Stephen Hawking, RIP

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Stephen Hawking, RIP

The great­est enemy of knowl­edge is not igno­rance, it is the illu­sion of knowl­edge. –Stephen Hawking

In one of those inter­est­ing exam­ples of Cos­mic Tim­ing, Stephen Hawk­ing has died on Pi Day. I have been a Hawk­ing fan for pretty much as long as I can remem­ber. I’ve always been some­thing of a nerd and grew up on sci­ence fic­tion, whether in books, tele­vi­sion or the movies, and the idea of black holes, the Big Bang, and an infi­nite uni­verse have always fas­ci­nated me. I have always appre­ci­ated Dr. Hawking’s abil­ity to explain com­plex cos­mo­log­i­cal con­cepts in ways that we all could under­stand. Maybe that has some­thing to do with my cur­rent career, in which I make my liv­ing in part by explain­ing com­plex tech­no­log­i­cal con­cepts to large audiences.

I recall read­ing A Brief His­tory of Time when it came out and I’ll admit that I had to look up what year that was. I was sur­prised to see that it came out in 1988 because I would have sworn that I read it in high school (which was quite a few years before 1988). Per­haps if I had read it in high school I may have become a physi­cist — although hav­ing peaked in my math abil­i­ties with dif­fer­en­tial equa­tions and elec­tro­mag­netic waves, per­haps not a very good one. As it is, I’ll have to be con­tent hav­ing my biggest per­sonal con­tri­bu­tion to the field of Physics be my son, who is a Physics major in college.

Stephen Hawk­ing died today, being a con­firmed athe­ist. He has said that the Uni­verse does not dis­prove the exis­tence of God, but he believes that it proves God is unnec­es­sary. Given that he also showed how the small­est change in the val­ues of dif­fer­ent phys­i­cal con­stants, or of the speed at which the early uni­verse expanded would have made our lives impos­si­ble, I’m not sure how he got to that con­clu­sion. Per­haps even Stephen Hawk­ing fell prey to the “illu­sion of knowl­edge” when it came to the true ori­gin of the Universe.

The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.           -Stephen Hawking

In one of those interesting examples of Cosmic Timing, Stephen Hawking has died on Pi Day. I have been a Hawking fan for pretty much as long as I can remember. I’ve always been something of a nerd and grew up on science fiction, whether in books, television or the movies, and the idea of black holes, the Big Bang, and an infinite universe have always fascinated me.  I have always appreciated Dr. Hawking’s ability to explain complex cosmological concepts in ways that we all could understand. Maybe that has something to do with my current career, in which I make my living in part by explaining complex technological concepts to large audiences.

I recall reading A Brief History of Time when it came out and I’ll admit that I had to look up what year that was. I was surprised to see that it came out in 1988 because I would have sworn that I read it in high school (which was quite a few years before 1988). Perhaps if I had read it in high school I may have become a physicist – although having peaked in my math abilities with differential equations and electromagnetic waves, perhaps not a very good one. As it is, I’ll have to be content having my biggest personal contribution to the field of Physics be my son, who is a Physics major in college. 

Stephen Hawking died today, being a confirmed atheist. He has said that the Universe does not disprove the existence of God, but he believes that it proves God is unnecessary. Given that he also showed how the smallest change in the values of different physical constants, or of the speed at which the early universe expanded would have made our lives impossible, I’m not sure how he got to that conclusion. Perhaps even Stephen Hawking fell prey to the “illusion of knowledge” when it came to the true origin of the Universe.