kottke.org posts about Stephen Hawking

The Theory of EverythingAug 07 2014

From James Marsh, the director of the excellent Man on Wire, a biopic of physicist Stephen Hawking and his first wife, Jane. Here's the first trailer:

The film is based on a book by Jane Hawking, Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen.

In this compelling memoir, his first wife, Jane Hawking, relates the inside story of their extraordinary marriage. As Stephen's academic renown soared, his body was collapsing under the assaults of motor neurone disease. Jane's candid account of trying to balance his 24-hour care with the needs of their growing family reveals the inner-strength of the author, while the self-evident character and achievements of her husband make for an incredible tale presented with unflinching honesty.

As promising as this looks, the Kanye in me needs to remind you that Errol Morris' A Brief History of Time is the best film about Stephen Hawking of all time. OF ALL TIME.

A Brief History of TimeFeb 25 2014

Huzzah! Long unavailable (or at least not widely available), Errol Morris' documentary film on Stephen Hawking and his work, A Brief History of Time, is now available for rent or purchase on iTunes. Or if you can wait a little bit, there's a Criterion Blu-ray edition coming out in mid-March. Bonus: score by Philip Glass!

Hawking backtracks on black holesJan 27 2014

In an "only Nixon can go to China" moment in physics, Stephen Hawking now says "there are no black holes".

Most physicists foolhardy enough to write a paper claiming that "there are no black holes" -- at least not in the sense we usually imagine -- would probably be dismissed as cranks. But when the call to redefine these cosmic crunchers comes from Stephen Hawking, it's worth taking notice. In a paper posted online, the physicist, based at the University of Cambridge, UK, and one of the creators of modern black-hole theory, does away with the notion of an event horizon, the invisible boundary thought to shroud every black hole, beyond which nothing, not even light, can escape.

In its stead, Hawking's radical proposal is a much more benign "apparent horizon", which only temporarily holds matter and energy prisoner before eventually releasing them, albeit in a more garbled form.

Stephen Hawking's party for time travellersOct 02 2013

Steven Hawking came up with a simple and clever way of seeing if time travel is possible. On June 28, 2009, he threw a party for time travellers from the future...but didn't advertise it until after the party was already over.

In an effort to improve the chances of the party invite being noticed by future generations, Peter Dean, working with approval from Hawking, has made this gorgeous hand-printed poster of the party invitation:

Hawking Party Poster

There's also a smaller less-expensive version of the poster in grey and a fetching yellow/orange.

Lego Stephen Hawking kitMar 06 2013

The awesome Lego Stephen Hawking model I posted a few years ago is available from Amazon as a kit!

Lego Stephen Hawking

Update: Or, if you have a massive trove of bricks, here are the instructions to build your own. (via @nickmelville)

Stephen Hawking reviews A Brief History of Time movieMay 03 2012

From twenty years ago, Stephen Hawking reviews the film version of A Brief History of Time.

I have been fortunate in the director of the film, Errol Morris. He is a man of integrity, with a feeling for the issues. It would have been all too easy to have someone who would have concentrated on the more sensational aspects of my private life, and my medical condition, and who would have treated the science in a superficial way. A friend of mine, who has had several television programmes based on his work, was envious of how the scientific ideas came through on the film.

(via @errolmorris)

A Brief History of Time by Errol MorrisJan 11 2012

The sound and picture are poor, but the entirety of Errol Morris' A Brief History of Time is available on YouTube.

Featuring music from Philip Glass, the film is a documentary about Stephen Hawking and his ideas about the universe. Morris recently stated on Twitter:

Yes. I plan to re-release [A Brief History of Time]. (It was never properly color corrected and is one of my best films.)

The film is difficult, if not impossible, to find on DVD and isn't available on Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, or iTunes. And as far as I can tell, the soundtrack was never released either.

A rare interview with Stephen HawkingMay 09 2011

Claudia Dreifus of the NY Times scores a rare interview with Stephen Hawking. The ten questions were sent to him in advance and then he met with Dreifus in person to play his answers for her.

Q. Given all you've experienced, what words would you offer someone who has been diagnosed with a serious illness, perhaps A.L.S.?

A. My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn't prevent you doing well, and don't regret the things it interferes with. Don't be disabled in spirit, as well as physically.

Audio clips of some of his answers are available in the article's sidebar. Interestingly, despite the advances in text-to-speech audio and upgrades to his writing hardware & software, Hawking's voice remains the same.

The Grand DesignSep 17 2010

Stephen Hawking's new book is out: The Grand Design, sequel to A Brief History of Time written with Leonard Mlodinow.

In The Grand Design we explain why, according to quantum theory, the cosmos does not have just a single existence, or history, but rather that every possible history of the universe exists simultaneously. We question the conventional concept of reality, posing instead a "model-dependent" theory of reality. We discuss how the laws of our particular universe are extraordinarily finely tuned so as to allow for our existence, and show why quantum theory predicts the multiverse--the idea that ours is just one of many universes that appeared spontaneously out of nothing, each with different laws of nature. And we assess M-Theory, an explanation of the laws governing the multiverse, and the only viable candidate for a complete "theory of everything."

Time and ABC News have excerpts.

How to build a time machineMay 07 2010

According to Stephen Hawking, there are three good ways to do it.

If we want to travel into the future, we just need to go fast. Really fast. And I think the only way we're ever likely to do that is by going into space. The fastest manned vehicle in history was Apollo 10. It reached 25,000mph. But to travel in time we'll have to go more than 2,000 times faster. And to do that we'd need a much bigger ship, a truly enormous machine. The ship would have to be big enough to carry a huge amount of fuel, enough to accelerate it to nearly the speed of light. Getting to just beneath the cosmic speed limit would require six whole years at full power.

Pink TerrorMar 08 2010

An ultra slow motion video clip featuring firecrackers, smashed watermelons, and Stephen Hawking.

Carl Sagan Auto-Tune (feat. Stephen Hawking)Oct 08 2009

Maybe you're tired of un-pop-music-like things being run through Auto-Tune, but I'm not quite there yet. This Auto-Tuned Carl Sagan mix is very nearly sublime.

Lego Stephen HawkingJul 21 2008

Lego Stephen Hawking

More at Brickshelf (link no longer works).

Description of attending an amazing talk byMar 14 2007

Description of attending an amazing talk by Stephen Hawking. "In the beginning there's a long pause. Really long. The applause dies down and then... crickets. For thirty seconds... a minute... two minutes. Then suddenly, Hawking's synthesized voice: 'Can you hear me?' The climactic scenes of blockbuster movies are not as thrilling."

Stephen Hawking is making an Imax 3DOct 16 2006

Stephen Hawking is making an Imax 3D film about "cosmology and the meaning of existence". The film "will be like Groundhog Day meets Star Trek".

Stephen Hawking and Thomas Hertog are publishingJun 21 2006

Stephen Hawking and Thomas Hertog are publishing a paper that argues that the universe "began in just about every way imaginable" simultaneously and then most of the possibilites withered away with the rest blending together to make the current universe.

A rare interview with Stephen Hawking aboutOct 04 2005

A rare interview with Stephen Hawking about his remix of A Brief History of Time. The interview's a bit weird...the interviewer doesn't seem to know a whole lot about science.

A sequel to Stephen Hawking's A BriefSep 10 2005

A sequel to Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time: A Briefer History of Time. "More Accessible. More Concise."

Physicist Stephen Hawking has been reduced toSep 07 2005

Physicist Stephen Hawking has been reduced to blinking to control his helper computer.

Adriana: "I thought you might be interested in a post I wrote a while back about a former editor of Elle who communicated for the last year of his life via blinks".

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