Hawking tackled the biggest question of all: how did the universe begin?

20 Mar 2018

With the death of Stephen Hawking, the world has lost an adventurer.

I was one of the many who first encountered the deep ideas of cosmology through Hawking’s book A Brief History of Time, and found myself inspired. To his readers Hawking revealed a whole new world — showing how physics can address some of the deep questions of our existence, all the way to the deepest of all: how did the universe begin?

Physics is often perceived to be dry and devoid of imagination, but as researchers we realise that could not be further from the truth. In research, we routinely throw assumptions in the bin, play with “what if” scenarios, and rely on insight and creativity to explore new ideas that could take us beyond the bounds of the physics we already know. Stephen Hawking was a master at this.

This article appeared on the Conservation on 15 March 2018. Its author Professor Tamara Davis.

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