Brainy Quote of the Day

Friday, July 5, 2013


At 2:05 of the trailer, you'll see the words: "behind the world's greatest mind."

Granted, I'm looking forward to this documentary as any geeked physics major would be. I do take some pause to the trailer coining Professor Hawking the title of "greatest mind." He is a great mind, to be sure. The whole "G.O.A.T." thing is a bit of hyperbole to me.

He's overcome quite a lot of obstacles in his harried life, one of which is the shear act of living beyond the original expectations of his lifespan shortened by his disability.

He shows the famous British resolve: "stiff upper lip" determination. I did read "A Brief History of Time" and enjoyed it. I am familiar with the following I saw on Wikipedia:

"Among his significant scientific works have been a collaboration with Roger Penrose on gravitational singularities theorems in the framework of general relativity, and the theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation, often called Hawking radiation. Hawking was the first to set forth a cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. He is a vocal supporter of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.

"He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. Hawking was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge between 1979 and 2009."

He had a great science fiction series and several other shows on the Science Channel I enjoyed. Dr. Hawking has lost some scientific wagers though: with Kip Thorne; a "black hole war" with Leonard Susskind and Gerard t'Hooft; most recently with Peter Higgs (of the Higgs Boson).

Professor Hawking is a remarkable man, but still a man, therefore fallible as we all are. To put him on a pedestal does him a disservice, and makes the attainment of a degree in physics or STEM fields the area that is "off limits"; "not normal"; "beyond human capability." I assure you it is not, and as a species, we should get out of boxing ourselves into the "us-versus-them": normals and nerds. Hence my objection to the trailer is in trying to get you to look at it...many may sadly look away.

This is a strange, dichotomous post after Independence Day. I sincerely hope you enjoyed BBQ in moderation and fireworks safely.

I'll still enjoy the documentary, as I hope you do too, mentally filtering hyperbole.

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