Stephen Hawking wanted his most famous formula engraved on his tombstone: Here’s what it means

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Stephen Hawking wants his most famous formula engraved on his tombstone: Here’s what it means

Cosmologist Stephen Hawking on October 10, 1979.
Cosmologist Stephen Hawking on October 10, 1979.

Image: Santi Visalli/Getty Images

In 1974, long before Stephen Hawking was the famous cosmologist he became, he developed his most influential theory. 

That concept, which came to be known as Hawking radiation, explained how energy and even matter could escape the immense gravitational pull of a black hole.

On Wednesday, Hawking died at the age of 76, but his scientific theory lives on. And in fact, Hawking himself will make sure of it, even in death. 

In 2002, the famous scientist said that he wants his formula for Hawking radiation — originally put forward in a 1974 paper in the journal Nature — engraved on his tombstone, according to the New York Times

It’s a worthy place for his most elegant theory. 

Hawking radiation transformed our understanding of physics as we know it, in a bid to start bridging the gap between quantum physics and physics on a larger, astronomical scale. 

To date, that bridge still hasn’t been fully built. 

In order to understand Hawking’s greatest contribution to science, you have to understand some of the largest objects in the universe as well as the smallest particles.

Black holes are extremely dense objects that warp the fabric of space and time around them. It was thought that nothing can escape from a black hole, but Hawking radiation contradiction that conventional wisdom.

Hawking found that unless black holes continue to feed on matter, they will eventually die by effectively radiating off small amounts of energy over the course of billions of years.

Those black holes, if left without more matter to consume, would eventually shrink and then likely explode, blasting their guts back into the universe, effectively recycling whatever matter they took in over the course of their lifetime. 

It sounds simple enough, but by proposing that particles can, in fact, leave black holes, Hawking actually started a battle that has raged in cosmology for decades. 

In the 1970s, Hawking suggested that whenever matter fell into a black hole, information about its origin and whatever it was before entering the black hole was destroyed. 

Even the Hawking radiation — which is effectively random particles blinking into existence outside the black hole — wouldn’t contain that information within them.

On its most basic level, this violates quantum theory, even if it fits well within our understanding of physics on a more grand scale in the cosmos. 

Eventually, Hawking conceded that he does think information is preserved in a black hole, but the debate over the paradox still rages on. 

Scientists still aren’t sure how information could leave a black hole, and perhaps Hawking’s greatest contribution to science is starting this debate. Now he’s left it up to future generations of scientists to finish it. 

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How to create the perfect résumé, according to a CEO and former Googler

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Liz Wessel WayUp

Résumé tips often focus on mistakes to avoid.

• But Google alum and WayUp CEO Liz Wessel has a recommendation for what you should do that could help your résumé stand out.

• She said you’re going to need to avoid generic descriptions.


 

A résumé is basically a first impression in document form. So you don’t simply want to avoid making a faux pas. You want to be memorable.

Google alum and WayUp CEO Liz Wessel told Business Insider that checking your résumé before submitting it is the best thing you can do to avoid standing out in a bad way.

Watch out for spelling mistakes and issues with your contact information. You don’t want a typo to derail your résumé in whatever applicant tracking system you’ve uploaded it into.

But if you want to get ahead of the competition, you’re going to have to get specific.

"Under each section, under each responsibility and role that you’ve had, make sure that the bullet points are crisp and to the point of the actual accomplishments you’ve had at that company," Wessel told Business Insider.

Let’s say, for example, you worked as a waitress at a restaurant. A standard set of bullets in such a résumé might read like:

• I greeted and seated customers.

• I waited tables and took customers’ orders.

• I communicated with customers to ensure they were enjoying their meals.

• I bussed tables and assisted with cleanup after closing.

Those bullet points aren’t terrible. They’re fine, actually, but they won’t help you stand out from the crowd, Wessel said. Most other people with waiting experience could probably accurately write the same exact thing.

Wessel said the key is focusing on accomplishments, not day-to-day tasks.

She had some suggestions on more impressive things a person with waiting experience could say:

• I was the highest-tipped waitress at this restaurant, thanks to my customer support skills.

• I waited tables 21% quicker than my fellow wait staff.

• I was promoted to maître d’ in recognition of my work ethic and excellent service.

Those examples don’t merely parrot an average litany of waiting-related tasks. They paint a picture of an exceptional waiter.

"Really try to show your accomplishments, because actions speak louder than words," Wessel said. "And you can show those actions through metrics and other results."

SEE ALSO: A woman who has reviewed more than 40,000 résumés outlines the 8 most annoying mistakes she sees

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Virtuoso Commodore 64 composer Martin Walker is back

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News for nerds: one of the musicians who was most adept at coaxing intricate music from chips is set to make a return. And that means it’s time for some chip music.

Nowadays, the MOS Technology SID chip might as well claim its place as an instrument, not just a chip with a particular game legacy, but among beloved classic synthesizers. And if instruments from the Minimoog to the Roland D-50 are seeing a return, it’s because there are particular techniques you can apply to those synthesizers. (For instance, our friend Francis Preve has delved into remaking the D-50’s synthesis approach, with or without Roland hardware – while we’re talking about the 80s.)

And this isn’t just nostalgia, partly because this stuff takes practice.

Talk about practice: Martin Walker makes the SID sing.

The radar engineer-turned programmer-turned composer, Mr. Walker is something of a legend in chip music circles. His productions are just dense. It wasn’t just chip music, either – he’s gone on to other projects, including circuit bending, composition on other instruments (like he likes the Chromaphone plug-in as much as I do), and has seen bylines in Sound on Sound.

Commodore Format reported yesterday that he’ll make a return to C64 music for the first time in almost 30 years.

Here’s the thing: far from nostalgic, those 80s creations sound positively forward. Here are a few:

Dragon Breed

Altered Beast

Indiana Jones: Fate of Atlantis

(this is a funny one for me, as this game was oddly a favorite of my composition teacher in college…)

Speedball 2 [love this]

And a whole collection of “Walker’s Warblers”:

Full list of his creations:

http://www.vgmpf.com/Wiki/index.php?title=Martin_Walker

And his own site/label/project:

http://www.yewtreemagic.co.uk/about.php

We’ll be watching Commodore Format for the news this Friday, because… the future ain’t what it used to be?

http://www.commodoreformatarchive.com/

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5 Quick Portrait Posing Tips to Flatter Your Subject

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Being in front of the camera is daunting, to say the least, not to mention staring at a big black lens in front of you. I understand how my subjects feel because I totally hate being photographed. In this article, I’ll give you five portrait posing tips to help flatter your subjects.

1. Relaxed posture

5 Quick Portrait Posing Tips to Flatter Your Subject

Getting your subject into a relaxed posture is easier said than done! But relaxing for portraits is definitely not synonymous to slouching. I tell my subject to close their eyes and take some deep breaths, give their arms and hands a good shake, breathe out, and then open their eyes.

It’s easier for men. I tell them to relax into their normal stance and give them instructions from there. For men, it is generally a slouching issue. I tell them to straighten their spine and not to slouch. This makes them look taller and leaner and gives them square shoulders rather than droopy. However, this posture can look a bit stiff too so I ask them to gently breathe out as this releases the tension on the shoulders.

Relaxing for women is a little bit trickier but the above is a good start. Sometimes it helps them to imagine that a string is attached to their spine and I am pulling it gently upwards. The key word here is gently!

2. Weigh distribution

5 Quick Portrait Posing Tips to Flatter Your Subject

I get women to stand with one leg slightly behind the other and to put their weight on the back leg. With the weight distributed more on the back hip and leg, I get them to lean their upper body forward toward me to balance the weight distribution and slightly twist their body to either the left or right.

It’s a very subtle chest-forward-booty-back pose and you really want it to be subtle. It is important to make sure that you are not looking up at your subjects but that your camera is ever so slightly looking down at them. This pose and your camera angle combined gives your subject a more flattering and leaner look. Don’t overdo the looking down angle, a slight camera tilt will do. This is not the bird’s eye view pose.

Men don’t need to redistribute their weight backward and forwards like women. I find that an even central distribution of weight works better for them. Getting them to put their thumbs in their pockets helps achieve this. If I feel they need to slightly loosen up, I just tell them to gently breathe out.

3. Leaning

5 Quick Portrait Posing Tips to Flatter Your Subject

With their spines straight, find a wall or structure your subjects can lean on. I usually start with having them lean with their backs flat against the structure and I instruct them to pull away from one side until I feel the right angle is achieved.

Sometimes, this pose ends up as just one shoulder leaning. The important thing is that the resulting image does not look like your subject is missing a limb or shoulder as can happen sometimes if you are not careful with the angles.

4. Chin forward

5 Quick Portrait Posing Tips to Flatter Your Subject

Women are extremely conscious about double chins and their faces not looking as lean as they’d like in their images. A bad habit that many women do instinctively when they are photographed is to tilt their chins upwards thinking this removes any double chins.

This looks very unnatural and awkward and gives them a longer neck and a shorter face. When you speak to people, you don’t stick your chin up at them, do you? Instead of chinning up, I get them to push their chins forward and down a touch. This gives them a slight stretchy pain on the back of the neck and feels unnatural, but looks really flattering.

The forward action eliminates the double chin and tipping the chin slightly downwards makes the face look leaner.

You can modify this pose slightly by asking them to point their chins towards one shoulder and if the shoulder is droopy, they can lift the shoulder bone up a touch. This not only gives them a taller and leaner posture but adds angles as well to improve the composition of the image.

5 Quick Portrait Posing Tips to Flatter Your Subject - chin out

5. Connection

On any of the above and at any point during the session, breathing out helps your subject be more at ease so just remind them to do so. You also want them to always have a connection, just like the direction of the chin connecting to the direction of the shoulder for some angles.

Their gaze also needs to connect to either their body or their environment. You don’t want your images to look like the subject is in a vacuum. Looking straight at the camera connect them to the viewer. If you are shooting outdoors, you could instruct your subject to look at the horizon in the far distance or a tree nearby.

If they are holding something like flowers or a coffee mug, you could ask them to look down at what they have in their hands. Check that they don’t look asleep though so adjust your position and take a few images.

5 Quick Portrait Posing Tips to Flatter Your Subject

Conclusion

I hope these 5 quick portrait posing tips are helpful for you when you do your next photo session. If you have any other posing tips please share them in the comments below.

The post 5 Quick Portrait Posing Tips to Flatter Your Subject by Lily Sawyer appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Cambridge University shares an affecting tribute to Stephen Hawking

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After Stephen Hawking earned his Ph.D. at Cambridge in 1965, the celebrated theoretical physicist went on to do his finest work in roles throughout the university, including as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics between 1979 and 2009

In the wake of his passing, Cambridge University shared an affecting tribute to Hawking featuring, per its video description, the physicist’s remarks from his 75th birthday party last year.  Read more…

More about Stephen Hawking, Culture, Space, and Web Culture

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Meet the man whose voice became Stephen Hawking’s

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Meet the man whose voice became Stephen Hawking’s

A man and a voice who will be missed.
A man and a voice who will be missed.

Image: Karwai Tang/Getty Images

Stephen Hawking’s computer-generated voice is so iconic that it’s trademarked — The filmmakers behind The Theory of Everything had to get Hawking’s personal permission to use the voice in his biopic.

But that voice has an interesting origin story of its own.

Back in the ’80s, when Hawking was first exploring text-to-speech communication options after he lost the power of speech, a pioneer in computer-generated speech algorithms was working at MIT on that very thing. His name was Dennis Klatt.

As Wired uncovered, Klatt’s work was incorporated into one of the first devices that translated speech into text: the DECtalk. The company that made the speech synthesizer for Hawking’s very first computer used the voice Klatt had recorded for computer synthesis. The voice was called ‘Perfect Paul,’ and it was based on recordings of Klatt himself. 

In essence, Klatt lent his voice to the program that would become known the world over as the voice of Stephen Hawking.

Hawking passed away on Wednesday at the age of 76. The renowned theoretical physicist lived with ALS for 55 years. His death has prompted an outpouring of love, support, and admiration for his work and his inspirational outlook on life. It’s also prompted reflection on how he managed to have such an enormous impact on science and the world, when his primary mode of communication for the last four decades has been a nerve sensor in his cheek that allows him to type, and a text-to-speech computer. 

Though Hawking had only had the voice for a short time, it quickly became his own. According to Wired, when the company that produced the synthesizer offered Hawking an upgrade in 1988, he refused it. Even recently, as Intel worked on software upgrades for Hawking over the last decade, they searched through the dusty archives of a long-since-acquired company so they could use the original Klatt-recorded voice, at Hawking’s request.

Klatt was an American engineer who passed away in 1989, just a year after Hawking insisted on keeping ‘Perfect Paul’ as his own. He was a member of MIT’s Speech Communication Group, and according to his obituary, had a special interest in applying his research in computational linguistics to assist people with disabilities.

Hawking has been known to defend and champion his voice. During a 2014 meeting with the Queen, she jokingly asked the British Hawking “have you still got that American voice?” Hawking, like the sass machine that he is, replied “Yes, it is copyrighted actually.”

Hawking doesn’t actually consider his voice fully “American.” In a section on his website entitled “The Computer,” Hawking explains his voice technology:

“I use a separate hardware synthesizer, made by Speech Plus,” he writes. “It is the best I have heard, although it gives me an accent that has been described variously as Scandinavian, American or Scottish.”

It’s an accent, and a voice, that will be missed.

You can find Hawking’s last lecture which he gave in Japan earlier this month on his website. It’s called ‘The Beginning of Time.’

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Watching ‘Annihilation’ at home versus the cinema

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Alex Garland wrote 28 Days Later, Sunshine and Dredd, establishing his bona fides as a master of blending horror and mind-bending sci-fi. He then wrote and directed Ex Machina, which propelled him into an elite fraternity of directors producing smart, arty films that stick with you long after you leave the theater. His latest film, Annihilation, was set to be his big mainstream breakthrough, but it will be released theatrically only in the US, Canada and China. In the rest of the world, the film will play on Netflix. Does that mean everyone in the rest of the world is losing out by having to watch it in the comfort of their own homes? We asked two of our editors — one in New York and one in London — to report their respective experiences.


Devindra Hardawar

Devindra Hardawar
US: AMC Village 7 Cinema

After seeing Annihilation in a packed New York City theater on opening night, I had two thoughts. I was grateful to experience such a gorgeous, transcendent film with a group of strangers, on a giant screen that demanded our attention. And I felt sorry for audiences outside of the US, Canada and China who won’t have the opportunity to experience it in theaters. If this is the future of film distribution, I fear that we’re losing something essential.

As someone who deeply admired Alex Garland’s Ex Machina and Jeff VanderMeer’s original novel Annihilation, my expectations were high for the movie. But I was a bit worried when Paramount announced its unusual split distribution strategy. Not so much because I feared it meant the film was bad; rather, it seemed as if the studio was just dumping it to make some quick cash, instead of doing the work to get people into theaters. I suppose that’s understandable for Paramount, though, following a string of box office failures and a rough few years of earnings. Ex Machina also suffered at the box office internationally, making a mere $11.4 million (on top of its $25.4 million domestic gross). A Netflix deal would certainly fetch more for Paramount, and, of course, it would give even more people access to the film.

I’m sure I’ll enjoy watching Annihilation at home, but I’m also a movie nerd with a projector and an extensive surround sound setup. If you’re just watching it on a TV or — movie gods forbid — on your laptop or tablet, you’ll definitely miss out on the film’s epic scope and rich sound design. Several sequences seemed purposefully built to be experienced with a crowd on an enormous screen. A scene with a monster prowling through a room, as our intrepid explorers can only sit trembling, praying not to get attacked, had my audience holding their breath. (I could tell from the collective sigh of relief when it was all over.) The film’s astounding finale, a dialogue-free visual feast that would be right at home at the Museum of Modern Art, felt almost like a collective religious experience.

Perhaps that’s the best way to put it. Seeing a film in a theater, especially a film as masterful as Annihilation, is a bit like going to church. It soothes my soul, and I feel even more at ease when I’m with an audience that’s seeing the light. At home on my couch, it’s like trying to find enlightenment from a televangelist.


Daniel Cooper

Daniel Cooper
UK: PS4 running Netflix on a 40-inch Blaupunkt HDTV, optical out to a Sony HT-CT80

Seeing Annihilation for the first time on the small screen left me with the sense that I’d missed something from the whole experience. It’s the first time I’ve been denied the opportunity to watch an Alex Garland movie in a cinema, which is how I’d experienced all of his work thus far, from 28 Days Later onward.

Whether he’s writing or directing, Garland’s work resonates with a paranoid, woozy energy that amplifies the skin-tearing tension. But, as slow and tense as Annihilation is, it’s hard to be as gripped in your living room as you are in a cinema.

If you want to get pedantic about it, there’s a film theory term — scopophilia — which denotes the pleasure you get from watching something. And in a big, darkened room full of similarly awestruck viewers, you’re more drawn into the world unfolding in front of you.

And Annihilation has one hell of a world, full of weird, off-kilter visuals that mix the joy of nature with extreme body horror. But I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the film has — as Devindra says above — an "epic scope and rich sound design."

On a TV screen, the Floridian visuals aren’t too broad or deep, but claustrophobic and tight, and in my notes I wrote that the film "isn’t cinematic." It didn’t look like a $40 million movie, but perhaps that’s because the TV sapped all of those lush visuals and made it look more pedestrian.

That said, a lot of the film is composed of medium-frame shots, and you’ll be spending a lot of time looking at Natalie Portman staring out beyond the frame. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but if you’d told me this was a TV movie on a quarter of the budget, I would have believed you.

And that’s something that affected Garland’s last movie, too, since Ex Machina was essentially a series of scenes in which two people talk in a room. It’s an impeccable movie, but one that just as easily could have been a theatrical production rather than a cinematic one.

It’s the same with the sound design, which I’m sure was much more terror-inducing in a cinema than being pumped out my admittedly piddly soundbar. In the future, I’d love to get a beefier setup, but then, it’s not as if — in a town house with a toddler — I’d ever get the opportunity to use it.

The behind-the-scenes saga of why Annihilation came to be on Netflix is a fascinating one, especially since Paramount is now using Netflix as a dumping ground. This and The Cloverfield Paradox were both medium-budget sci-fi movies that the accountants were nervous about releasing.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Paramount’s David Ellison felt that Annihilation, a mid-budget, cerebral, arty sci-fi movie, would alienate audiences. Which is doubly interesting, given that Paramount did quite well with Arrival, a mid-budget, cerebral, arty sci-fi movie that it released in 2016.

I should add that Annihilation is as brilliant as Ex Machina, even if it lacks that movie’s exploration of such a stone-cold sci-fi premise. It’s also one of a small handful of thought-provoking films that seem to have "tentpole classic of the genre" nailed on them from the moment they’re released.

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Stephen Hawking died on a day that is cosmically connected to Albert Einstein and Pi

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stephen hawking

  • Stephen Hawking passed away at the age of 76 on Wednesday morning.
  • March 14 is also Albert Einstein’s birthday, and it’s celebrated as Pi Day in the US. 
  • Hawking is survived by his three children and remembered as a physicist who reshaped our understanding of the cosmos and our place in it. 

Stephen Hawking, the legendary theoretical physicist, passed away in his home in Cambridge early Wednesday morning at the age of 76.

Coincidentally, Hawking died on Albert Einstein’s birthday. Einstein, a venerated theoretical physicist from an earlier era, also passed away at age 76. 

March 14 is also celebrated as Pi Day in the US, in honor of the mathematical constant that whose first digits are 3.14.

Einstein 10

Hawking was known around the world for making discoveries that transformed the way scientists think about black holes and stellar systems. He was also beloved for his wit and humor in expressing profound concepts to the public.

He’s survived by his three children, Lucy, Robert, and Tim, who released a statement calling their father an "an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years."

"He once said, ‘It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.’ We will miss him forever," their statement read.

Popular physicists like Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Lawrence Krauss have also made statements today about their admiration for Hawking, who never let his ALS diagnosis impact his study of the cosmos.

"His passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake," Tyson said on Twitter. "But it’s not empty. Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure."

Remembering Stephen Hawking:

SEE ALSO: Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has died at 76

Join the conversation about this story »

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Stephen Hawking’s 30 Most Memorable And Insightful Quotes

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Stephen Hawking

Shutterstock / Koca Vehbi

Stephen Hawking, the world-renowned and award-winning physicist, passed away at the age of 76 on Tuesday. In 1963 when he was 21-years-old, Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurone disease and doctors gave him two years to live. Hawking defied the doctors and the odds to live an important life where the cosmologist contributed so much to the world of science. We look back at some of Stephen Hawking’s most memorable and insightful quotes as well as profound and sometimes controversial observations about life.

“Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.”

“When one’s expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have.”

“People who boast about their I.Q. are losers.”

“People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining.”

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”

“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”

“I am just a child who has never grown up. I still keep asking these ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions. Occasionally, I find an answer.”

“There is no unique picture of reality.”

“In my opinion, there is no aspect of reality beyond the reach of the human mind.”

“The past, like the future, is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities.”

“I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.”

“I have found far greater enthusiasm for science in America than here in Britain. There is more enthusiasm for everything in America.”

“Science can lift people out of poverty and cure disease. That, in turn, will reduce civil unrest.”

“Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it.”

“Although I cannot move and I have to speak through a computer, in my mind I am free.”

“My disabilities have not been a significant handicap in my field, which is theoretical physics. Indeed, they have helped me in a way by shielding me from lecturing and administrative work that I would otherwise have been involved in. I have managed, however, only because of the large amount of help I have received from my wife, children, colleagues and students. I find that people in general are very ready to help, but you should encourage them to feel that their efforts to aid you are worthwhile by doing as well as you possibly can.”

“However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.”

“I believe there are no questions that science can’t answer about a physical universe.”

“Many people find the universe confusing – it’s not.”

“There is nothing bigger or older than the universe.”

“The universe is not indifferent to our existence – it depends on it.”

“I believe alien life is quite common in the universe, although intelligent life is less so. Some say it has yet to appear on planet Earth.”

“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.”

“For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk and we learned to listen. Speech has allowed the communication of ideas, enabling human beings to work together to build the impossible. Mankind’s greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking. It doesn’t have to be like this. Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future. With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.”

“Science is not only a disciple of reason but, also, one of romance and passion.”

“Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge.”

“Science is increasingly answering questions that used to be the province of religion.”

“God is the name people give to the reason we are here.”

“God may exist, but science can explain the universe without the need for a creator.”

“My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.”

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Stephen Hawking hosted a party for time travelers, but no one came

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Stephen Hawking hosted a party for time travelers, but no one came

A Stephen Hawking party many people did attend: His 71st birthday celebration.
A Stephen Hawking party many people did attend: His 71st birthday celebration.

Image: intel free press/wikimedia commons

In 2009, Stephen Hawking ran an experiment that required champagne, balloons, and hors d’oeuvres, to demonstrate that backward time travel probably isn’t possible.

It was a time travelers’ party — but no one showed. And that was the point.

“I have experimental evidence that time travel is not possible,” Hawking told reporters at the Seattle Science Festival in 2012. “I gave a party for time-travelers, but I didn’t send out the invitations until after the party. I sat there a long time, but no one came.”

The Discovery Channel captured the event on video, which showed Hawking dressed up and waiting for time travelers to arrive at on June 28, 2009 at a specific location at the University of Cambridge. Hawking provided precise GPS coordinates, should there have been any confusion, or if anyone got lost while speeding through time and space. 

Hawking didn’t send out any of the invitations until after the reception had passed, which was a critical component of the experimental design: Only those who could travel back in time would thus be able to attend. 

President Barack Obama talks with Stephen Hawking in the Blue Room of the White House before presenting him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

President Barack Obama talks with Stephen Hawking in the Blue Room of the White House before presenting him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

Image: Pete Souza – White House Photostream

“You are cordially invited to a reception for Time Travelers,” the invitation read. 

“I am hoping copies of it, in one form or another, will survive for many thousands of years. Maybe one day someone living in the future will find the information and use a wormhole time machine to come back to my party, proving that time travel will one day be possible.”

Critics of this experimental design might argue that perhaps people in the future were able to build a time machine, and they just failed to know about Hawking’s party. This is plausible, but perhaps unlikely, as anyone researching how to travel backwards through time and space would almost certainly be familiar with the famed theories developed by Hawking. Hawking’s bestselling book, A Brief History of Time, has sold more than 10 million copies. 

Like any reasonable scientist, Hawking didn’t contend that his experiment constituted incontrovertible proof that time travel can’t one day be possible. At the festival in Seattle, Hawking noted that fellow theorist Albert Einstein “seems to offer the possibility that we could warp space-time so much that we could travel back in time.”

But Hawking cited one of the his many disagreements with this idea.

“However, it is likely that warping would trigger a bolt of radiation that would destroy the spaceship and maybe the space-time itself,” he said. 

 

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