Since his untimely passing back in March 14, does humanity’s quest to know the cosmos in its entirety died with Prof. Hawking?
By Ringo Bones
Science pundits say that the untimely passing of Professor Stephen Hawking back in March 14, 2018 – which is coincidentally the 139th birth anniversary of Albert Einstein – has left the world of cosmology with shoes that are might be too big to fill in. Although the top five contenders – namely Michio Kaku, Michael Greene, Neil de Grasse Tyson, Lisa Randall and Roger Penrose - might seem very able to do this, it leaves without a doubt that what Professor Stephen Hawking had worked with regards to cosmology and theoretical physics serve only merely to confirm Albert Einstein’s Theories of General and Special Relativity. But Prof. Hawking managed to achieve a bit more than Einstein’s so-called unfinished cosmic business that unfortunately ended back in 1955.
Born in January 8, 1942 – exactly 300 years after the death of Galileo – Stephen Hawking grew up in relatively good health until he was struck with ALS during his early 20s that eventually deprived him the ability to speak normally and hence the computer voice synthesizer that goes with his wheelchair that became an integral part of him and despite of this, Hawking through his academic achievements managed to become a Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University. As a proponent of the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics, Hawking managed to further Albert Einstein’s unfinished work of unifying quantum mechanics with general relativity.
Given the advancement of atom smashers since the 1960s and the advent of string theory which later aggregated into a complex but useful mathematics known as M-Theory, Prof. Hawking’s attempt to provide a so-called Theory of Everything, which is a differential equation that describes the inner workings of our entire cosmos from the smallest subatomic particle to the largest galactic cluster seems almost at hand since the late 1980s. Although still needs further refinement, Prof. Hawking only proved that Einstein’s previous work is not that far from the more complete contemporary picture of the cosmos that Hawking recently established.
As a “science communicator”, Prof. Hawking managed to drag out the rather esoteric concepts of quantum mechanics and cosmology out of the cloistered world of academia into the general public via his 1989 bestseller A Brief History of Time and subsequent publications and TV documentary specials. With guest appearances on The Simpsons, Star Trek: The Next Generation just to name a few, it seems that Prof. Hawking managed to demystify the world of theoretical physics, cosmology and string theory to the general public and made cutting edge science now accessible even to grade-school kids.