Go to contents

Love drives Stephen Hawking forward in life

Posted March. 13, 2021 07:19,   

Updated March. 13, 2021 07:19


English Theoretical Physicist Stephen Hawking, who died at 76 in 2018, came closer to the secret of the universe than any other scientist throughout history. What makes him stand out is a series of great achievements that he made during the fight against the crippling disease ALS.

Author Leonard Mlodinow, an American theoretical physicist, screenwriter and author, worked at the Max Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics in Munich, Germany, and the two physicists kept a close relationship since 2003 and co-wrote “A Briefer History of Time” and “The Grand Design.”

This book provides a window into the unknown aspects of the giant of physics. Hawking uttered only six words a minute because almost all the body parts except the face got paralyzed for so long. A sensor attached to his eyeglasses caught minuscule twitches on the cheeks to convert them into words.  

Mlodinow complies Hawking’s life and friendship by sharing his experience and insight that he earned through communication based on patience and having interviews with Hawking’s friends. He focuses not only on putting the giant scientist’s works in space physics in easy words but also on satisfying readers’ curiosity about his private life.

When Mlodinow told Hawking that it always goes back to physics and physics is life to him,” Hawking wrinkled his nose with disapproval. His answer was “Love is life.”

It is interesting to see how Hawking described Richard Feynman (1918-1988), who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965, in the book. One of the greatest scientists who helped promote physics is portrayed as a figure of diverse characters frequenting a bar around Caltech to enjoy listening to bongo drums.

Mlodinow makes an impressive confession that friendship with Hawking made him a better person, saying that from a viewpoint of those who do not know Hawking, he might have seemed to struggle to live life as if he climbed up Mt. Everest. However, the author confesses to have found that Hawking is a person just like Mt. Everest.

Gab-Sik Kim dunanworld@donga.com