[8 January 1942 – 14 March 2018]
How this wheelchair-bound Englishman came to impact my view of the cosmos, God and other seemingly inexplicable cosmic phenomena may not be a thing of interest or inquisition if you’ve read or listened to some of his lectures on cosmology and physical science. ‘A Brief History of Time’ is more than enough (a glut?).
I always found myself a curious child before him. I think I first learned about this English physicist in my mid-teen through a magazine (must be a monthly one). But it was not until I read his seminal yet popular ‘A Brief History of Time’ some years back did I begin to develop serious interest over cosmology. I was never a science student nor a man of science; yet Hawking provided me with his ground-breaking ideas about God and cosmology a safe refuge whenever I was tortured with the ever-lasting curiosity of the origin, development and the ultimate fate of the universe.
I have deep respect for major religious scriptures of the world. They are a beautiful guide to understanding the God to some extent if not in entirety. And there was this scientist who gave me an option whenever I couldn’t slake my raging thirst (of curiosity) only with the help of the scriptures and (with) my own reasoning. It’s like a child running to its parents for safety when it feels it is under threat. My curiosity poses a threat to me and I rush to Mr Hawking for refuge.
I conclude with a statement from him: “If we find the answer to the question why the universe exists, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we would know the mind of God”
Some famous quotes of Mr Hawking:
On black holes:
Einstein was wrong when he said, ‘God does not play dice’. Consideration of black holes suggests, not only that God does play dice, but that he sometimes confuses us by throwing them where they can’t be seen”
It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going”
“We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special”
On space colonies…
“I don’t think the human race will survive the next 1,000 years, unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I’m an optimist. We will reach out to the stars”
“I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first”.
On the end of the universe…
“It will take about a thousand million million million million years for the Earth to run into the sun, so there’s no immediate cause for worry!”
[Quotations copied from theguardian.com and bbc.co.uk. Obituary written by U. Khanāl]