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The greatest mind is in the captivity of the body. A Brief History of Stephen Hawking

Last night  Stephen Hawking died . One of the most famous scientists for half a century remained the center of attention for many reasons: the struggle with the disease, the book “A Brief History of Time”, the statement about the dangers of artificial intelligence research in the field of black holes. Let the majority of his achievements can fully understand and appreciate a world-known scientists, Hawking made the main thing – it is interested in the science of ordinary people.

It is not true that Hawking became famous only because of his illness. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) began to develop in the scientist even while studying. A year after the end of Oxford University (1962), doctors said that Stephen had to live less than three years. Spit on what he heard, he continued to study science. ALS is terrible because it develops slowly, gradually destroying one neuron after another. In the end, this leads to the denial of limbs and paralysis. There is still no treatment.


Hawking in some ways lucky: the disease progressed more slowly than it occurs in most cases. In a wheelchair he was only to the end of the sixties. But in 1985 there is a new misfortune: the scientist has picked up pneumonia. To save life, he was tracheostomy. So Hawking lost another voice. The scientist spoke through a speech synthesizer. To control the computer, he used the index finger of his right hand – the only one that retained mobility.

Being locked up in its body, one of the greatest minds of at least the 20th century (if not in the history of mankind) has formulated several important hypotheses and assumptions that may prove to be prophetic.

Black holes

Hawking’s passion was the exploration of the universe. Especially he was fascinated by black holes. If we simplify as much as possible, so are the regions with the most powerful gravitational attraction, which no object can overcome.

In honor of Hawking, the process of radiation by a black hole of elementary particles, that is, its “evaporation”, was called. The process, of course, is purely hypothetical. Like most of the scientist’s assumptions, it is simply impossible to test his theory in the foreseeable future.

Why then is it all necessary? It is enough to recall the story of Peter Higgs. Back in 1964, he advanced the theory of the existence of an elementary particle, which determines the inertial mass of bosons. It was possible to find this only after almost 50 years during research at the Large Hadron Collider. Higgs, half a century trying to prove his case, in 2013 still received the Nobel Prize. Interestingly, Hawking then argued $ 100: he was confident that the Higgs boson could not be opened.

It can be assumed that the hypothesis of Hawking is waiting for the same fate: they will be proved after many years or will form the basis of other scientific discoveries. Paradoxically, the Nobel Prize Hawking never received, although its authority in the scientific community and the importance of the work has never been disputed.

Hawking, along with Professor Jim Hartl, put forward a model of the universe without boundaries in space and time. Scientists compared the universe to the Earth, only much more – how it is impossible to reach the edge of the Earth (although the planets try ), so the universe does not have walls.

In 2015, Hawking put forward a new theory. He believed that black holes are original portals in a parallel universe. According to the scientist, objects and data do not disappear when entering a black hole, but move to a different dimension.

The future of mankind

Along with the hypotheses around black holes Hawking borrowed more mundane things like the salvation of mankind. The scientist repeatedly stated that the only way to continue the existence of our species is to migrate to another planet. In comparison with other theses of Stephen, this can still be considered the most understandable and realistic.

Hawking believed that people too actively began to consume the resources of the planet, which would lead to their depletion and all the attendant problems.


“We have not become less greedy or stupid. Since our last interview, the world’s population has increased by half a billion, and there is no end to it. By 2100 on the planet we will already be 11 billion , “Hawking said in an interview with Larry King. Problems the scientist saw almost everywhere: air pollution, climate change. The only option for salvation is to move to other planets.

But he also acknowledged that at the current stage of development such missions are impossible: “On Earth, the place ends, we need to break through the technical barriers that prevent us from living somewhere else in the universe . 

Time travel

It is known that during his studies at the university, Hawking was a classic botanist: he did not go to parties, was not involved in questionable matters, spent his free time with books and classical music. Nevertheless, he definitely had a sense of humor.


So, Hawking decided to put an end to the hypotheses of time travel and in a comic way proved that they are impossible. The scientist arranged a party, which “invited” travelers in time: “I did not send an invitation until the party ended. I waited a long time, but no one has come “ , – said Hawking.

Artificial Intelligence

Hawking, along with Ilon Mask many times reiterated the danger of artificial intelligence. In his view, the creation of AI will be one of the main discoveries in history, but at the same time it will put people at risk. For example, what will happen if an artificial mind becomes a new form of life and considers a person a threat to its existence? Or will it set its goals above the needs and instructions of people? It turns out such a scenario of “Terminator” in reality.

The scientist said that the problem in the short term is the one who controls AI, and in the long run it is possible to keep artificial mind in check.

Hawking lived for half a century longer than predicted. To comprehend the whole significance of his theories is not yet possible. He baited hooks and threw rods, and the catch would have to be taken to his successors – to prove theories, to investigate assumptions and hypotheses.

Jeremy Clarkson has interested cars with millions of people who do not even have a driver’s license. Hawking did the same: carried away the science of those for whom knowledge of chemistry ended on the definition of valence, and in physics – on the formula E = mс². For this he and thank you.

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