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Stephen Hawking was one of the most
influential scientists of his generation.
From black holes to The Simpsons,
his impact on science and popular culture is hard to overestimate.
In this video we're going to look at just three publications that shaped his career.
Number one: 'The singularities of gravitational collapse and cosmology'
This paper was published in 1970.
It was a time when physicists were still finding some of the implications of general relativity hard to swallow,
in particular the possibility of black holes and infinitely dense singularities.
Hawking and others had already shown that singularities should form,
at least in an abstract mathematical setting.
In fact, in his PhD thesis, Hawking had explored how the universe itself
might have originated from a singularity at the beginning of time.
But in the 1970 paper, Hawking worked with eminent physicist Roger Penrose
and showed that general relativity, even in the real world,
really does predict singularities.
Number two: 'Black hole explosions?'
As time went on Stephen Hawking's name would become inextricably linked with black holes.
This paper really was called 'Black hole explosions?' with a question mark.
He had a knack for grabbing people's attention.
It describes what came to be known as Hawking radiation
which many physicists regard as his most important legacy.
Hawking was trying to reconcile two seemingly incompatible theories.
One was general relativity, which works well for describing the largest scales in the universe,
the other was quantum theory, which describes the smallest scales.
Hawking realised that if you believe both theories,
the event horizon of a black hole should emit radiation.
He had shown that black holes are not actually black.
To this day physicists continue to argue over the implications of Hawking radiation
and in particular about whether it erases information from the universe,
which would violate quantum theory.
And finally, number three: 'A brief history of time'.
This is not a scientific paper but rather a popular science book
and it is this book which would catapult Hawking from prominent scientist
to probably the most famous scientist of his time.
It gave him a new platform as a science communicator, a spokesperson and a cultural phenomenon.
Ever since people around the world have been fascinated by his story, his intellect and his tenacity.
Many now know Stephen Hawking for his characteristic synthetic voice,
his appearances on television shows
or his controversial opinions on a whole host of issues
from AI through to alien life.
But behind the pop-culture icon, there was a scientist whose legacy will endure.
And as Hawking himself once said:
"I hope I will be remembered for my work on black holes and the origin of the Universe
not for things like appearing on The Simpsons."
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Stephen Hawking: Three publications that shaped his career

442 タグ追加 保存
Samuel 2018 年 3 月 14 日 に公開
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