Professor Stephen Hawking Dies at 76
I first heard the new on the radio. At least this great man of physics went quietly at home. I still remember getting my hands on his book “A Brief History of Time”. Personally, I had no trouble with the concepts put forward, having been an avid follower of Science Fiction since the early 1960’s.
This essay is a very, very basic explanation of the Radiation that was named after him.
His editors warned him that for every equation he put in the book, he could count on halving the sales numbers. He did his best, only including Einstein’s famous E=MC2.
Instantly readable with anyone with an IQ of a house brick or higher it became a most unexpected best seller.
His greatest achievement was, ironically, to help disprove that which he was most famous for helping to prove – The theory of Black Holes. This was a big deal in it’s day, as there were claims and counter claims an=bout the very existence of them. They are, after all black! Like looking for a Black cat at night in a coal mine – not easy!
But find some they eventually did, then more and more.
Black holes are now pretty much and established fact, and they were thought to be so massive, that even light couldn’t move fast enough to avoid being drawn into that awesome maw. A one way ticket to a singularity, or so it seemed.
Then Hawking changed all that. All to do with Quantum particles which appear and disappear at random, everywhere – don’t bother looking, they can’t be seen. But for every particle that pops into existence, it’s opposite also springs forth. Usually they do not play ice together and disappear in a puff of energy (which then forms another two particles, and the whole process forms again).
But once in a while they appear right on the ‘Event Horizon’ that’s the effective edge of the Black hole. One of the little buggers might be just a little further away from the Black hole, that give it a chance to breakaway from it’s evil twin.
We see this faint heat, which is now named Hawking Radiation, in honour of Professor Stephen Hawking.
Steven Hawking died peacefully at home in Cambridge from Motor Neurone Disease.