Stephen Hawking - The Theory of Everything
CAMBRIDGE - Early on Wednesday evening, famed physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking sadly died aged 76. Having battled motor neurone disease since his early twenties, he defied his medical prognosis of living just two more years, surviving, in a true triumph of ‘mind over matter’, for more than half a century. Since his passing, tributes have flooded in from astronauts, politicians, scientists, and even celebrities, in a collective outpouring that only begins to give indication of his great achievements. Popularly, he is best-known for bringing science into the mainstream, inspiring, as spaceman Tim Peake put it, ‘whole generations to look beyond our own blue planet and expand our understanding of the universe’. His book, ‘A Brief History of Time, achieved the virtually impossible, educating millions globally on complexities of the origins, development, and likely fate of our universe – topics previously left to the ‘experts’. Within the scientific community, belying his physical restrictions, he was a force to be reckoned with, his theories radically changing the landscape of research. His passing truly is humanity’s loss.
Publicly, Hawking was also a great advocate for climate protection, frequently warning of the great dangers the excesses of humanity posed. While unforgiving in his assessments, he had big plans as to how such calamity could be averted, delivered, as was often his way, with a sharp and dry wit. With his cautions now becoming reality, it is fitting to remember, as he once famously commented, that ‘Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change’. For a more detailed evaluation of the globe's current state, as explained by the man himself, watch the video below and take note.
Hawking’s career was brought to cinematic life in celebrated filmmaker Errol Morris’ ’A Brief History of Time’, released in 1991. An immensely intimate portrait, it features interviews with family members, colleagues, and those closest to Hawking, shedding a revealing light over the ‘man behind the science’. Both fascinating and touching, it now serves as a poignant reminder of the life we have lost.
In a sense, Hawking's legacy can be characterised by an enduring attempt to broaden our minds; to increase our understanding on the universe; and to instil a sense of humility with respect to our place within it. This latter principle can be said to be part of the founding philosophy of Cinema for Peace: bringing into focus the destructive behaviours of our race; heightening awareness of our current situation; and fostering a sense of compassion from which we can forge a brighter future. Adherence to these maxims is the only way such a future is possible.