It was a rather unusual evening in an otherwise packed day at IIT Bombay. Some of the labs in the second half were cancelled, the lunch was bearable and the weather was alright. Stephen Hawking was in India addressing a series of lectures. Like almost everyone one in my college and generation I had read the “Brief History of Time ” a few years ago and was quite impressed with his ability of explaining what can arguably be the most complex subject – Time. We were aware that he was going to address the people of Mumbai. Quite naturally the passes were sold out. With some newly acquired skills from IIT “Jugaad” system, I was able to procure two passes for me and my roommate.
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research has a rather imposing auditorium (Or at least had it almost two decades ago) named after Dr. Homi Bhabha. It was an uneasy wait of over 15 minutes after we were all seated and ready for the lecture. Dr. Hawking’s scientific achievements were well known but his physical condition was no less known. While he had literally been exploring the universe, the fact that he was doing it without even moving (or being able to move) was mind-boggling.
It is human tendency to create a mental picture of an anxiously awaited event. My image of the man was rather sombre. I expected him to bear marks of a continuous battle with his incapacity. If perseverance had a form I expected it to look like Stephen Hawking.
The actual lecture however started with a cartoon show followed by Dr. Hawkins rather mechanised (not mechanical) laughter. The Cartoon show was average, his jokes also did not really compare to his otherwise high standards of ideas but his humour was free. You can capture a man in his own body but enslaving him is quite another story. For the next hour or so he took us deep into space showing how string theory might actually reconcile the apparent conflict with physics at the particle level (Quantum Physics) and the one that talks about billion light years long stretches of spacetime continuum(Relativity).
Dr. Hawking has since then continued to reshape/influence our ideas about the universe through his pathbreaking research in cosmology. A lot of all we know about blackholes is from Dr. Hawking’s research. His take on the dangers of artificial intelligence is quite commonly understood and repeated. As he puts it “the emergence of artificial intelligence could be the “worst event in the history of our civilization” and urged creators of AI to “employ best practice and effective management.”
That evening had a lasting impact on me. It led me believe the answers we seek are within. If a man can understand an object like blackhole, which by definition should be impossible to understand (Information cannot escape blackhole), he must already have known it. Knowing is probably a process of remembering all that we already know.
He was a wizard among us. Is there an alternate version of him somewhere? Is there another reality beyond the event horizon? We will never know. At least, not yet!
Authored by:- Mr. Kunal Kislay, Co-founder, and CEO of Integration Wizards
(The views expressed in this article are by Mr. Kunal Kislay, Co-founder, and CEO of Integration Wizards. Technuter.com doesn’t own any responsibility for it.)
@Technuter.com News Service