Hawking initially ‘surprised’ his life suited a major film (Wired UK)

Stephen Hawking

“I was rather surprised that a major film company should like to
make a film about me,” said Stephen
. “At first, I was worried because it was based on a
book by my ex-wife.”

Hawking was speaking before a screening of the forthcoming
Universal Pictures biopic directed by James Marsh. WIRED magazine‘s editor David Rowan, asking
Hawking questions posed by WIRED readers and Bafta members,
illuminated how the 72-year-old responded on first seeing his life
and struggle with motor neuron disease played on the big

“I was reassured when I read the script, and even more when I
saw a first cut of the film. It was surprisingly honest about our
marriage, and my fight with ALS, or motor neurone disease. I
thought Eddie Redmayne portrayed me very well. He spent time with
ALS sufferers so he could be authentic. At times, I thought he was

Stephen Hawking

Marsh’s film — The Theory of Everything, released 1
January, 2015 — is by no means the first feature-length production
that centres on Hawking’s personal life. However, such media
attention is not something he feels has affected the way he does
science. “But it has made me feel I have a duty to share my
enthusiasm of science with the public,” Hawking said.

“The public need to have a basic understanding of science so
they can make democratic decisions on the complex issues facing
society in this technological age, and not leave them to the

This viewpoint extends to the recent work he has embarked upon
with his daughter. “I have collaborated with my daughter, Lucy, on
the George books, a series of science based adventure
stories for kids,” he said. “They are the scientists of the

Stephen Hawking

“We are working with an animation studio, Nerd Cor, to make a
television series out of the books,” Hawking explained to
seven-year-old Lucy, who won WIRED’s competition to ask a question
in person. “I’m really excited about the animated series, and I
hope that kids who read and enjoyed the books will like it, and I
also hope that kids who haven’t read the books will watch the
series and enjoy it too. And who knows, perhaps even the adults
will learn something.”

What about the scientists of the present? What could
cosmologists today discover that could be as great or greater than
the discovery of the Higgs boson? “The detection of primordial
gravitational waves,” Hawking said. “These would have propagated to
us direct from the earliest stages of the universe, unlike light,
which is scattered many times before it gets to us. Primordial
gravitational waves would tell us how the universe began, and
confirm whether it was with a period of eternal inflation.

“Last March, the Bicep team, using a radio telescope at the
South pole, claimed to have detected primordial gravitational
waves. However, it is not clear whether their signal might have
been caused by dust. Personally, I have a bet with Neil Turok,
director of the Perimeter Institute, that the gravitational waves
are at least five percent of the density perturbations. If this is
confirmed by future observations, it will be quantum gravity
written across the sky. Even better, I will win 200 dollars.”

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11 December 2014 | 5:48 pm – Source: wired.co.uk


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