Hawking and Milner announce they are putting $100 million into Breakthrough Listen, a project to search for intelligent extraterrestrial life. Hawking:
We believe that life arose spontaneously on Earth. So in an infinite universe, there must be other occurrences of life.
Milner, who is funding the project, says scientists will be able to collect as much data on SETI in a day as they now do in a year, and all data will be made public. The project will also work on improving the best way to send a message out into space. Milner:
I’ve been thinking about this since I was a child, reading Carl Sagan’s book Intelligent Life in the Universe, The year that I was born, 1961, that was a big year in science — the first man was launched into space [Yuri Gagarin], and I was named for him. And Kennedy made his famous speech about putting man on the moon…I don’t have high expectations, but the search itself will teach us quite a bit. We could find something we’re not even looking for…Irrespective of what the answer is, it’s a powerful answer. At any given time, we should apply the best technology and use the best instruments available to search for that answer.
Hawkins advisesOne Direction fans who are distraught due to Malik leaving the band during his talk at Sydney Opera House.
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.
Highlight: Stephen Hawking on One Direction (Ideas at the House)
Hawking sings Monty Python’s Galaxy Song, originally written for the 1983 film, Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life. The comedy group and Universal Music have also created an Asteroids game that lets you play as Hawking and shoot lasers at asteroid versions of the Monty Python actors’ heads, while the song plays in the background,
Written by Eric Idle and John Du Prez, the song is an intricate and informative lecture on the enormity of the Universe fashioned into a bewitching and, above all, highly amusing pop song.
Stephen Hawking Sings Monty Python… Galaxy Song (Music Video)
After earning his doctorate in physics from Cambridge, Hawking is awarded a fellowship at Gonville and Caius College. After some time as a Research Fellow, he becomes a Professorial Fellow. He begins work on singularities and applies his findings and ideas to the study of black holes.
Despite his ailing health, Hawking continues his education at Cambridge. He marries Jane Wilde, an acquaintance from his years at Oxford. Wilde agrees to marry him in spite of his life threatening condition.
I loved Stephen so much that nothing could deter me from wanting to marry him: I would cook and wash and shop and make a home for him, dismissing all my own previous ambitions which were now insignificant by comparison with the challenge before me.
Shortly after his 21st birthday, Hawking is diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Doctors predict that he will not live long enough to complete his doctorate at Cambridge due to his deteriorating health. Hawking relates his feelings at the time:
The realization that I had an incurable disease that was likely to kill me in a few years was a bit of a shock. How could something like this happen to me? However, while I was in the hospital, I had seen a boy I vaguely knew die of leukemia in the bed opposite me, and it had not been a pretty sight. Clearly there were people who were worse off than me—at least my condition didn’t make me feel sick. Whenever I feel inclined to be sorry for myself, I remember that boy.
Hawking graduates from Oxford before moving on to Cambridge University to study cosmology and general relativity. He begins to take serious notice of his deteriorating motor abilities during this year and is persuaded by his mother to undergo medical tests. From his memoir, My Brief History:
In my last year at Oxford I noticed that I was getting increasingly clumsy. I went to the doctor after falling down some stairs, but all he said was “Lay off the beer.” I became even more clumsy after moving to Cambridge. At Christmas, when I went skating on the lake at St. Albans, I fell over and couldn’t get up. My mother noticed these problems and took me to the family doctor.
Hawking attends Oxford University, his father’s old college, at the age of 17. Despite feeling that he had performed badly, he is awarded a First Class degree after specializing in physics and natural sciences.
The prevailing attitude at Oxford at that time was very anti-work. You were supposed to be brilliant without effort, or accept your limitations and get a fourth-class degree. To work hard to get a better class of degree was regarded as the mark of a grey man – the worst epithet in the Oxford vocabulary.
Stephen William Hawking is born in Oxford, England to research biologist Dr. Frank Hawking and Isobel Hawking. He has two younger sisters, Philippa and Mary, and an adopted brother, Edward. In 1950, Hawking’s family moves to St. Albans, Hertfordshire, where he attends St. Albans High School for Girls, which allowed boys up to the age of 10, before attending St. Albans School. On his early schooling:
At school, I was never more than about halfway up the class. It was a very bright class. My classwork was very untidy, and my handwriting was the despair of my teachers. But my classmates gave me the nickname Einstein, so presumably they saw signs of something better. When I was twelve, one of my friends bet another friend a bag of sweets that I would never come to anything. I don’t know if this bet was ever settled, and if so, which way it was decided…
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