I will admit it, today’s post is less about the art and more about the inspiration behind it. I have long maintained that I don’t have a particular hero, or someone who inspired me, but I think I have been wholeheartedly mistaken. It has taken me a few days of pondering to even start writing this post partially through feeling that something has been lost to us and partially because I wanted to do this justice and I couldn’t find an image I wanted to post with it. Obviously I am talking about the loss of Stephen Hawking (and not, if you are in the UK the loss of Jim Bowen, although equally sad as I thought they were bringing back Bullseye… how will people in the Midlands win a speedboat now?).
Stephen Hawking, I now come to realise has had quite a big impact on my life. He was, someone who achieved despite the lot he was given, as he was so gifted with a mind that was ever questioning and almost childlike in his want to learn and share his knowledge. He had a great sense of humour which was displayed not only in his public speaking, but also in his appearances in TV shows such as “The Big Bang Theory”. He was able to laugh at himself and see the absurdity of life. If you have watched the heart touching “The Theory of Everything” you will know part of his story, and while I don’t believe there was only one breakdown on finding out that he had Lou Gehrig’s disease; as I can imagine that this was a long period of adjustment, especially just as he was finding his flow in the world of science, you can’t help but admire what he went on to achieve.
For a man whose life was littered which achievements, I am just going to point you in the direction of google for you to find them, as that does a far better job that I will of telling you about his scientific highlights, his merits, beliefs and writing, as really I am not that fond of lists and I think that this could turn in to one if I go down that road. You should however know that Hawking constantly questioned his own work, and revised his theories often, which is admirable as it is quite hard to see fault in your own work, let alone then work to disprove something you have strived to theoretically prove.
Now, just because I have now admitted that Hawking is a hero of mine, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I agree with all of his thoughts and theories. For example, he was a Labour supporter, and personally politics bores me on most levels, I just keep a hand in it, as it is a necessary evil. There is however one quote by him which sticks with me, and being an atheist it appeals to my scientific side:-
“There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, and science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will always win because it works.”
It seems quite an outright statement, but for me it is more about believing based on what you can prove rather than having blind faith (which is probably an argument for another post). I like to think, that like Hawking, I try and understand all elements, even of things I don’t necessarily agree with, so that I can form my judgement. I also would like to think, like him I continue to question and revise my thoughts based on what is presented and proved though research and study.
Now I have come to this revelation, I will talk about someone else he clearly inspired, which was Natalie Thatcher when she created this ink drawing of “Black Hole Peel” inspired by Hawking’s theory on black holes. This particular drawing shows how the artist envisaged a black hole swallowing a star. Don’t worry I am not going to attempt to explain to you how Hawking combined the theory of relativity and a bit of quantum mechanics to achieve understanding black holes to a new level, nor and I going to discuss at length Hawking radiation which is a theory around how black holes shrink and eventually die, just like stars. I will how ever say that black holes draw in to them things that come within their gravitational pull, and despite the popular belief of things that go in to a black hole never come out, Hawking had a theory that things could come out of black holes.
Thatcher has produced how she sees the star being drawn in to the gravitational pull of the black hole, the light that would be emitted, long with its gases and debris being effectively sucked in to the whirling tornado of the space version of the Bermuda Triangle.
The star in this drawing actually makes me think of a dying sunflower, the petals wilting down to expose the wide disc florets. It’s a particularly clever way to depict a dying star.
I think that this is a beautiful interpretation of Hawking’s theory.
To end this post I am going to leave you with another quote and a picture of the great man:-
“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge”
Who is your hero? Why not tell me in the comments? Like this post? Why not share it?