A brief history of a man
March 13, 2018 9:32 PM   Subscribe

Stephen Hawking, one of the great minds of our age, has passed on to the stars today at the age of 76.

Famous for too many things to list in his field of study and sure to be missed by his many fans and students, not the least of which is Niel deGrasse Tyson.

A view of his life was portrayed in the recent movie The Theory of Everything but it's perhaps more enjoyable to watch a lecture featuring his characteristic charm and swagger.

Professor Hawking previously on metafilter.
posted by RolandOfEld (221 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
 
very sad
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A single dot can't do him justice. The stars in the sky will have to do.
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I intentionally didn't mention his illness since I think having that overshadow his life is a bit icky. Maybe I should have and I don't know if I did wrong by not mentioning it but I'm perhaps not sensitive enough to present that aspect of things with enough tact but, personally, it is endlessly impressive to me that he accomplished so much in the face of such adversity.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:35 PM on March 13 [20 favorites]


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posted by ruben at 9:35 PM on March 13


I just saw the headline and gasped, and then I came here to post, but I couldn't because the site was down for a brief moment. When it came back up, this post was here.

Perhaps it was MetaFilter's way of adding its own "." to what is certain to be a very large collections.

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posted by tzikeh at 9:35 PM on March 13 [5 favorites]


"...it's turtles all the way down."

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posted by Fizz at 9:36 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]



posted by pemberkins at 9:36 PM on March 13 [14 favorites]


I tried and failed to get through A Brief History of Time. Several times.

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Shocker. Didn't expect that at all. I suppose we were amazingly lucky to have him for so long that I could take him for granted. He was a giant.

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posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 9:38 PM on March 13 [5 favorites]


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posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:38 PM on March 13


On Hacker News, someone dropped this verse from The Taming of the Shrew:

Dost thou love hawking?
Thou hast hawks will soar
Above the morning lark.
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Thankful for his contributions. I hope sincerely that the care that kept him alive for 55 years becomes more widely available so that people with ALS are able to live lives filled with quality.
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posted by spinifex23 at 9:43 PM on March 13


Oh, damn.

When I was a young teenager, A Brief History of Time shook me. I've been fascinated with the universe ever since. Hawking had a gift.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:44 PM on March 13 [6 favorites]


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posted by valkane at 9:44 PM on March 13


An appreciation for how he was a good sport about how pop culture embraced him; he was sometimes asked to make guest appearances as himself on Star Trek or The Simpsons, and often agreed:

On the Holodeck on STAR TREK NEXT GENERATION, beating Data, Isaac Newton and Einstein at poker.

On THE SIMPSONS. He talks about his appearance here.

The Big Bang Theory.

Jamming with Pink Floyd.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:47 PM on March 13 [14 favorites]


On Einstein's birthday / Pi day... those dice are loaded.

A couple quotes from someone who had as much heart as brain:
"Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if machine-produced wealth is shared—or most people can end up miserably poor if machine owners successfully lobby against wealth distribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option."
(via @Bernlennials)
In a fun aside, during this period, Hawking would enjoy running over the toes of people he didn't like with his wheelchair. So in 1976 when Hawking was invited to attend Prince Charles's induction into the Royal Society, he gave him the business. "The prince was intrigued by Hawking's wheelchair, and Hawking, twirling it round to demonstrate its capabilities, carelessly ran over Prince Charles's toes." according to the biography Stephen Hawking: An Unfettered Mind. "One of Hawking's regrets in life was not having had an opportunity to run over Margaret Thatcher's toes."
(via. @precariatqueer)


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The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge. Vale, Stephen Hawking.
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My God, it's full of stars.
posted by loquacious at 9:51 PM on March 13 [8 favorites]


Maybe we just need to change how we think. He's not gone, he is simply in another universe, one of many. At least that's what I'm telling myself.
posted by Fizz at 9:55 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


To the stars and beyond, Stephen. Rest in peace, and thank you.
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posted by Silverstone at 9:56 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


This really hurts. I am so grateful we had him.
posted by brainwane at 9:58 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


You down with entropy?

Yeah, you know me!

M.C. Hawking has left the building.

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posted by ChrisR at 10:01 PM on March 13 [12 favorites]


I was fortunate enough to see him lecture in the late 1980s at college. Thank you, Professor.

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posted by ZeusHumms at 10:01 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


Hawking Story time.

Mid 1990’s. A friend was roommates with the undergraduate who came top of his (final) year in of one of Cambridge University mathematics sub-disciplines (pure, applied and statistics). I believe he came top in applied?

It is traditional for the top student in each of these disciplines to be courted by high-profile PhD supervisors - the finals are fearsome exams and indicators of a high likelihood of serious research potential.

So he gets an email from Hawking’s assistant. “Would you like to come for an interview with Professor Hawking?”

Bloody hell. An interview with Steven Hawking. Aaarghh. What to do?

He turns up at Hawking’s digs, nervous as all get-out, and is shown into his office.

Hawking is sitting there impassively. After a minute of awkward silence, in which candidate’s nerves are all too apparent, Hawking says, in his infamous diction, “Would you like to see an episode of The Simpsons in which I am a star? It is not released yet”.

They sit and watch the episode. Hawking, having broken the ice, interviews a much more relaxed student. Alas, he didn’t get the gig….…..




No godspeed for you, Steven, you wouldn’t approve of such a childish wish.

You’ve just reached your informational event horizon, but you’ve expanded ours incredibly.
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posted by non canadian guy at 10:08 PM on March 13


he was sometimes asked to make guest appearances as himself on Star Trek

Indeed. In seven series and 744 episodes, he is the only person to appear as himself.
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This hit me harder than I expected. I really thought that he would just live forever. My life will now be divided into "Hawking" and "post-Hawking". He is such a towering example of intellect, heart, courage, and humanity. He will inspire for ages.
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Shit.

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posted by asavage at 10:18 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


The world really was/is a better place for his having been in it.
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✧     
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     · * ·   ˚
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    ✵   .      
✹           ✫ ✦
posted by xyzzy at 10:24 PM on March 13 [80 favorites]


Any astronomers here? I love xyzzy's idea of finding the Hawking constellation in the heavens. Someone with a good database of stars, and a little bit of artistry, ought to be able to do it.
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@physicsmatt explains the significance of Hawking radiation, one of Hawking's most important results, to physics.
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Todd Rundgren's "Hawking"
posted by kristi at 10:50 PM on March 13


Another Hawking story:

I was a graduate student in Southern California back in the late 80s. Stephen Hawking came to our university to give a talk on his latest work on his Dilute Wormhole Theory. I was a big fan already and was giddily ensconced smack dab in the middle of the auditorium.

At the outset, Hawking let the various attendees know that “this is an academic, and not a popular, presentation” and he apologized if the math were thus more advanced than folks had anticipated. Much of the math was, indeed, beyond me, even though I’d already had graduate courses in Quantum by that point.

At the end, there was thunderous applause and a standing ovation. Then he called for questions. No one was asking him anything, and it was a chance of a lifetime, so I took the plunge. I stood back up and, after thanking him for his presentation and confessing that much of the math was well beyond my understanding, I asked him (as I can best recollect) something along the lines of:

“Professor Hawking, it seems that the necessary diluteness of the wormholes in the theory you are proposing might be approached from an energy minimization standpoint, as well. That is, as the boundaries of each wormhole asymptotically approach a planarity or co-incidence with the region of space-time in which they exist, any nearby perturbations in space-time — such as from the boundary of a nearby wormhole — would disrupt that energy minimum. Does that make sense?”

I was sweating bullets while waiting in silence for his response. In front of God and everybody, I might have just made a complete fool of myself. Finally came his reply, which was something like, “Yes, I didn’t mention it in the presentation, but that is one of the fundamental assumptions upon which the theory is based.”

I swear, I almost exploded. Instead, I simply said “Thank you” and sat down, happy as a clam.

I don’t know if he was just being encouraging of a pedestrian comment, or if I’d actually had an important insight into his work on the far distant shores of cosmological thought. Whatever it was, though, that exchange was hugely encouraging, and remains one of the Crown Jewels of my academic career.

Thank you, again, Professor.
posted by darkstar at 10:50 PM on March 13 [117 favorites]


Back in 2009 when there was the big argument over the possibility of government Obamacare "death panels", right-wing business rag Investors Business Daily wrote an editorial in which they proclaimed the superiority of American healthcare:
"People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless."

In response, Hawking attributed his entire lifetime health care to the NHS. IBD wrote a "retraction" in which they said their mistake was due to Hawkings' lack of a British accent.
posted by JackFlash at 10:51 PM on March 13 [98 favorites]


Though my soul may set in darkness,
It will rise in perfect light:
I have loved the stars too fondly
To be fearful of the night.
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Some of our bodies are fit for the gutters, but some of our minds can still comprehend the stars.
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•he passed on Pi Day!
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76 is an astonishing innings for anybody living with MND. Well played, that man.
posted by flabdablet at 2:01 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Per ardua ad astra
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posted by Pendragon at 2:29 AM on March 14


I sat next to him at the opera once. I found out that his voice thing ran on Windows, because the start of each act was interrupted by Windows's "shut down" fanfare. The first time everyone cut him slack, but by the third act he received as forceful a shushing as a Royal Opera House audience can muster.

Pretty sure it was deliberate.
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posted by colin.jaquiery at 2:45 AM on March 14


From the Guardian: 'he became notorious for his wild driving along the streets of Cambridge'.

This reminds me of the one occasion I saw him. I was in Cambridge, coming back from a party late at night. It was after midnight and the streets were deserted. Suddenly, there was Hawking, on his own, whizzing down the middle of the road, not exactly faster than a speeding bullet but certainly faster than I've ever seen anyone go on a motorised wheelchair before or since. Who knows, perhaps he was working out some complex mathematical equation, but to me he just seemed to be having fun: getting away from his minders for a few minutes and zooming through the streets of Cambridge going 'wheeeeee!'
posted by verstegan at 2:47 AM on March 14 [22 favorites]


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posted by marimeko at 3:13 AM on March 14


My dad tells me that he once spotted Stephen Hawking at a conference or airport or something, and asked him, "My son has a question for you! What would happen if two black holes meet?" (I was like eight years old at the time, I think).

I can't fully recall the answer, but I remember that he took the question seriously and gave a proper answer.

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posted by adrianhon at 3:15 AM on March 14 [11 favorites]


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Very much enjoyed A Brief History of Time the couple of times I've read it. Hawking had the very rare gift of not only being an obviously brilliant scientist but also being able to clealry communicate his science to those of us significantly less brilliant.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:16 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


I actually relocated to England for Stephen Hawking. Way back in 1998, my then boyfriend was one of the leading early web designers and got headhunted from Australia to work on a project with Stephen Hawking in the U.K with a web design firm there. I wasn't keen to break up (plus I was hoping to tag along and help, just to meet him if even in a lackey capacity.)

So off we went. Anyway, we kept waiting for the project was to start, but his people kept postponing it. Eventually word came through that it was permanently on hiatus, as Stephen was very ill and wasn't expected to live much longer. Shortly after we left the country and well, it's 2018 now, so it's just another way he managed to amaze us all.

I was very disappointed to miss out on meeting him. What a huge loss.
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🌌
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posted by JamesD at 3:56 AM on March 14


I live in the shadow of Hawking, riding on his coattails, as people assume that I must be very clever if I'm a disabled physicist. It's a little thing, but my way in life has been easier because of his example.

Godspeed Mr. Hawking.
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posted by filtergik at 4:01 AM on March 14


One of my favorite Stephen Hawking stories is from a few years ago. He was speaking in Australia, and during the Q&A, he was asked by a young woman, “What do you think is the cosmological effect of Zayn leaving One Direction and consequently breaking the hearts of millions of teenage girls across the world?”

Hawking replied, “Finally, a question about something important. 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.”

I hope that it would not be beyond the realms of possibility that somewhere outside our own universe lies another different universe - and in that universe, Stephen Hawking is still alive.
posted by pangolin party at 4:03 AM on March 14 [75 favorites]


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posted by carter at 4:13 AM on March 14


"The NHS saved me. As a scientist, I must help to save it."

One of the better Hawking-encounter anecdotes on Twitter today. (Certainly beats mine. Passed him once in the lane leading to the University Senate in Cambridge. Erm... that's it.)

Managing to read and follow A Brief History of Time during my peak-science years felt satisfying. Revisiting it ten years later felt like living the closing pages of Flowers for Algernon. Ah well.

An infinitely dense . for you, Professor Hawking.
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posted by Mchelly at 4:31 AM on March 14


Last year a couple librarians at Cambridge asked and got permission from Dr. Hawking to make his PhD thesis open access. From a news article about it, here's a statement Hawking made regarding open access:
By making my PhD thesis Open Access, I hope to inspire people around the world to look up at the stars and not down at their feet; to wonder about our place in the universe and to try and make sense of the cosmos.

Anyone, anywhere in the world should have free, unhindered access to not just my research, but to the research of every great and inquiring mind across the spectrum of human understanding.

Each generation stands on the shoulders of those who have gone before them, just as I did as a young PhD student in Cambridge, inspired by the work of Isaac Newton, James Clerk Maxwell, and Albert Einstein.

It's wonderful to hear how many people have already shown an interest in downloading my thesis - hopefully they won't be disappointed now that they finally have access to it.
A small thing, but also another example of something where I hope people follow his example.

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posted by metaquarry at 4:36 AM on March 14 [20 favorites]


In an era when ballchasers and scoundrels rule the public attention, he was a rare public star of a deep thinker, a human both physically challenged and intellectually liberated, polar extremes made flesh, a definitive example of the hardiness of the human spirit.

That he passed on Einstein's birthday almost seems like a huge cosmic joke; may they both be sharing a laugh over it somewhere in the vast Universe they helped us begin to understand.

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i carried A Brief History of Time around with me like a talisman as a scared little nerd in middle school; being reminded of the vastness and strangeness and beauty of all things helped me get through the smallness and pettiness and cruelty that humans in a hierarchy (young and old alike, students and teachers alike) can become mired in. it was a great gift to me then, and it's still a gift, and though it has been some years, i am going to read it again. i am grateful.

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posted by halation at 5:12 AM on March 14 [20 favorites]


On the pop culture front, he's currently appearing in the BBC's new Hitchhikers' Guide To The Galaxy radio series. That is to say, he was in the first episode (the only one to be broadcast so far) in what sounds like it will be a recurring role. I assume he'd already recorded contributions which will still be used in the rest of the series.
posted by Paul Slade at 5:16 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


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Jamming with Pink Floyd.
In a reversal of the usual pattern, Hawking's voice on the song was taken from this 1994 advert for BT - allegedly after Dave Gilmour was bold over by it.

(The Assistive Context-Aware Toolkit (ACAT) software which Hawking used to communicate - with his famously un-upgraded voice - is available as a free download on GitHub)
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In 2004, Hawking told the New York Times in an interview, "My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus."

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posted by bjgeiger at 5:32 AM on March 14


i carried A Brief History of Time around with me like a talisman as a scared little nerd in middle school; being reminded of the vastness and strangeness and beauty of all things helped me get through the smallness and pettiness and cruelty that humans in a hierarchy (young and old alike, students and teachers alike) can become mired in. it was a great gift to me then, and it's still a gift, and though it has been some years, i am going to read it again. i am grateful.


Yep. Same exact experience here. Tome of Protection +4.
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🌌
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:59 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


They shall have stars at elbow and foot...
And death shall have no dominion.
posted by quadrilaterals at 6:00 AM on March 14 [6 favorites]


o

(A black hole, in his honor.)
posted by MrGuilt at 6:12 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


"It would not be much of a universe if it wasn't home to the people you love."

Incalculable loss, immeasurable man, now an infinite soul. Damned poetic timing, too.

Gutted.

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posted by Amor Bellator at 6:15 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


My sympathies lie with his wife. I don't care how brilliant you are (and he was), you don't get to be an asshole to the person you claim to love.

(My stepdad became a quadriplegic ten years ago and tried to do the same shit to my mother. She insisted they get help, and finally prevailed. If dad divorces her for his caretaker, I will throttle him myself. So, yes, I am biased.)
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(Technically, and fittingly - am I correct in thinking that Hawking didn't especially believe in the transcendental? - he died approximately on Pi Day.)
posted by eviemath at 6:20 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


He's allowed to round pi any way he damn well pleases as far as I'm concerned.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:32 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


My partner, long before I met her, once stalked Hawking. Well, sort of. She was visiting England, was in Cambridge, and sort of hung around where he was going so she could wave to him and say hi.

I don't know if that's interesting, creepy, both, but it's the only connection I had with him.

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Dr. Hawking could do astrophysics in his head. It's hard to fathom that kind of mental acuity. I am thankful for his public advocacy for science and public healthcare.
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I hope there’s an afterlife because Stephen Hawking deserves it.
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An amazing life in so very many ways.

Thank you, Professor Hawking.
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posted by HighTechUnderpants at 7:47 AM on March 14


He didn't die on Pi Day as far as he was concerned -- it's 14/3 in England today. Or has the format for writing out dates changed in Britain?

Perhaps they'll change over in his honor. Just this once.
posted by tzikeh at 7:49 AM on March 14


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posted by Mouse Army at 7:52 AM on March 14


My favorite tributes to the Professor have always been from MC Hawking:

Entropy


F the Creationists

GTA3

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posted by Halloween Jack at 7:55 AM on March 14


I love the silliness of time travel plots and the way they tend to fall apart when prodded even gently, and so I loved Hawking’s use of his own fame in this lighthearted & clever thought experiment: That Time Stephen Hawking Threw a Champagne Party for Time Travelers. It’s so goofy next to his actual work—like Bill & Ted trashcan silly—but silliness can be useful in teaching too, and it makes me grin to think of it.
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posted by miles per flower at 7:57 AM on March 14 [7 favorites]


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posted by solotoro at 8:07 AM on March 14


RIP to a beautiful mind. I'm going to have to check out the next couple episodes of Big Bang to see if there's a mention or remembrance posted.
posted by Ber at 8:11 AM on March 14


He didn't die on Pi Day as far as he was concerned -- it's 14/3 in England today. Or has the format for writing out dates changed in Britain?
More likely is to invoke the privilege of rounding pi anyway he likes (as mentioned upthread). Should this particular starchild choose, well, 14/3 is no worse an approximation than some.
posted by mce at 8:13 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


_ c
|[_
(*).;
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posted by Making You Bored For Science at 8:30 AM on March 14



SBH = _kc 3A
4hG
posted by carmicha at 8:48 AM on March 14


I read ABHOT when I was in high school. I always loved the cover with him sitting in his chair against a backdrop of stars. With that little smile he seemed to be saying, "the universe! Let me show you it!"

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posted by klanawa at 8:58 AM on March 14



posted by French Fry at 9:18 AM on March 14


I had no idea he was 76. I thought he was in his early 60s!


posted by droplet at 9:28 AM on March 14


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posted by eruonna at 9:32 AM on March 14


Damn. Honestly, I had no idea he was in his 70s. He always just seemed kind of ageless, you know? Like a mystical sage.
posted by dendritejungle at 9:38 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


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posted by CommonSense at 9:55 AM on March 14


Hawking's great sense of humour comes through in his cameos for the opening of each episode of TV critic Victor Lewis Smith's obscure Channel 4 programme TV Offal. When have you ever witnessed one of the most brilliant scientists of our age participating in a fart joke? Hardy har har har, indeed!
posted by kuppajava at 10:24 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]



posted by Armed Only With Hubris at 10:24 AM on March 14


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posted by haiku warrior at 11:00 AM on March 14


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posted by the sobsister at 11:05 AM on March 14


The knowledge came as a physical blow. The great man has passed. The world is lesser because of it.
posted by Splunge at 11:43 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]



posted by Quackles at 12:12 PM on March 14



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posted by Dillionaire at 12:35 PM on March 14


From Dr. Chuck Tingle:

No one's trot was more modern than Steven Hawking. He showed there are many ways of getting rock hard as a science bud, like proving that black holes and far away stars are handsome and beautiful. Sad to see him leave this timeline but happy he will now continue proving love on others.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:37 PM on March 14 [9 favorites]


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posted by Mitheral at 12:37 PM on March 14


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posted by daybeforetheday at 12:44 PM on March 14


I know that no one here gets out alive but damn it!

RIP.
posted by Lynsey at 1:11 PM on March 14


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posted by Smart Dalek at 1:32 PM on March 14


"One of Hawking's great regrets in life was not having an opportunity to run over Margaret Thatcher's toes."

-Kitty Ferguson, Stephen Hawking: An Unfettered Mind.

posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:20 PM on March 14 [8 favorites]


I mean, come on, the man had a type of radiation named after him! Think about it, if the same hadn't happened to Dr Viktor Gamma you'd have never heard of him. Wait, you've never heard of Dr Gamma?
(EXITS, I mean FLEES stage left)

I know I'm not anywhere near as funny as the man but he certainly gave me plenty of laughs. Bye, Doctor.

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posted by Purposeful Grimace at 3:28 PM on March 14


Thanks for all you've done, Professor.

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posted by Artful Codger at 3:40 PM on March 14


Dr. Hawking could do astrophysics in his head. It's hard to fathom that kind of mental acuity.

Man, what's the big huge deal? I do this almost every day, sometimes even a few times.

Wait, no, hang on. Sorry, someone just reminded me that this is actually just called "getting stoned" and isn't actually any kind of mental astrophysics at all. I'm still not entirely sure what the difference is. It's math, isn't it?
posted by loquacious at 4:01 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


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posted by numaner at 4:55 PM on March 14


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posted by schade at 5:01 PM on March 14


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posted by Quietgal at 6:31 PM on March 14


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Some of the TV shows he appeared in.
posted by Wordshore at 6:42 PM on March 14


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posted by porpoise at 8:02 PM on March 14


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posted by ZeroDivides at 8:20 PM on March 14


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posted by luckynerd at 9:00 PM on March 14


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Here he is on Desert Island Discs in 1992, he has some nice things to say about the importance of feeling loved and valued. His relationship with his first wife Jane, who nursed him through the onset of MND without support, seems to have remained on good terms throughout his life, contrary to what I had assumed. In this interview he mentions that in 1985 when he was taken ill a doctor advised his wife that she should allow them to turn off the life support system, but 'she was having none of that' and brought him back to Cambridge where he was given a life saving tracheotomy. I don't think he was in any doubt as to the importance of her care in his survival.

BBC link to the Desert Island Discs episode for license payers.
posted by asok at 3:33 AM on March 15 [2 favorites]


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posted by double bubble at 5:19 AM on March 15


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One of my all-time heroes. Some nice symmetry, too, in being born on Galileo's death day and dying on Einstein's birthday.
posted by likethemagician at 9:15 AM on March 15 [3 favorites]


At least there is symmetry.


/Zathrus
posted by darkstar at 3:12 PM on March 15


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posted by no mind at 7:14 PM on March 15



posted by theora55 at 7:54 PM on March 15



posted by Ogre Lawless at 10:44 AM on March 16


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posted by homunculus at 2:12 PM on March 16


(The Assistive Context-Aware Toolkit (ACAT) software which Hawking used to communicate - with his famously un-upgraded voice - is available as a free download on GitHub)

To be specific, ACAT is the interface, but doesn't provide the voice. This Wired article from 2015 discusses some of the development of ACAT. Hawking used a 1986 CallText 5010 synthesizer, set to DECtalk Perfect Paul for 33 years, refusing upgrades:
The voice that I use is a very old hardware speech synthesizer, made in 1986. I keep it because I have not heard a voice I like better and because, by now, I have identified with it.
Perfect Paul is the same DECtalk voice that does NOAA Weather Radio announcements.

The SF Chronicle recently published an article on the team of folks who developed an CallText 5010 emulator for Hawking.

The quest to save Stephen Hawking's voice:
Everyone on the project understood that Hawking might not live long enough to get much use out of the emulator. He had been sick before, but always recovered. In 2014, when Wood first contacted Dorsey, Hawking was 72. They decided, though, that his CallText boards could keel over in six months, while Hawking might live to 80.
posted by zamboni at 2:21 PM on March 19 [4 favorites]


I like Joe Scott's tribute to Stephen Hawking. If you wanted to understand just how important Hawking was and how much of an outlier he was - his video sums it up in 12 minutes.
posted by rongorongo at 2:45 AM on March 22


Westminster Abbey has today announced that there will be a Service of Thanksgiving later in the year for Professor Stephen Hawking, during which his ashes will be interred in the Abbey near the grave of Sir Isaac Newton.

The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, said today: "It is entirely fitting that the remains of Professor Stephen Hawking are to be buried in the Abbey, near those of distinguished fellow scientists. Sir Isaac Newton was buried in the Abbey in 1727. Charles Darwin was buried beside Isaac Newton in 1882. Other famous scientists are buried or memorialised nearby..."

posted by rory at 8:51 AM on March 22 [5 favorites]


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