« Previous | Main | Next »

What has Hawking done for science?

Justin Rowlatt - | 20:10 UK time, Friday, 5 December 2008

Can't see the film? Click here to watch the interview with Professor Hawking.

You get to meet all sorts of interesting people working on the One Show but it is still pretty rare to meet a bona fide genius. Professor Stephen Hawking is most definitely that. He is one of the country's pre-eminent theoretical physicists and the author one of the best-selling science books ever - A Brief History of Time.


 

Justin Rowlatt talking to Stephen HawkingThat is extraordinary enough, but Stephen Hawking has achieved all this despite being profoundly disabled by motor neurone disease. He now only has very limited movement of his face. He communicates using a sensor on his cheek which allows him to select letters on a computer. But that doesn't stop his personality and sense of humour coming across.


 

As we set up the cameras for the interview I mentioned my mother's name and that she had studied Physics at Cambridge around the time that he was there. His cheek began to twitch. It was clear that he had something to say to me. But it takes Stephen quite a long time to express himself as he constructs words letter by letter.

As I waited to hear what he had to say I couldn't help but speculate. My mother had not mentioned knowing him. Was there a reason for that, I wondered....

 

Suddenly his computer voice box spoke: "I was not a good student. I did not spend much time at college, I was too busy enjoying myself."


 

You can see our interview with the great man here. But I do have something of a confession to make. I didn't understand most of his book. Did you?


 

What has Hawking done for science? How important is he? Have you read and understood A Brief History of Time? Click here to add your comment.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwisefor full instructions

Comments

  • 1. At 8:52pm on 07 Dec 2008, blogginincornwall wrote:

    Professor Stephen Hawking, has done amazing things for science so that people like myself can understand it and everyone else can understand more about the universe, despite having a serious and debilitating illness. which motor neuron disease is, and is such a brilliant scientist.

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 7:51pm on 16 Dec 2008, KingCelticLion wrote:

    That there is only one comment before this? He wrote a book to explain science, that many felt they couldn't understand.

    Probably made science more elitist and remote than it needed to be or should be.

    Celtic Lion

    Complain about this comment

  • 3. At 8:12pm on 19 Dec 2008, Firstladytraveller wrote:

    Made people think!
    A brilliant mind that a crippling disease cannot subdue.

    Complain about this comment

  • 4. At 00:55am on 24 Dec 2008, ironearthmum wrote:

    2. At 7:51pm on 16 Dec 2008, KingCelticLion wrote:Probably made science more elitist and remote than it needed to be or should be.


    I totally concur with this statement, but how to his contemporaries know that what he says is right?

    Complain about this comment

View these comments in RSS

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.