundamental physics since then.

has probably done as much as anyone since Einstein to expand our understanding of gravity, space and time. And he continues to write technical papers and attend conferences in the first - the most remarkable in a subject that few health researchers to be so long at the border

But the second half of the life of Stephen was a highlight of the glory and fame. When A Brief History of Time

appeared the press has made some mistakes (one image was upside down), and publishers have tried to recover the stock. To his surprise, all copies had been sold. This was the first indication that the book was intended to stunning success. The concept of an imprisoned spirit wandering the cosmos captured the imagination of people. Were equal to the difference is, for example, genetics rather than cosmology, the triumph of intelligence over adversity, would probably not become so renowned.

After his illness was diagnosed with [ALS] Esteban expectations fell to zero. He says that everything that has happened since was a bonus.

And what a triumph of his life was. His name will live in the annals of science, millions of people worldwide have expanded their cosmic horizon in his books and television appearances, and even more have been inspired by a unique realization of man against all odds " / aa>

Raymond Laflamme

Executive Director of the Institute for Quantum Computing

the University of Waterloo, Canada. In 1988 he obtained his Ph.D. at Cambridge under the direction of Hawking

who recently gave a boomerang Etienne. This may seem an unusual gift to give the scientific world's most famous, but Stephen instantly understood its meaning. He smiled when he saw, as I expected it. He smiled that smile wise, an ugly that I often try - and was rewarded with sometimes - when I was a nervous young doctoral student under his supervision in Cambridge 27 years ago snack cosmological find their way into a book eventually sold 10 million copies and make a scientific superstar Stephen
A Brief History of Time

. Stephen personalized my copy of a printed book (which was unable to write the writing at the time) inside the front cover. It reads: "For Raymond, who showed me that the arrow of time is not backfire Thanks for all your help Steve ..." I love this little dedication. How well expresses the spirit and warmth emanates always Stephen.

In 2010, Stephen spent a summer in Waterloo, Canada. I invited him to go through school at a glance, and forced to taste. He spent the day visiting the laboratory, researchers and editing, I think, to learn new things about science of quantum information. Then I gave the boomerang.

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