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Friday, October 5, 2018

Stephen Hawking and the laws of nature


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons, NASA


Stephen Hawking (1942-2018) was a British physicist best known for his research on black holes and gravity. Wikipedia says,


"Hawking's scientific works included a collaboration with Roger Penrose on gravitational singularity theorems in the framework of general relativity and the theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation... Hawking was the first to set out a theory of cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics." (Wikipedia: Stephen Hawking, 8.18.21 UTC 02:00)


The rest of this post is some quotes from Hawking.


Laws of nature


"There ought to be something very special about the boundary conditions of the universe and what can be more special than that there is no boundary? (Quoted in The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, 1986)


"I don't believe that the ultimate theory will come by steady work along existing lines. We need something new. We can't predict what that will be or when we will find it because if we knew that we would have found it already!" (Science Watch, 1994)




"Any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis: you can never prove it. No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory. On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single observation that disagrees with the predictions of the theory." (A Brief History of Time, 1988)


Why something rather than nothing?


"What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe." (A Brief History of Time, 1988)