The mind of God? The problem with deifying Stephen HawkingHawking’s “celebrity status,” he said, meant he “got away with pronouncements in a way that other people would not.” Hawking’s work on this “information paradox” created a fertile nexus of relativity, quantum theory, thermodynamics and information theory that is still yielding new ideas. A wunderkind at Oxford, he had just begun his seminal work on gravitational theory when his increasing clumsiness led, in 1963, to a diagnosis of ALS. As a result, he postulated, black holes slowly shed their energy and “evaporate”: they are not the eternal objects originally thought. But it is now generally believed, thanks in large part to Hawking’s student Don Page, that it can eventually be recovered. “So I might get a Nobel Prize after all,” he added, to more laughter. A few minutes later, Hawking described how mini black holes—which he predicted in the early 1970s—might yet be seen in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Geneva.
Article from Prospect Magazine.