“We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.”
Earth has lost one of its great thinkers. Stephen Hawking died at age 76.
Consider this: Professor Hawking was born 300 years to the day after Galileo died and died on Albert Einstein’s birthday. If he stood on the shoulders of other intellectual giants, perhaps his most significant achievement lies in the number of scientists who have followed him into science. He sought answers from the cosmos and conveyed it to the masses.
In an age where we celebrate celebrity, where fame is counted in magazine covers and computer clicks, Professor Hawking was famous for his mind! Today that seems as fundamentally difficult to grasp as Hawking radiation. And yet, in an America whose president conveys policy and fires cabinet secretaries in 280 characters or less, Professor Hawking, along with Jacob Bekenstein, was able to describe the thermodynamic entropy of a black hole in eleven characters.
Celebrate Professor Hawking’s life today and contemplate what we value. Consider valuing health over drama, love over money, and intellect over fame. Idolatry is not the answer, knowledge is.
Happy Pi day.