Stephen Hawking - Creativity and Science
Stephen Hawking (1942- )
English scientist (pictured right).
From 1979 to 2009 held the professorship of mathematics at Cambridge University, once held by Isaac Newton (pictured right below).
Parlaysed by motor neurone disease.
His marriage to
Jane is portrayed in the 2014 film, The Theory of Everything, starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity
His most famous book
A Brief History of Time (1988)
This made him world famous
Why is he so creative?
Hawking fanatically pursues one gigantic aim:
To completely understand how and why the universe and people exist.
To do this, he stretches his mind and imagination to think the unthinkable (i.e. to prove
things that other people think are crazy).
Hawking is ruthlessly determined and motivated because of his:
He is driven by his dream of understanding the universe (see point 1).
b) motor neurone disease
(and its consequent paralysis and continual threat of death)
This has motivated him to achieve greatness as quickly as possible.
“He will do what he wants to do at any cost to anybody else”,says his daughter, Lucy (pictured
c) positive thinking
In hospital, he was in bed next to a boy who died of leukaemia. Every time he feels low, he thinks of that boy,
and counts his blessings.
d) sense of humour
He says his computer generated voice is American, because women prefer it!
3. Fantastic memory and concentration
Hawking (pictured right in 2006) gets totally absorbed in anything that interests him.
When thinking about a problem, he:
4. Discussion and continual questioning
He learns from:
5. Love of science and hard work
Hawking works hard, because he loves doing it.
“Scientists and prostitutes get paid for doing what they enjoy”, he says.
His hard work has produced moments of inspiration, particularly his idea that a black
hole can never decrease.
This came to him in November 1970, as he was getting ready for bed.
7. Intuition and thinking ahead
He just knows, if an idea is correct or not (just like a musician, playing by ear)
His great strength is to think ahead and jump to a conclusion.
If his original idea is wrong, this leads him to new ideas and so on.
This is Karl Popper’s (pictured
right) idea that you find a better theory by disproving an inferior one.
8. Revolutionary ideas
He managed to prove the revolutionary idea that black holes give out thermal radiation like a hot engine (now
known as Hawking Radiation).
Some physicists wouldn’t believe him, but he proved them wrong.
9. Interdisciplinary thinking (using different
He applies mathematics to physics, but what made his work revolutionary was its use of:
10. Self-confidence and support
He knows he’s brilliant, and doesn’t have to boast about it.
Despite divorcing them, he has also received great physical and emotional help from his two wives
Key quotes on learning and
The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.
Key quote on
I work on intuition, thinking that an idea ought to be right, then I try to prove it.
Key quotes on
However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.
People need not be limited by physical handicaps as long as they are not disabled in spirit
Key quote on
It is a waste of time to be angry about my disability...People won’t have time for you if you are always angry
Key quotes on climate
By 2600, the world population would be standing shoulder to shoulder and the electricity consumed would make the
earth glow red-hot.
We have to reverse global warming urgently, if we still can.
Key quote on
Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.
Key quote on science and
Science makes God unnecessary.
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