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Stephen Hawking, Britain's Robert Stadler?

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My guess is that not only is government (basically communist) scientific research highly inefficient, and private (basically capitalist) research highly efficient, but that the very existence of government scientific research misleads the scientific community and supportive general public into going down dead-ends and veering seriously off-track. Money, time, effort, energy, and genius is wasted or even lost since the government research probably looks like legitimate science on the surface -- but secretly, trickily, and powerfully is not. Thus every dollar or pound spent on it may well be an actual net harm to human scientific advance (!).

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Stadler was a genius and a revolutionary. I'm not really aware of what Hawking has done to merit distinction, and he only seems to be famous for his disability. Roger Penrose also has wacky theories (like "twistors"), is known in the same circles as Hawking, but isn't a scientific icon people compare to Einstein. I read A Brief History of Time and Black Holes and Baby Universes years ago. I remember reading about Hawking's theory that black holes could emit radiation, based on the theory of "virtual particles". It's shoddy, rationalistic science as far as I understand it, but I'll be glad to be proven wrong if anyone here knows more about it.

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I read A Brief History of Time and Black Holes and Baby Universes years ago. I remember reading about Hawking's theory that black holes could emit radiation, based on the theory of "virtual particles". It's shoddy, rationalistic science as far as I understand it, but I'll be glad to be proven wrong if anyone here knows more about it.

My late husband Stephen read everything that Hawking ever wrote and he and our son went to see Hawking when he visited Caltech.

Stephen regarded Hawking with the same interest -- and the same amusement -- with which he enjoyed the people abducted by aliens and other crackpots on the Art Bell radio show.

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I read A Brief History of Time and Black Holes and Baby Universes years ago. I remember reading about Hawking's theory that black holes could emit radiation, based on the theory of "virtual particles". It's shoddy, rationalistic science as far as I understand it, but I'll be glad to be proven wrong if anyone here knows more about it.

My late husband Stephen read everything that Hawking ever wrote and he and our son went to see Hawking when he visited Caltech.

Stephen regarded Hawking with the same interest -- and the same amusement -- with which he enjoyed the people abducted by aliens and other crackpots on the Art Bell radio show.

Hawking got famous for two things. One, contradicting a professor whilst an undergraduate at Cambridge (and being proved right) and secondly, the disability. So he has become something of a celebrity scientist (in the same way some people become say celebrity chef's) but his regard in the academic community is unknown to me.

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I read A Brief History of Time and Black Holes and Baby Universes years ago. I remember reading about Hawking's theory that black holes could emit radiation, based on the theory of "virtual particles". It's shoddy, rationalistic science as far as I understand it, but I'll be glad to be proven wrong if anyone here knows more about it.

My late husband Stephen read everything that Hawking ever wrote and he and our son went to see Hawking when he visited Caltech.

Stephen regarded Hawking with the same interest -- and the same amusement -- with which he enjoyed the people abducted by aliens and other crackpots on the Art Bell radio show.

Betsy, what was the cause of this kind of regard by Stephen?

I am not familiar with Hawking as a physicist, so I am interested to know why did Stephen regard Hawking as he did. Was it because he propagated bad physics, or was it because of the media circus around his disability?

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Stephen regarded Hawking with the same interest -- and the same amusement -- with which he enjoyed the people abducted by aliens and other crackpots on the Art Bell radio show.

Betsy, what was the cause of this kind of regard by Stephen?

I take back what wrote since it does not apply to Stephen's views on all of Hawking's work. In this post, Stephen wrote:

Hawking (note there is no "s" at the end of his name) is a brilliant mathematician with an unsurpassed grasp of the technicalities of general relativity. Unfortunately, his ideas can range from the ridiculous to the sublime. Not all mathematical solutions to the Einstein field equations, or quantum field theory for that matter, represent physical reality. Hawking can be very clear and insightful when his ideas are tied to the physical world, and then rather obtuse and fanciful as he wanders into outer space, pardon the pun. Keep in mind, though, that whatever negative things can be said about some of his views, Hawking has been responsible for a great deal of first-rate work. And, considering his substantial handicaps, we must credit the incredible mind and courage that has enabled him to accomplish what he has.

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To add a brief note about Hawking's physical problem, it really *is* incredible that he's been able to continue working in one of the most complex fields of human endeavor while being almost entirely paralyzed for decades from a horrible disease (ALS) that kills practically everyone in a few years. Whether or not all of his ideas are fully grounded, the fact that he can do tensor calculus and other very advanced and complex mathematics in his head without the benefit of being able to write intermediate steps on paper is far beyond what most people can literally even imagine doing. He does have physical assistance, but that can't replace the ability to move and write by himself.

Most scientists use and advocate government funding now. It's unfortunate and disgusting but that alone doesn't make Hawking a Stadler. His drive to keep working despite his incredible problems is heroic in itself.

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To add a brief note about Hawking's physical problem, it really *is* incredible that he's been able to continue working in one of the most complex fields of human endeavor while being almost entirely paralyzed for decades from a horrible disease (ALS) that kills practically everyone in a few years. Whether or not all of his ideas are fully grounded, the fact that he can do tensor calculus and other very advanced and complex mathematics in his head without the benefit of being able to write intermediate steps on paper is far beyond what most people can literally even imagine doing. He does have physical assistance, but that can't replace the ability to move and write by himself.

Most scientists use and advocate government funding now. It's unfortunate and disgusting but that alone doesn't make Hawking a Stadler. His drive to keep working despite his incredible problems is heroic in itself.

Yes, you're right about that. I was questioning his actual influence in physics, but I completely agree that his career is a heroic story and not something to make light of.

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