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BarkellWH

Posts: 2766
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RIP Stephen Hawking 

Several members of the Foro have exhibited an interest in cosmology, the nature of the universe, relativity, and quantum mechanics. For those who may not have heard, Stephen Hawking died today at his home in Cambridge, UK.

I first became interested in the subject matter back in 1960 when, as a junior in high school, I read "One, Two, Three, Infinity," by George Gamow. It piqued an interest that I have never abandoned. In the early 1980s Carl Sagan 's "Cosmos" did much the same thing for a newer generation.

And, of course, Stephen Hawking has been a lodestar all along for those interested in the subject matter. That he suffered from ALS makes his accomplishments all the more amazing.

Bill

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With the name of the late deceased,
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Who tried to hustle the East."

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 15 2018 1:09:17
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7497
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: RIP Stephen Hawking (in reply to BarkellWH

He had an amazing run. Go fast through the sun and into the cosmic Frontera.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 15 2018 1:37:54
 
Dudnote

Posts: 1751
Joined: Nov. 13 2007
 

RE: RIP Stephen Hawking (in reply to BarkellWH

Here's a link to his obituaries in Science magazine and at Nature.

ps. you may need to agree to receive emails from Science magazine to read the first one.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 15 2018 9:23:21
 
Ruphus

Posts: 3689
Joined: Nov. 18 2010
 

RE: RIP Stephen Hawking (in reply to BarkellWH

When I heard this news yesterday, it almost felt as if an old chap had gone.
To me it used to be as if he was a mediator between mercilessness and the actual intelligence on this world.

As far as I can see, him merely erring in respect of one point, which is the absurd fiction of leaving this planet within any considerable frame of time. On top a resigning, counter productive illusion to efforts of finally taking environmental measure to keeping alive earth.

RIP, Mr. Hawking. You will be missed.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 15 2018 10:10:53
 
Ricardo

Posts: 10857
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: RIP Stephen Hawking (in reply to BarkellWH

Stephen Hawking was the first scientist I ever referenced, in my black hole report paper in 5th grade elementary school. I remember looking in the library trying to understand what these black hole things were, and in doing so I also called up my physicist uncle to explain some basic things that were confusing me such as “gravitational collapse” etc. As kids growing up all we knew was from the Disney movie with the evil Robot in it, cool movie but very misleading science. So at tender age of 10 or 11 I already knew about Hawkings discover of black holes that “evaporate”, which seem to make sense even back then. Probably 10 years later my interest in the subject was rekindled by the movie “Contact”, which remains one of my all time favorites on a huge subject, and rediscovered Hawking from his “brief history of time” and other material for lay people. Also I was thinking about the connection between his illness and one of my late teenage guitar heroes Jason Becker who has the same disease.

Oddly however, I don’t feel his overall contribution to physics all that significant, relatively speaking, compared to others I had learned about. As far as the black hole evaporation thing, well, the guy who created an algorithm to detect this predicted event went looking and found nothing (pretty bad considering they should have found some and it’s Hawkings main contribution to science), however had his technology used instead later to develop our beloved blue tooth. So Hawking is indirectly responsible for Blue Tooth. I must say his greatest achievement is really to put physics in the minds of many lay people, though not to the extent of someone like Carl Sagan. The story about his bet with one of his colleagues on the existence of Black Holes was memorable (he bet porn mags against it being found), and for me the saddest thing is he did not live to see the optically imaged event horizon photo of Sagittarius A that is due to be finalized this year, which would really vindicate a large part of his life’s work. Bummer!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 17 2018 16:52:49
 
Shroomy726

Posts: 1318
Joined: Jun. 5 2005
From: Argentina (living in U.S.)

RE: RIP Stephen Hawking (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo
Oddly however, I don’t feel his overall contribution to physics all that significant, relatively speaking, compared to others I had learned about.


I hear a lot of people say this lately. I guess we will only know how significant his contribution is once it is proven experimentally, if ever. Took a while to prove gravitational waves through experimental data so who knows how long it will take to prove something even harder to measure.

I also hear people say "he couldn't have done it without others". Regarding his cooperation with other scientists, I actually believe that physics is getting so complex that one mind can't single-handedly conceive all of its answers. The biggest chance we have to truly achieve a complete understanding of the universe is by global cooperation. Hawking knew this and seemed to want to expose the world to science as much as he could. He was one of the first to attempt to unify quantum mechanics and general relativity from what I know. To discount some of his contributions by stating that he would not have done it without the others seems unfair to me.

Perhaps only the likes of Einstein or Newton would be contenders to tackle it by themselves by studying everything that has been proven and discovered since their lifetimes. But even they would probably admit that's a tall order.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 18 2018 17:10:39
 
Dudnote

 

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Post has been moved to the Recycle Bin at Mar. 18 2018 22:24:05
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 18 2018 22:20:17
 
Dudnote

 

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Post has been moved to the Recycle Bin at Mar. 18 2018 22:30:29
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 18 2018 22:25:43
 
Ricardo

Posts: 10857
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: RIP Stephen Hawking (in reply to Shroomy726

quote:

ORIGINAL: Shroomy726

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo
Oddly however, I don’t feel his overall contribution to physics all that significant, relatively speaking, compared to others I had learned about.


I hear a lot of people say this lately. I guess we will only know how significant his contribution is once it is proven experimentally, if ever. Took a while to prove gravitational waves through experimental data so who knows how long it will take to prove something even harder to measure.

I also hear people say "he couldn't have done it without others". Regarding his cooperation with other scientists, I actually believe that physics is getting so complex that one mind can't single-handedly conceive all of its answers. The biggest chance we have to truly achieve a complete understanding of the universe is by global cooperation. Hawking knew this and seemed to want to expose the world to science as much as he could. He was one of the first to attempt to unify quantum mechanics and general relativity from what I know. To discount some of his contributions by stating that he would not have done it without the others seems unfair to me.

Perhaps only the likes of Einstein or Newton would be contenders to tackle it by themselves by studying everything that has been proven and discovered since their lifetimes. But even they would probably admit that's a tall order.


I didn’t mean to be little the evaporation thing...and I forgot to meantion about the debate his math discovery ignited. Since he was sort of combining math of quantum and GR together, he had a violation of the principle that INFORMATION can’t be destroyed. His equation implied such a violation and this therefore lead to the Holographic principle which is very interesting and sort of testable (one day).....but I must say the fact that no black hole as ever been seen to have evaporated (yet) is still pretty strange given the 13 billion year history of the universe...

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 21 2018 15:47:28
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1503
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: RIP Stephen Hawking (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

Oddly however, I don’t feel his overall contribution to physics all that significant, relatively speaking, compared to others I had learned about.


You’re not alone in that opinion. In Genius* (p. 40), Hans Eysenck remarks:

quote:

A good example of how important irrelevant considerations may be is the status Stephen Hawking, whose sad disability has captured the public imagination […], and has propelled his poorly written popular A Brief History of Time into the best-seller list. It also identified him in the popular mind as a ‘genius’, which is patently over the top; he is an outstanding mathematical physicist, equal perhaps to Hoyle; first-rate, but no genius. To give but one instance of how the label of ‘originality’ or ‘creativity’ can accrue to the wrong person, consider his early stance in denying that the surface area of a black hole is actually a measure of entropy; if true, that would mean that a black hole had a temperature, defined in terms of its surface area. Now anything that has a temperature must radiate energy, and therefore cannot be a black hole!

A young Californian research assistant called Jakob Bekenstein suggested, in a series of publications, just that: the surface area of a black hole was, indeed, a measure of entropy, and black holes do have temperatures related to their surface area. Furious, Hawking attacked Bekenstein’s interpretation of the equation Hawking had originally published. Later, Hawking paid a visit to Moscow and learned about the work of Yakov Zel’dovich on the way black holes interact with light. He became convinced that black holes must indeed emit radiation, and did have temperatures! He completely changed course, and advocated what earlier he had condemned, and now ‘Hawking radiation’ is considered one of the great achievements of the past 50 years of physics, combining as it does general relativity and quantum mechanics in one package. Poor Bekenstein, the original discoverer, is forgotten.


*https://www.amazon.com/Genius-Creativity-Problems-Behavioural-Sciences/dp/0521485088/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1521669480&sr=1-1&keywords=hans+eysenck+genius
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 21 2018 22:01:26
 
Shroomy726

Posts: 1318
Joined: Jun. 5 2005
From: Argentina (living in U.S.)

RE: RIP Stephen Hawking (in reply to Paul Magnussen

I guess the term "genius" is relative (no pun intended ). But quite bold for that author to make such statement. I mean, Einstein did not discover black holes even though they were discovered within a year of his publications based on his own equations. And let's not talk about Einstein's initial resistance to accept the view of an expanding universe and his later retraction. That was my point in regards to global collaborative work. A single human can't do it alone.

Hawking has made multiple contributions beyond the black hole evaporation theory including many theorems. He may not be the world's greatest physicist but he is certainly one of the smartest people to have lived in my lifetime. I will let history eventually judge whether he deserves to be among the greatest minds that have ever lived.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 22 2018 3:21:25
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7497
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: RIP Stephen Hawking (in reply to BarkellWH

I cite this complicated chart explain my feelings about this subject:

Well I guess I can't upload my chart...

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 22 2018 3:44:56
 
Piwin

Posts: 2087
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: RIP Stephen Hawking (in reply to Shroomy726

There's just a certain disconnect between his public image and his importance within the sciences. In popular culture, he's regarded as one of those big names that have revolutionized science. Where there's a clear before and a clear after. In my own former field, the two names that met that standard in the 20th century were Saussure and Chomsky. Their contributions were clear watershed moments in the history of linguistics. Admittedly none of them were working in a vacuum and like so many others in science there's a certain degree of sheer luck as to why we remember their names and not the names of others. Anyways, I just don't know if there's a clear pre-Hawking and post-Hawking in physics. If you listen to popular culture, it sure seems like there is.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 22 2018 5:04:44
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1503
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: RIP Stephen Hawking (in reply to Piwin

quote:

Anyways, I just don't know if there's a clear pre-Hawking and post-Hawking in physics.


Neither do I. All I can say is that as far as books go, I prefer Roger Penrose.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 22 2018 5:39:14
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7497
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: RIP Stephen Hawking (in reply to BarkellWH

Ok finally my chart uploads!

On Hawking- I liken him to what a violinist I worked for said to me many years ago. He was the concert master of the Kennedy Center orchestra, when Slava was the conductor. He was a top level pro in every way, when there was a work with big gnarly violin solo, barring there was a guest soloist, he was the one who played it.

We were talking one day about Yo Yo Ma, he said: "You know .....he's good, but for every Yo Yo, there are 50 cellists who are as good who will never be famous. They get jobs in orchestras, sure, as principal chairs, but they're never heard from again." The same is true, I believe, of scientists. And I prefer Stephen Jay Gould to any of the physics writers, so I claim membership in the Dunning Kruger Association.



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (1)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 22 2018 8:38:46
 
Shroomy726

Posts: 1318
Joined: Jun. 5 2005
From: Argentina (living in U.S.)

RE: RIP Stephen Hawking (in reply to BarkellWH



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Gracias Paco por la música que nos diste. Me cambiaste la vida y nunca lo olvidaré. Que en paz descanses.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 22 2018 16:46:03
 
Dudnote

Posts: 1751
Joined: Nov. 13 2007
 

RE: RIP Stephen Hawking (in reply to estebanana

quote:

ORIGINAL: estebanana
I prefer Stephen Jay Gould to any

Oh God! I tried reading his final opus and rapidly gave up when all I could see in there was "Me! Me! Me! Me!".

One of the things I liked with Gleick's Chaos was it was written by a non-specialist who approached the subject in a humble yet exciting fashion.

I similarly appreciated A Brief History since it was certainly not an ego trip.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 22 2018 18:53:19
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7497
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: RIP Stephen Hawking (in reply to Dudnote

quote:

Oh God! I tried reading his final opus and rapidly gave up when all I could see in there was "Me! Me! Me! Me!".


My preference for Gould is based on me being dirt digger type science lover. You guys can contemplate black holes, but I'm still blown away by T-Rex skeleton assemblies.

Maybe SJG like Hitchens got a bit bloated on me me now and again, but SJG remains a significant figure in science his contribution was major. When Gould was a post doc and still young a mentor took him aside and said if you write, write for the layperson, don't only write for other academics.

Gould's books do in spots get windy, like any heavyweight, but on quality of his total output he managed to keep himself at bay. Not only could he write about the origins of species and the history of science, but he co-developed a broad reaching major component of evolutionary theory. His idea is that evolution is like a series of short difficult climbs with lots of evolutionary change, followed by a period of slower development of stability with little change. And it made a big change in evolutionary thinking...

Which has a relationship to what I brought up the other day on the issue of space travel and human speciation, things happened fast and furious, changes were made then ....for ling time nada

With that written I'm going to go use my opposable digits for put some primitive hide glue on a primitive wood structure.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 23 2018 7:23:06
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