''Stephen Hawking dedicated all his life to studying the universe, moreover, thoroughly''
KFU professor Nail Sakhibullin about the scientist who changed our idea of the universe
Legendary English theoretical physicist Stephen William Hawking died aged 77 on 14 March. The scientist studied the theory of the origin of life as a result of Big Bang as well as the theory of black holes. Even the heavy neurodegeneration didn't impede him from doing science. At the request of Realnoe Vremya, professor of the Kazan Federal University Nail Sakhibullin tells about Hawking's achievements and explains why he was a real ''man of peace''.
''All astrophysicists and astronomers are in mourning, as the outstanding scientist with outstanding ideas passed away''
Naturally, for me, as an astrophysicist, what happened on 14 March was a reason to feel sad. Stephen Hawking dedicated all his life to studying the universe, moreover, thoroughly, not some separate objects. All astrophysicists and astronomers, even those who don't deal with cosmology, are in mourning, as the outstanding scientist with outstanding ideas that changed our idea of the universe, which had been existing for hundreds of years to a certain degree, passed away. Here the mourning is obviously reasonable.
It's a huge loss to not only the scientific community but also all humankind, in general. He was a man of peace. Despite his state, while we all know he suffered from a very grave disease and communicated with the world with a computer, Hawking did science and got grandiose results.
The biggest discoveries were made in cosmology – in the sphere of the development of the universe as one. In addition, Hawking's extremely important discoveries were linked with such exotic objects as black holes. He was first to show the world that black holes can disappear. I should explain that a black hole is an object that no information can leave – even light because it attracts all quanta back. And this scientist showed that black holes could disappear and some particles go to space anyway.
''The biggest discoveries were made in cosmology – in the sphere of the development of the universe as one.'' Photo: Alexandar Vujadinovic / wikimedia.org
''Science will continue without Hawking''
Speaking of the disagreement with Hawking's position on some issues, I can remember his warning that humankind can disappear in 600 years because of a global catastrophe. In this respect, I don't agree with him. But I should note that many outstanding scientists did such forecasts, For instance, Isaac Newton forecasted the end of the world several times. In general, none of the forecasts has been confirmed. I think, in this case, Hawking wasn't right by dealing with some philosophic questions.
As for science after Stephen Hawking, there are people who will continue his business: cosmologists who study the development of the whole universe; employees of our department of the theory of relativity do it to a certain degree.
In general, Russia has a big number of interesting cosmologists, particularly Aleksey Starobinsky who sometimes comes to Kazan and works at our university. There are also cosmologists abroad who use the results of Hawking's research.
I'm sure his ideas will continue developing and get complete confirmation. Science will continue without Hawking too. Even if this person doesn't exist physically, his business will live. Science doesn't disappear when a scientist dies – pupils and followers who can continue the work of their teacher (probably with greater success) always remain.