Photo Credit: pashasha
To say Stephen Hawking had me at hello is an understatement. I know I’m not the first nerd-at-heart to jump his bandwagon, but there’s a reason A Brief History of Time sold more than ten million copies – and it’s not his mathematical genius.
It’s his imagination.
Don’t get me wrong, Stephen Hawking is a mathematical genius, but it takes more than that to estrange him from everyone. When writing a brief history, his editor warned him that for every equation included in his book, the readership would be cut in half. Imagine the imagination it requires to condense the most complex astrophysics and mathematical theory into something simple, enjoyable (yes enjoyable!), and comprehensible for ten million readers. He used only one equation.
He taught me how to travel through time. Yes, I’m serious. I know the basics of time travel, and it’s not theory, it’s fact. He has me utterly convinced of the magic in our universe, something I may have entirely otherwise missed. And that was his goal.
So how did he do it? He didn’t teach me anything. He talked with me. He told me he’d visit Madonna in her prime if he could time travel. He told me how the universe might end… how it might have begun. He filled me in on some science-talk. He told me the simple things make a big difference, like randomness, and relativity.
He related his immense knowledge to me.
This is a short blog, it might even be called an Ode to Stephen Hawking (I don’t know, Perry writes the titles when I finish – he adds the pictures too [I’m a sucker for pictures]), but I wanted to relate something: no matter how proficient you can be in anything, what’s the purpose if you can’t share it with anyone?
Stephen Hawking is at the top of his field not because he knows everything, but because he brings everything back to us.
His miniseries on the Discovery Channel, Into The Universe with Stephen Hawking, opens in his words, “Hello, my name is Stephen Hawking: physicist, cosmologist, and something of a dreamer.” If you haven’t seen it, see it. After that remember, to Stephen Hawking being the best physicist and the best cosmologist comes far second to being the best dreamer, and the best talent is sharing those dreams with you.
No one would suggest that Stephen Hawking stop using math, it’s an integral part of his dreaming, but the intricacies of the physical laws of the universe are more than most are capable of, and the ability to communicate to a larger audience those concepts in relatable terms, separates the just knowledgeable from the plain capable.
I’d shoot for plain capable.
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