Hawking’s departure – a great loss

by B. R. GOWANI

In April 2007, for 4 minutes Stephen Hawking was in a state of weightlessness, that is, zero gravity, when the plane carrying him dived through the sky. PHOTO/Zero Gravity Corp/New Scientist

Stephen Hawking in Chicago, in 1986. PHOTO/Associated Press/Wired

person is helpless, hardly aware
when she/he is in a vegetative state
but if the brain is functioning even when the body has given up
the person can work miracles
Stephen Hawking (1942-2018) was one such person
victim of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)
a progressive neurodegenerative disease
which gradually paralysis the person
and in a short period snatches that person’s life

at 21 ALS attacked Hawking
he was told he had two years to live
instead he lived 55 years
later in his life he lost his voice
computer attached voice synthesizer provided him a voice

he was full of life and wanted to do so much:

“I have lived with the prospect of an early death
for the last 49 years.
I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die.
I have so much I want to do first.”

Hawking was a witty person with a good sense of humor
in April 2015, Hawking was asked to react
to British singer/songwriter Zayn Malik leaving the group One Direction:

“My advice to any heartbroken young girl is to pay
close attention to the study of theoretical physics.
Because one day
there may well be proof of multiple universes.
It would not be beyond the realms of possibility
that somewhere outside of our own universe
lies another different universe.
And in that universe, Zayn is still in One Direction.”

“This girl may like to know that in another possible universe,
she and Zayn are happily married.”

Hawking warned of the fragility of our planet
and it’s vulnerability to man-made disasters:

“Life on Earth is at an ever-increasing risk of being wiped out
by a disaster such as sudden global warming, nuclear war,
a genetically engineered virus or other dangers.”

Hawking never forgot the roots of Homo sapiens:

“We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the universe. That makes us something very special.”

Hawking was not shy to revise his finding on black holes:

There is no baby universe branching off, as I once thought.
The information remains firmly in our universe.”

“I’m sorry to disappoint science fiction fans,
but if information is preserved,
there is no possibility of using black holes
to travel to other universes.”

“If you jump into a black hole,
your mass energy will be returned to our universe,
but in a mangled form,
which contains the information about what you were like,
but in an unrecognizable state.”

Hawking was not very hopeful of the survival of our earth:

“I don’t think the human race will survive
the next 1,000 years, unless we spread into space.
There are too many accidents
that can befall life on a single planet.
But I’m an optimist. We will reach out to the stars”

Hawking warned humans from getting in touch with the aliens
the consequences of such a contact he compared
to imperialism and colonialism,
particularly with the experience of the indigenous people:

“I think it would be a disaster.
The extraterrestrials would probably be far in advance of us.
The history of advanced races
meeting more primitive people on this planet
is not very happy
, and they were the same species.
I think we should keep our heads low”.”

Hawking also asked us to beware of
the potential dangers of AI or artificial intelligence:

“The genie is out of the bottle.
We need to move forward
on artificial intelligence development
but we also need to be mindful of its very real dangers.
I fear that AI may replace humans altogether.
If people design computer viruses,
someone will design AI that replicates itself.
This will be a new form of life that will outperform humans.”

Hawking advised people to be curious and inquisitive about nature:

“Remember to look up at the stars
and not down at your feet.
Try to make sense of what you see
and wonder about what makes the universe exist.
Be curious. And however difficult life may seem,
there is always something you can do and succeed at.”

Hawking didn’t minced words on Trump’s policies
of banning Muslims and on climate change:

“I would ask him why he thinks his travel ban is a good idea.
This brands as Daesh terrorists
all citizens of six mainly Muslim countries,
but doesn’t include America’s allies
such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Qatar,
which allegedly help finance Daesh.
This blanket ban is inefficient and prevents America
from recruiting skilled people from these countries.
I would also ask him to renounce
his denial of climate change.
But again, I fear neither will happen
as Trump continues to appease his electorate.”

Hawking also supported the Palestinians in their fight against Israel:

“I accepted the invitation to the Presidential Conference
[in Israel] with the intention that this would
not only allow me to express my opinion
on the prospects for a peace settlement
but also because it would allow me
to lecture on the West Bank.

“However, I have received a number of emails
from Palestinian academics.
They are unanimous that I should respect the boycott.
In view of this, I must withdraw from the conference.

“Had I attended, I would have stated my opinion
that the policy of the present Israeli government
is likely to lead to disaster.”

Hawking’s response to interpret Donald Trump’s rise:

“I can’t.” “He is a demagogue
who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator.”

Hawking gave a simple but a very rational and scientific answer
about the existence of God:

“We are each free to believe what we want,
and it is my view that
the simplest explanation is there is no God.
No one created the universe and no one directs our fate.
This leads me to a profound realisation.
There is probably no heaven, and no afterlife either.
We have this one life
to appreciate the grand design of the universe,
and for that, I am extremely grateful.”

“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.”

(Like Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu fanatics
Christianity also has plenty of such nuts
one of them is State of Texas Representative Briscoe Cain
who must have received a letter from the Christian God
because he’s damn sure that such an entity exists
and that entity has created our world in six days:

“Stephen Hawking now [that he’s dead] knows the truth
about how the universe was actually made.”

“While many see him
as one of the greatest public intellectuals of the last century,
and no one disputes that he was brilliant,
the fact remains that God exists.
My tweet was to show the gravity of the Gospel
and what happens when we die, namely, that we all will
one day meet the Creator of the universe face to face.”

a person named Courtney gave a befitting reply to Briscoe Cain:

“Such a fitting exercise in compare & contrast.
Whereas Hawking spent a lifetime
using his God-given brain tackling life’s deepest mysteries.
@BriscoeCain, on the other hand,
prefers flashing his God-given red ass all over the place.
Jesus must be so proud!”
)

Hawking was one of the greatest physicists
the world has ever known
he couldn’t move his body
but his mind was strolling/jogging/running all over the cosmos
trying to demystify the universe for all of us
March 14, 2018, is one of the saddest days
when we lost such a great genius
let’s hope more people incline towards science and rational thinnking

(Karl Marx died on 14th March 1883
Albert Einstein was born on 14th March 1879)

B. R. Gowani can be reached at brgowani@hotmail.com

Comments are closed.