Author and Activist
It is because of guys like Hawking that have 10 years of back copies of New Scientist piled in my office. Before The Internet, I would wait eagerly each week for their arrival.
Steven Hawking inspired wannabe physicists for a generation. If you are older, he ranks right there with Carl Sagan and Richard Feynman. If you are younger, he is second only to Sheldon Cooper. That these guys succeeded in capturing our imagination is beyond doubt. There are more physicists alive today that in the total history of mankind.
What can we say about him as a theoretical physicist? Steven Hawking – the inventor of Hawking Radiation, the idea that Black holes are not as black as we thought. This is where it starts to get a bit iffy. My mama told me not to speak ill of the dead, but with his soul but a few feet above our heads I'm gonna risk it.
Í don''t speak ill of Steven Hawking, a man who's physical courage is exemplary, rather I am going to speak ill of the thousands of physicists that are still alive today to hear it. You see - basically theoretical physics hasn't move forward for the last 50 years. Its hard to think of anything significant that has happened since Bells Theorem.
There are so many areas of applied science that are racing forward. 50 years ago it would have been tough to forecast, the Internet, Big Data, AI, Cell Phones, Google search, mass food production, Granger Causality, 3D movies, Gene splicing, Ito Calculus, facebook.
Theoretical Physics? You basically had what we have today, fifty years ago. In fact all that has happened is it got worse. We have defined Quantum Mechanics down to the level of Quarks in the Standard model, we are a gnat's cock away from identifying Gravity waves, we can see to the end of the Universe, but none of it hangs together. The theory of big and small are so far apart that there can only be one conclusion – they are both wrong!
We have presided over a generation of theoretical physicists that has never been busier achieving less.
It is sad to see the death of Sagan, Feynmen and Hawking but they must make way for a new messiah that will deliver us from the hiatus. He cannot come from the group think that has trapped us for 50 years. Surely this man must come out of the desert. Expect him to be riding on a donkey.