Released in the fall of 2014, the Stephen Hawking biography film, The Theory of Everything, is getting renewed interest due to its academy award nominations. Directed by James Marsh, Theory tells the story of the romance between theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife Jane Wilde Hawking.
The script, which was adapted from Jane Hawking’s memoir, Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen, depicts how the couple met, married and dealt with Stephen’s struggle to fulfill his destiny as a scientist despite the challenge of dealing with a motor neuron disease.
Who is Stephen Hawking?
Even if you’re not a big science buff you may have heard of Stephen Hawking. Not only is he one of the most extraordinary thinkers of the scientific world, he has achieved fame and success despite dealing with a major illness that should have meant an early death.
To get the basic facts, check out the “Stephen Hawking Biography” at Biography.com. Born in Oxford, England, in 1942, Hawking showed an interest in science at an early age. When entering the University at Oxford, his first choice was a major in math. When he found that a degree was not offered in that area, he switched to the study of physics.
Hawking graduated in 1962 with honors and a degree in natural science. He then entered Trinity College at Cambridge where he earned a Ph.D. in cosmology (the science of the origin and development of the universe).
In 1963, at the age of 21, Hawking experienced two major life events. He met his future wife, Jane Wilde, and he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease).
According to Biography.com, “In a sense, Hawking’s disease helped him become the noted scientist he is today. Before the diagnosis, Hawking hadn’t always focused on his studies.[…] With the sudden realization that he might not even live long enough to earn his Ph.D., Hawking poured himself into his work and research.”
And so began Hawking’s journey to discover the secrets behind the formation of the universe, the Big Bang and black holes.
Cosmology and the theory of everything
The study of cosmology is a science that looks at the universe from the smallest of atomic particles to enormous galaxies. Scientists seek to discover not only the origins of the universe but the framework that underlies all that exists. The ultimate goal is to find this framework and reduce it to one mathematical equation – in other words, a theory of everything.
It’s a big subject to tackle but you can get a good start with the book, Cosmology: A Very Short Introduction, by Peter Coles at Questia.com.
“Some physicists, Hawking among them, would regard the construction of a theory of everything as being, in some sense, reading the mind of God, or at least unraveling the inner secrets of physical reality. Others simply argue that a physical theory is just a description of reality, rather like a map,” Coles explained.
While you’re at Questia, be sure to check out the resources and tutorials to help you research and write your term papers.
Stephen Hawking in his own words
One of the qualities that have made Stephen Hawking so popular is his ability to explain complex scientific ideas in an approachable way. You can see for yourself at Hawking’s official website, Hawking.org.uk. You’ll find transcripts from his lectures, excerpts from publications and videos.
In his lecture on The Beginning of Time, Hawking was in fine form as he discussed the theories of the origins of the universe, the Big Bang and the eventual collapse, or reversal of the Big Bang.
“The no boundary proposal, predicts that the universe would start at a single point, like the North Pole of the Earth. But this point wouldn’t be a singularity, like the Big Bang. Instead, it would be an ordinary point of space and time, like the North Pole is an ordinary point on the Earth, or so I’m told. I have not been there myself,” Hawking mused.
Hollywood does Hawking
To learn more about the fascinating life of Stephen Hawking as well as the making of the movie The Theory of Everything, go to HistoryvsHollywood.com. You’ll find side-by-side photos of the real people in the story and the actors who portrayed them in the film. There is also a Q&A section with more interesting facts about the lives of Stephen and Jane Hawking.
You can read all about the history and philosophy of science and technology at Questia.
Have you seen the film The Theory of Everything? Tell us what you think of it in the comments.