Renowned physicist, famous for his study of black holes, galaxies and for authoring a popular book on the origin of the universe, “A Brief History of Time”, recently arrived at Caltech, like every year, where he held a talk in front of 1,000 people who had waited in line for 12 hours to hear him speak. Hawking’s talk, as always, encompassed discussions pertaining to questions like “why are we here?” , “how did the universe came to be?” and such.
Hawking began his talk with an African creation myth, but didn’t stray too far from his theological intro. The physicist noted, possibly in irritation, how some people seeking to find a divine solution to the creation of the Universe prefer to counter the theories of curious physicists with poor arguments. Rather rash or not, he said “What was God doing before the divine creation? Was he preparing hell for people who asked such questions?”
As you can imagine, this stirred a few people in the audience and many more hearing about it on the web. People should have gotten used to this, however. The pope himself picked on Hawking on several occasions for his alleged disdainful claims against god. A few years ago, I wrote a piece on ZME where I also quoted some of Hawking’s answers to questions pertaining to divinity, like the afterlife. Back then, he asserted there is no heaven, nor hell, but nothingness.
How did the Universe came to be? What triggered the Big Bang? Hawking’s talk continued on with discussions relating to various creation theories some still standing, other long debunked by recent findings made possible with modern space telescopes. One of these debunked theories is Fred Hoyle and Thomas Gold’s steady-state theory which held that there isn’t actually a head and a tail to all of this and that space bodies like galaxies, the stars that comprise them are made out of spontaneously formed matter.
Hawking also says that the Big Bang occurred at a moment of singularity, as he and physicist Roger Penrose proved in the 1980s the universe could not “bounce” when it contracted, as had been theorized, and that most likely the Big Bang happened only once. Recent refined measurements that position the Universe’s age at roughly 13.8 billion years are on par with Hawking’s model. Still, what would be a valid theory for the Universe’s inception according to Hawking? He believes the “M-theory”, a hypothesis that is based on ideas first moved forward by lifelong Caltech lecturer Richar Feynman, as the single most valid model he has currently encountered that can explain what he has observed. In fine line, the theory – an extension to string theory – states multiple universes are formed out of nothing. Only a few are capable of creating conditions for supporting life, and even much fewer conditions for intelligent life similar to humans.
Dark matter‘s discovery, which along with dark energy combine to amount to 95% of all matter making the normal matter that can be seen and observed only 5%, is seen by Hawking as the next barrier physics needs to breach. After understanding the nature of dark matter and dark energy, many of today’s missing links could be put together and physicists may finally be able to paint an accurate picture of cosmos. Dark energy, physicists believe, would explain why the universe is expanding at an ever-growing rate instead of collapsing under its own gravity.
“There have been searches for dark matter, but so far no results,” he said. We presume, however, that he is up to date with recent reports from experiments both in space and undergrounds labs where hints suggesting the detection of dark matter have been sighted.
Hawking has been living dreadful disease – Lou Gherig’s disease - for the past 50 years which has deteriorated his motor neurons leaving him unable to move his limbs or any body part for that matter. At the time of his diagnosis he was told he would live for only two more years.