Stephen Hawking
(1942 - )

    Hawking is the most important contemporary celebrity of Mathematical Physics, a shining icon of Einstein's legacy:

    " there is no other scientist alive as famous as Stephen Hawking" [1]

    The mathematicians coming out of college can only dream of attaining so much as half his popularity.

    Ironically, Hawking is more famous for his disabilities than for his abilities. Most people probably don't have the slightest
    clue what he contributed to Physics, but everyone who's heard about him knows that he lives his life in a wheelchair. A
    fellow once said to me, "Man. This guy Hawking is handicapped, but look at how smart he is." Of course, this fellow didn't
    know anything about Hawking other than his disability, and only because he saw Hawking on TV. Certainly, Hawking
    hasn't won a Nobel Prize. So what is he famous for?

    If Einstein's curved space and Bohr's Quantum weren't enough fantasy, Hawking et al., had to develop the ridiculous
    black hole to unprecedented heights. A black hole is a startling non-entity, an abstract concept that has the ability to
    swallow particles, clocks, and astronauts. You should take extra care if you are ever near one because you never know
    what it is going to do to you. It might peel off your skin in a single swoop and spit it out as X-rays. Think of love and
    beauty as having the power  to eat your breakfast. That's about how much sense the notion of a black hole makes.

    A black hole has essentially two components: a singularity and an event horizon. The singularity is a mathematical
    abstraction that originates when the idiots of Mathematics with no common sense or street smartness take and attempt
    to pass their ludicrous infinities for realities. The event horizon is, as its name indicates, a region. A region is another
    abstraction, like a horizon is an abstraction. Think of heat emanating from a camp fire. If you are close enough to the
    flames, the invisible heat can char your skin. This is more or less the idea behind the infamous event horizon. However,
    in Physics, two abstractions do not a reality make. But Math is a different world. Anything can happen in relativity, and
    the more fantastic the explanation, the more people will believe it.

    All was not well in theoretical science in 1960; indeed, theoretical science was as sick as it could be. It is somewhere
    around this time that Hawking, Penrose, Thorne, and others came along and put their combined intellectual weight
    behind the black hole. It didn't take long for the morons manning the big telescopes of Earth to bow to authority and
    begin seeing black holes at the bottom of their empty beer cans. Today, nobody questions the existence of black holes
    just like nobody questions the existence of Big Bang, virtual particles, and dark matter, or the ability to travel backwards
    in time.

    Around 1980 Hawking published A Brief History of Time, which enormously popularized the mathematical fantasies and
    irrationalities entertained by the global community of mathematical physicists. His biographers explain:

    " A Brief Hisotry of time has notched up worldwide sales in the millions -- publishing
      statistics usually associated with the likes of Jeffrey Archer and Stephen King" [2]

    After that, it was all gravy. Hollywood now had the go-ahead to treat religion as science. Time travel, wormholes, creation
    ex-nihilo, and teleportation were no longer the types of ideas over which religion had a monopoly.  These fantastic
    explanations and others were officially incorporated into mainstream 'Physics.'

    Hawking spearheaded this movement and should take the credit as well as assume the main responsibility. He has done
    more than anyone to popularize Mathematical Physics in general and relativity in particular. He is the celebrity all
    mathematicians coming out of college wish to be, the darling of the establishment, a movie star to laymen, who
    erroneously identify him with Science. Hawking was already touched by the royal sword and made a Commander of the
    British Empire (CBE), making him now larger than life. [I have no idea why the Crown bestowed such honor on Hawking,
    but I have become convinced that it is due to his direct or indirect contributions to scientific documentaries such as The
    Twilight Zone, The Time Tunnel, and Star Trek.]. And as we all know, the CBE is something like a stepping stone to the
    next level: getting a star on the Walk of Fame. Hawking has already acted and written for Hollywood. So I predict that in a
    brief period of time we will see a star (or perhaps a black hole) bearing his name on the famous walkway.
poster boy
Hollywood Physics


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